Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Library Review, Volume 63, Issue 8/9
This final double issue of Library Review for 2014 addresses several themes of contemporary significance to the global profession. Given current reports that the global economic recovery may be short-lived (Peston, 2014), the first paper by Pautz offers a systematic and timely evaluation of the sensitive issue of income generation in public libraries, with a challenging call for a definition of a “philosophy of justice” in relation to public library role and purpose set against the background of an increasing commodification of services. Pautz concludes that:
[…] there is little space in the literature for concern over what the public library should or should not do […]. The library profession should define a philosophy of justice […] that addresses the nature of the goods that public libraries should and should not supply. Such a philosophy of justice would help librarians to respond to pressures resulting from the “double-bind” (Giacoma, 1989, p. 12) of decreasing public funding and increasing expectations.
Logically, any consideration of library role and purpose of necessity entails a consideration of the role and purpose of the library profession. The second paper, the study from Sare and Bales, provides an interesting complement to the first paper, addressing issues in relation to our understanding of the library profession. Employing the long interview technique they analyse veteran academic librarians’ perceptions of librarianship, developing grounded theory, which models their understanding of academic librarianship. Results from this contemporary survey are compared to those from an earlier study examining the views of novice librarians, which employed a similar methodology. Their findings show academic librarianship as a profession, which is change-oriented and focused, and further provides validation of the contribution of mentoring and practitioner research as change agents. Moreover, this is one of the few systematic empirically based studies which explores the personal meanings librarians attach to concepts of professional identity; as such, it forms a valuable contribution to the debate on social and cultural identity.
Andrew Shenton’s paper again addresses issues in relation to professional development and identify. Doctoral programmes for the library and information science discipline are relatively well established globally. However, there is little published evidence in relation to candidatures for higher doctorates. Shenton offers a viewpoint of the issues to be borne in mind when submitting for a higher doctorate in the discipline, based on personal experience and set within a contemporary review of salient factors, most notably, the increasing emphasis on demonstrating the impact of research.
Issues of professional identify and competences form the basis of the next two papers, both of which are based on the student experience and perspective. The first of these from Pymm and Juznic is a comparative survey of organisations in Australia and Slovenia who act as hosts for students on professional work placement. Despite the geographic distance, their findings are remarkably similar, leading to their concluding that the anecdotally held views that placements are mutually beneficial and a positive element of the education process are based on reliable empirical evidence.
The ability to accurately identify information sources has long been held to be a core element of professional competence. I recall as a student in the dim and distant past that my Information Sources lecturer contended that the ability to identify and retrieve information accurately and reliably lay at the heart of our professional competence and a central tenet of our claim to unique professional identify. Faix’s US-based survey examines these issues from the student perspective, basing her survey on students’ enrolled on an Information Literacy programme in South Carolina.
Arguably, knowledge sharing is a logical corollary to or outcome of information seeking behaviour. The following two companion papers are based on work from a research team in Bangladesh, who trace knowledge-sharing patterns and identify the impact of key factors such as trust, motivation and rewards, on attitudes towards knowledge sharing. Their studies explore these issues across a broad range of student categories, from secondary school students to postgraduates; as such, it is a comprehensive mapping of attitudes and behaviours in a particular culture and context.
The final two papers also address concepts of knowledge generation and sharing. The penultimate paper from Gul, Shah and Nisa explores issues in relation to the impact on knowledge sharing and dissemination in agriculture and food sciences as a result of the increase in open access journals and publication. Finally, issues in relation to bias in research, especially bias on the basis of gender, are the subject of a fascinating study of gender prejudice in scientific research set within the context of a Conflict Zone, in this instance, Kashmir.
As stated in my opening remarks, this is the final issue for the year. Each year I am amazed by the quality, breadth and depth of research undertaken globally in our profession, and this year is no exception. I hope you have enjoyed the papers published in 2014 as much as I have and found them useful in your work. Thank you for your continuing support for the journal as readers, authors and reviewers. I look forward to an equally exciting and interesting year in 2015 for the journal. If you would like to contribute in any way, as author or reviewer, please do get in touch with me.
Giacoma, P. (1989), The Fee or Free Decision: Legal, Economic, Political and Ethical Perspectives for Public Libraries, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, NY.
Peston, R. (2014), “The growing threat to our recovery”, BBC News Business, 2 September, available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29028355 (accessed 2 September 2014).