Argues for a central role for information society studies in degree programmes. Information society studies is an interdisciplinary specialism devoted to examination of…
Argues for a central role for information society studies in degree programmes. Information society studies is an interdisciplinary specialism devoted to examination of the macrolevel role of information flows and technologies. The views of information science educators on information society studies are appraised. Reports the current status of information society instruction in the information science schools of the UK and Ireland. Investigation shows ten schools run modules on the information society, in some cases as options. The content, methods of instruction and assessment, and other relevant indicators of the condition of information society studies are reported and analysed. Features a discussion of the rationale for inclusion of this specialism in the information science curriculum, and concludes with a “civic” argument for core status, namely that information professionals have a duty to enter the public debate on important information society issues.
Informatization is a term of Japanese provenance denoting major systemic change resulting from the application of information technology. At the macro (economic and sociological) level, authors such as Fritz Machlup and Daniel Bell have outlined the shape of a supposed new order. In modern librarianship and information work, too, the effects of informatization have been pervasive. The paper articulates a simple synthetic theory of post‐war informatization with special reference to information services in libraries, and specifically computerized information retrieval. It is suggested, on the basis of primary and secondary research, that the “story” of informatization can be broken down into four electronic epochs: offline, online, CDROM, and the Internet. Each epoch is described and evaluated, focusing on the practical effects on British librarians (national, academic, and public) and their patrons. It is hoped that the use of primary sources enables the account to capture something of the sense of revolution accompanying the arrival of new epochs. Advice on a future fifth “e”poch is not supplied, but it is acknowledged that the prospects for a global reference system seem more hopeful than ever before.