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Information Behavior

Additionally there are concerns about the quality of teaching and learning in universities, with some countries moving towards formal external processes to assess university quality. The implications for academics include new perspectives on the traditional relationship between research and teaching, and a focus on new teaching and learning methods and modes of delivery. Harvey and Higgins highlight the funding issues in higher education in Australia , where the ongoing reduction in government income for universities has resulted in the continual increase in fees for courses.

The responsibilities of the LTSN-ICS include promoting quality information, resources and expertise in the LIS field and disseminating the information to ensure it reaches a wide audience. Other countries have seen the emergence of schemes to support teaching and learning in higher education, eg the Council for the Renewal of Higher Education in Sweden [43] , established in to support innovative teaching and learning activities in universities.

Here in Australia , the Australian Universities Teaching Committee AUTC [44] was established in as a national body to promote quality and excellence in university teaching.

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The three principal initiatives of the AUTC are:. It should be noted, however, that while these Australian initiatives will hopefully encourage best practice in teaching and learning, they are cross-disciplinary in focus, rather than discipline specific. Myburgh has commented on the problems of offering LIS programs at the undergraduate level, with falling enrolments and the poor quality of students resulting in a number of institutions eg RMIT, University of South Australia closing down their bachelor courses.

The Graduate Diploma is not enough. It is not possible to meet the needs of the profession within this framework. Harvey and Higgins, on the other hand, highlight the problems of industry recognition the higher degree:.

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Holding a masters qualification in Australia is not usually linked to higher levels of pay; pay scales are theoretically the same for all first professional qualifications. There is, therefore, no financial incentive to pay the extra costs incurred in studying at the masters level. This view overlooks the fact that many LIS students enter the graduate course as part of their strategies for career change. The student cohort in LIS programs is an interesting one, with a wide diversity in academic background, employment history, personal interests and life experiences, all of which adds richness to the profession they join.

Myburgh stresses that, in her experience:. Undergraduates if they have come directly from school typically do not have the life experience which is necessary to understand this complex and sophisticated blend of art and science that forms the backbone of the profession. It is only after more experience of human nature, individually and within organisations, that some appreciation of the role of information and knowledge not reading or documents can be fully understood.

Yet simultaneously there have been efforts in the United States to involve undergraduates — or even high school leavers — in library work [57]. This is seen as a positive approach to recruitment and in fact reflects the situation in the United Kingdom, where a number of universities offer post-experience entry for the higher degree courses, requiring students to have gained library and information experience at a professional level before they study.

The United States also offers the internship model of education, where students receive academic credit in return for working in an organisation, often in a paid capacity cf the unpaid fieldwork placements which form part of the LIS program in Australia. These different scenarios highlight the need for flexibility both in LIS education and in individual career pathways.

The policy statement aims to recommend categories of library personnel and the respective levels of training or education appropriate for the different personnel. The document differentiates between undergraduate LIS programs which should be seen as a contribution to liberal education, rather than an opportunity to provide technological and methodological training. It is important for employers to truly acknowledge the professional status of new graduates. A Stage 2 Working Party is currently developing programs and strategies to implement the framework. The accreditation of LIS education.

In , Dalton and Levinson [65] reported on the issue of the standards for LIS education across the world, with a specific focus on the potential for international mobility of LIS professionals, which infers an increasing need for international parity of qualifications. Findings from the research highlighted the fact that there are substantial differences across the world both in terms of the education system and the structure and organisation of professional LIS associations. Dalton and Levinson identified three models which endeavour to maintain the standards of LIS courses:. Examples of quality control by governments focus primarily on the standards of the higher education institution as a whole, as is the case in many European countries eg Austria , Belgium , Denmark , France , or Germany.

Professional accreditation of LIS courses by professional bodies is a model applicable to only a few countries, including the United Kingdom , United States of America and Australia , which has encouraged the reciprocal recognition of qualifications within these countries. The third model of internal quality control generally runs concurrently with external accreditation processes, as most institutions aim to offer a high quality education program that attract students, with continuous improvement activities to ensure the course remains current and relevant to the employment market for graduates.

The United Kingdom , the United States and Australia are therefore all examples of the second model of formalised LIS accreditation or approval purposes, yet there is still considerable diversity apparent within these three countries. For graduates to be recognised as a professionally qualified library and information practitioner, the courses themselves have to be accredited by CILIP.

Dalton and Levinson note that while theoretically there could be graduates who are not eligible for professional status as a member of CILIP, market forces have ensured that all LIS courses in the United Kingdom have met the criteria for accreditation. Completion of an entry-level course confers graduates with eligibility for Associate membership of ALIA. The ALA provides some general guidance to employers by acknowledging the course recognition processes in the United Kingdom , Australia and New Zealand , providing hyperlinks to the relevant pages which list accredited programs in those countries.

The accreditation processes themselves have differing levels of significance within the professional associations. The current accreditation process looks carefully at course content, to establish a conceptual map of the core body of knowledge required by an LIS professional, with five current areas of priority:.

Each of these five areas includes a number of topics that make up the composite core body of knowledge, but CILIP further indicates that there are opportunities for joint degree programs where a substantial component of the core knowledge is combined with other areas of study.


The context in which the course is offered is important, to verify the level of institutional support for the program and to ascertain the academic qualifications and professional experience of the teaching staff. Enser notes that in the United Kingdom , significant emphasis is placed on students receiving instruction in research methods and that all courses should include a requirement for a substantial piece of individual work in the form of a project or a dissertation. As a reminder, alongside these professional accreditation processes, there is now the introduction of an additional layer of formal government monitoring of universities through the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education QAA [79] in the United Kingdom and through the Australian University Quality Agency AUQA [80] in Australia.

The quality assurance process involves individual universities conducting their own self-assessment as well being the subject of an intensive audit visit. The process of course recognition in Australia is more fuzzy.

Information literacy in university library user education

The course recognition procedures themselves are internal documents of the association and were not available for review by the authors. In the United States , the ALA regards itself as the leading force in accreditation, having evaluated educational programs to prepare librarians since the creation of the Board of Education in Accreditation processes have been under the spotlight in the United States since , when the Congress on Professional Education was established and recommended that a Task Force on an Independent Accrediting Body be created.

The subjective and interpretative nature of qualitative assessment of educational programs has to be acknowledged. The fact that the United Kingdom is a key player in the European Union is evident in the role it has to play on the European stage. On 19 June , the British Minister of Education was a joint signatory to the Bologna Declaration, which includes amongst its objectives the desire to adopt a unilateral higher education system in Europe, with comparable credit-based degree programs to facilitate the international mobility of students as they complete their courses of study, along with European cooperation in approaches to quality assurance in higher education.

Flexible delivery of education programs increases the feasibility of offering such programs to a national market, with obvious benefits to people in rural and regional Australia. Distributed education could then support a pick-and-mix approach to learning which would enable students to select courses to suit their own personal circumstances in order to build up a portfolio of skills. Although the core of the profession remains the same, the methods and tools for information delivery and the scope of the enterprise continue to grow and change dramatically. While maintaining their client and content-centred approach, practitioners increasingly require advanced knowledge of information technology to realise their full potential.

Continually emerging opportunities will propel the prepared profession into as yet unseen realms of advanced information retrieval, interpretation, synthesis, product development and virtual services on a global scale. The authors believe that a clearer understanding of the discipline knowledge and skills, integrating both traditional and emerging aspects of the discipline, together with an understanding of the range of generic personal attributes, will help prepare new library and information professionals to respond to the continuing challenges they will inevitably face in their careers.

However, the development of new professionals is not the sole responsibility of the LIS educator, but is viewed as a career-long learning process that involves the individual, the universities, employers and professional associations. At the same time, there needs to be greater harmonisation between higher education systems and increased recognition of qualifications across national boundaries. The librarian of the future is perhaps a professional who will no longer bear the name librarian.

It is a professional who encompasses a set of standards and values that operate smoothly and seamlessly in a technology driven environment.

Evolving academic library specialties

It is a professional who has a clear understanding of and appreciation for the traditions of librarianship. It is a professional who is multifaceted and multitasked. It is, finally, a professional we will not recognise as a librarian in the usual sense. If we do, then we have failed to evolve. Pettigrew, K.

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