International and Comparative Librarianship

S. R. Ranganathan, P. N. Kaula, R. N. Sharma, J. F. Harvey, D. J. Foskett, J. P. Danton, M. M. Jackson, etc.
This Blogosphere has a slant towards India [a.k.a Indica, Indo, South-Asian, Oriental, Bharat, Hindustan, Asian-Indian (not American Indian)].

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Librarian, Documentalist, Bibliophile, Bibliographer, Embedded Librarian or a Librarian by some other Name?

 "Documentation is the process of collecting and subject classifying all the records of new observations and making them available, at need, to the discoverer or the inventor."  Documentation, (p. 10, 1948). Quoted in in Dictionary of Library and Information Science QuotationsEdited by Mohamed Taher and L S S R Valluri Ramaiah. ISBN: 8185689423, (New Delhi , Aditya, 1994) (p. 51).

"The information transfer chain begins with initial generation and exposition of information. This is the business entirely of the working scientist. The later steps, such as indexing, cataloguing, and retrieving are traditionally the job of documentalist." Scientific Communication, Key Papers in Information Science, 1971. p. 21. Quoted in in Dictionary of Library and Information Science QuotationsEdited by Mohamed Taher and L S S R Valluri Ramaiah. ISBN: 8185689423, (New Delhi , Aditya, 1994) (p. 376).

Whatever is their name/title, librarians are now more than ever in need a name that which is appropriate with the ever changing face of libraries. 

We are not sure what this librarian's profession will be called in 2020/2050. However, we know that it was called Library Economy since 1876, and Library Science since 1942. In short, the field has different names, such as, Librarianship, Library Science, Documentation, Bibliography, Information Management, Knowledge Management, Library and Information Science, Information Science, Embedded librarianship, Digital librarianship, etc. Is this because as some feel: Having no “umbrella definition,” librarianship means different things in different settings (Gerhardt, 1978, p. 4)?

In tracing the changing names of the field of librarians, we need to do a quick re-cap on the emergence of a term 'Documentation' esp., in India in 1960s and then its disappearance in 2000s from libraries, information management related job titles, and library schools:
  • Documentation Research and Training Centre (DRTC) at Bangalore was established in January 1962 by Dr. SR Ranganathan, to train a special brand of librarians. Very similar was the reason of founding the Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre (INSDOC in Delhi--link inactive:; both offering a course called Associateship--DRTC's Associateship in Documentation and Information Science (ADIS); and INSDOC's  “Associateship in Documentation and Reprography, later re-named in 1977 as Associateship in Information Science (AIS)--More about the present face of INSDOC @ NISCAIR's brochure of the course, last updated : 2010Since that date to the recent days, at least in India, Masters degree in Library/Information Science from a recognized university or Associate ship from INSDOC/DRTC were considered equivalents. In  2002 we heard of (continuing the AIS Master's) the merger of INSDOC with  NISCOM; and Since, 2008 DRTC's ADIS has been changed to Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MS-LIS).
Note: The above disappearing scenario may not be true in Europe, and other parts  of the world, and this is obvious in The return of documentation?. Similarly as in the past many others have used this term in their own perspectives, e.g., Visual Resources An International Journal of Documentation. Hence, this post is not about what's in a name. Rather it is tracing the historicity of the names that the profession of librarians is going thro'. Also, this post is not about a written-manual (on how to use a software, aka documenting how-to manual): The Death of Documentation

Recently, I found a blog's title (Notes on Documentation and Librarianship), that leads me to wonder what is the current terminology of the profession, in a global village?? 

Googling, one further finds it was prevalent rather with breaks, between 1950s-1990, and then what follows later is a confusion/fusion/etc., see the samples: 
o Information Research: An Electronic International Journal
o (
o Journal of Librarianship and Information Science
o (
o Library & Information Science Research
o Library Quarterly
o Library Trends
o New Review of Information and Library Research
Academic Libraries
o College & Research Libraries
o College & Undergraduate Libraries
o Journal of Academic Librarianship
o Portal: Library and the Academy
o American Archivist
o Archivaria
Public Libraries
o Public Libraries
o Public Library Quarterly
o Scandinavian Public Library Quarterly
School Libraries
o Knowledge Quest (Formally School Library Media Quarterly)
o School Libraries in Canada
o School Libraries Worldwide
o New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship
o (
Special Subjects
o Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science
o Cataloging & Classification Quarterly
o Government Information Quarterly
o Information Processing & Management
o Internet Research
o Journal of Education for Library and Information Science
o Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIS&T)
o Journal of Documentation
o LIBER Quarterly
o Reference Librarian

*Note: The amount of research content varies by journal title

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Blogger nagaraja rao Kachiraju said...

Yes Sir, the terms change and their meanings change, the purpose is lost in time. Some techniques so dear to the documentalists and bibliographers like abstracting, indexing and creating biliographies have become irrelevant in the modern era.

12:38 PM  

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