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Library and Information Science (LIS)


1. Introduction: The “Library and Information Science (LIS)” is formed by merging the concept of “library science” and “information science”, and it is the academic and professional study of issues related to libraries and the information science that includes how information and information carriers are produced, disseminated, discovered, evaluated, selected, acquired, used, organized, maintained, and managed. This includes academic studies regarding how library resources are used and how people interact with library systems. These studies also tend to be specific to certain libraries at certain times. The organization of knowledge for efficient retrieval of relevant information is also a major research goal of LIS. However, there are many thinkers who see the library science and information science as overlapping discipline.

2. Origin of Library and Information Science: The term “library science” first appeared in the early 1930’s, in the title of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan’s “The Five Laws of Library Science” and in the title of Lee Pierce Butler’s 1933 book “An Introduction to Library Science”. In 1959, Information Science began to be used in USA as a general brand for documentation which is summarized as a discipline that investigates properties as well as behavior of information, forces governing the flow of information and the means for processing information for optimal accessibility and usability.

3. Definition: Library and Information Science is concerned with the body of knowledge relating to the origin, storage, retrieval, transmission and utilization of information. It generally refers to the data, information, knowledge and wisdom.
According to Borko, Information Science is an interdisciplinary science that investigates the properties and behavior of information, the forces that govern the flow and use of information and the technique, both manual and mechanical, of processing information for optimal storage, retrieval and dissemination. He further stated that information science has both pure science components which enquire into the subject without regard to its application and applied science components which develop services and products. Librarianship and documentation are also the applied aspect of information science.
According to J. H. Shera, Librarianship is the generic term and information science is an area of research which draws its substance, method and techniques from a variety of disciplines to achieve and understand the properties, behaviour and flow of information. Information science contributes to the theoretical and intellectual base for the librarians operation.
According to C. G. Viswanathan, Information science is concerned with the principles and techniques governing the transfer and communication of organized thought (knowledge) from one human to another and ultimately to society.
According to P. B. Mangla, Information science is a discipline which is concerned with the study of the properties and behaviour of information as well as the forces influencing the flow of information.
According to P. H. William both library science and information science are swiftly developing subjects and so the relation between them is in a constant stage of change.
The Library and Information Science is at the cross road of science seeking a basic principle which would bring together the knowledge in a general framework in which each discipline would have its own place and in which its relationship with other discipline would be clearly perceived. The activities and programmes in LIS often overlap with the activities of computer science, various social sciences, statistics, and system analysis.

4. Educational Requirements and Study Avenues in Library and Information Science: The educational requirement for the library job depends on the type of library where one chooses to work and it may ranges from a certificate course to the Ph.D. Following are the different institutes that provide study avenues in Library and Information Science in Assam.
a) Certificate / Diploma: Eligibility is Class X + II. In Assam, Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University has the Diploma in Library and Information Science programme where the entry qualification is Class X + II.
b) Bachelor Degree: Eligibility is Graduate in any discipline from a recognized University by the University Grants Commission. In Assam, Dibrugarh University and Indira Gandhi National Open University have the 1 year Bachelor degree programme where the entry qualification is graduate in any subjects.
c) Master Degree: A Master's Degree in Library Science (M.Lib.I.Sc. / MLISc / MLS) or Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science (MLISc) is required for most librarian jobs in public, college or special libraries. It usually takes two years to complete a MLISc programme. Gauhati University, Assam University, Dibrugarh University, Assam Women’s University, Jorhat; University of Science and Technology, Meghalaya (USTM), and Indira Gandhi National Open University have the Master Degree programme in Library and Information Science where the entry qualification is graduate in any subjects.
d) M.Phil.: M.Phil. is usually a one year programme after the master degree in Library and Information Science. In Assam, Gauhati University and Assam University provides M.Phil. degree in Library and Information Science.
e) Ph.D.: A Ph.D. degree in Library and Information science will help one to get the top administrative position in any kind of library. If you want to go for Ph.D. then Gauhati University, Assam University or Indira Gandhi National Open University are there to come at par your expectation.
f) NET / SET: A National Eligibility Test (NET) or State Eligibility Test (SET) in Library and Information Science can help one get a teaching position at a college or university or an administrative position in the rank of Librarian, Assistant Librarian in a college or university library.
g) Specialization: Some librarians have an additional degree in the area in which they specialize. Many librarians take continuing education classes to keep up with changing technology. Programme like Post Graduate Diploma in Library Automation and Networking (PGDLAN), Diploma in Digital Library, Postgraduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice, etc may help in this regard.

5. Job Avenues in Library and Information Science: There are tremendous job opportunities for the Library and Information Science professionals. One can choose to work from a school to the university system and from a news channel to the world’s renowned internet based companies. They can also choose to become a teacher or a librarian. In general the job opportunities in the field of Library and Information Science can be categorized into the following-
a) Academic Library: School / College / University / IIT / IIM
b) Public Library: National, State, District, Rural
c) Special Library
i) Medical or Hospital
ii) Research and Development Centres. For example: ICSSR, BARC, etc.
iii) News Agency: TV Channel, Newspaper, etc.
iv) Banking Sector: Reserve Bank of India, State Bank of India, etc.
v) Indian Railways
vi) Museum and Archives
vii) Traditional Companies: For Example: Oil India Limited
viii) International Centres. For example UNESCO, WHO, etc.
ix) Government Ministries Including Central and State
x) Firms related to Database, E-Journals, E-Books, Indexes, Abstracting
xii) Internet Based Companies: Google, Yahoo, Facebook
d) Entrepreneur
i) Be an Information Broker / Information Consultant / Free-lancer
ii) Develop Subject Specific Websites and Make Money from Advertising
iii) Create Paid Contents / Paid Membership Websites
iv) Provide Paid Library Services
v) Be a Vendor of Reading Materials, Library Materials / Furniture
vi) Write to Get Paid
vii) Start an Online Business
viii) Provide Training to Others

6. Contributors to Library and Information Science: Many practicing librarians do not contribute to LIS scholarship but focus on daily operations of their own library systems. Other practicing librarians, particularly in academic libraries, do perform original scholarly LIS research and contribute to the academic end of the field. On this basis, it has sometimes been proposed that LIS is distinct from librarianship, in a way analogous to the difference between medicine and doctoring. In this view, librarianship, the application of library science, would comprise the practical services rendered by librarians in their day-to-day attempts to meet the needs of library patrons. Some other scholars are of the view that the two terms do not make any distinction and can be treated as synonyms.

7. Conclusion: The library and information science deals with all aspects of information and knowledge which includes acquisition of materials, classification and cataloguing, searching tools, information retrieval, preservation and conservation of documents and so on. The library and information science closely related to all other subjects. It forms its own foundation by taking the help of some other subjects.

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