Re-conceptualising and re-positioning Australian library and information science education for the 21st century - final report 2011

15 Nov 2011

This report presents the key findings of a project that has examined how Australian library and information science education can produce the diverse supply of graduates with the appropriate attributes to develop and maintain high quality professional practice in the rapidly changing 21st century.

This report presents the key findings of a project that examined future directions for library and information science (LIS) education in Australia. Titled Re-conceptualising and re-positioning Australian library and information science education for the twenty-first century, the purpose of the project was to establish a consolidated and holistic picture of the Australian LIS profession, and identify how its future education and training can be mediated in a cohesive and sustainable manner.

The project was undertaken with a team of 12 university and vocational LIS educators from eleven institutions around Australia between November 2009 and December 2010. Collectively, these eleven institutions represented the broad spectrum and diversity of LIS education in Australia, and enabled the project to examine education for the information profession in a holistic and synergistic manner. Participating institutions in the project included Queensland University of Technology (Project Leader), Charles Sturt University, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Monash University, RMIT University, University of Canberra, University of South Australia, University of Tasmania, University of Technology, Sydney and Victoria University.

The inception and need for the project was motivated by a range of factors. From a broad perspective, several of these factors relate to concerns raised at national and international levels regarding problems with education for LIS. In addition, the motivation and need for the project also related to some unique challenges that LIS education faces in the Australian tertiary education landscape. Over recent years a range of responses to explore the various issues confronting LIS education in Australia have emerged at local and national levels; however, this project represented the first significant investment of funding for national research in this area. In this way, the inception of the project offered a unique opportunity and powerful mechanism through which to bring together key stakeholders and inspire discourse concerning future education for the profession. Therefore as the first national project of its kind, its intent has been to provide foundation research that will inform and guide future directions for LIS education and training in Australia.

The primary objective of the project was to develop a Framework for the Education of the Information Professions in Australia. The purpose of this framework was to provide evidence-based strategic recommendations that would guide Australia‘s future education for the information professions. Recognising the three major and equal players in the education process, the project was framed around three areas of consideration: LIS students, the LIS workforce and LIS educators. Each area of consideration aligned to a research substudy in the project. The three research substudies were titled Student Considerations, Workforce Planning Considerations and Tertiary Education Considerations.

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