- Information Professional or IT Professional?: The Knowledge and Skills Required by Academic Librarians in the Digital Library Environment
- portal: Libraries and the Academy
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 17, Number 4, October 2017
- pp. 739-757
- View Citation
- Additional Information
As library and information science (LIS) becomes an increasingly technology-driven profession, particularly in the academic library environment, questions arise as to the extent of information technology (IT) knowledge and skills that LIS professionals require. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain what IT knowledge and skills are needed by academic librarians in the digital library environment. Grounded in pragmatist epistemology and using ideas from sociologist Andrew Abbott's Chaos of Disciplines, the study draws empirical evidence from LIS job advertisements and a national online survey of academic libraries in South Africa. It concludes that 70 to 75 percent of job advertisements in the academic library sector stipulate requirements for advanced IT skills. The author recommends that the LIS discipline seize the opportunity presented by what Abbott calls its "interstitial character" and its tendency toward "fractal distinctions in time" to stake an intellectual claim on this technology-driven extension of its disciplinary domain.