International Journal of Libraries and Information Services
Vol 57 (2007), No 3, pages 111-178
ISSN 0024-2667

Table of Contents

Challenges of the Approaching Knowledge Society: Major International Issues Facing LIS Professionals

Abstract. In the context of the follow-up work arising from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), this paper attempts to answer the questions: Why should librarians and information workers be involved in international advocacy? And what are the international issues with which librarians should concern themselves? Special attention is paid to the role of IFLA, as the main international body representing the interests of librarians, and to the eleven WSIS "action lines" set out in the 2003 Geneva Plan of action, along which much of the current follow-up work is aligned. The concept of the Knowledge Society, and more specifically four criteria for a Knowledge Society – ICT infrastructure, information content, human intellectual capacity, and physical delivery infrastructure – are used as a framework for the answers we give to these questions. A brief discussion of these areas and some comments on the WSIS process precede a broad outline of the international issues facing library and information professionals.

The Library-Community Convergence Framework for Community Action: Libraries as Catalysts of Social Change

Abstract. This paper presents a library-community convergence framework (LCCF) to extend the role of all libraries to participate more fully in community action and enhance their function as proactive catalysts of social change, as compared to a sometimes perceived role of bystanders. Although the paper highlights deliberations about the involvement of public libraries in their local communities, and shares experiences of community interactions between library and information professionals and minority and underserved groups in American academic library settings, yet the proposed framework of convergence between the library-community and the methods/ approaches of community action are applicable across a variety of library contexts. The paper discusses select application of the LCCF for community action in two qualitative research studies, with local immigrant communities and sexual minorities, that use methods pioneered in ethnographic outreach and participatory action research (PAR) respectively. The results of these studies show that the LCCF is applicable in the development of various forms of services in different library environments. Ethnographic methods in the first study provide understanding of cross-cultural issues and uncover how local immigrant classifications can be induced from an ethnographic perspective to generate library classifications and information services that are locally relevant and participant- empowering. PAR ideologies in the second study underlie implementation of library and information interventions and community action while partnering with local sexual minorities and their allies, to address specific and contextualized community facets in ways that may promote communitywide social changes. Points of intersection from the two studies help identify key elements in the LCCF framework that can extend the role of all kinds of libraries as leaders and cultural planners of progressive community-based action.

Developing Information Literate Off-Campus Learners: Pedagogical Issues and Current Practice

Abstract. This study examined the potential and actual roles that academic librarians play in supporting the development of information literate off-campus learners. It reviews the literature, concentrating in particular on issues related to the institutional context in which off-campus learners are supported and the teaching role of the academic librarian. A series of 12 interviews and a questionnaire survey of 70 academic librarians provided the basis for a detailed analysis of the current situation in Scotland and a Web survey was used to confirm key findings, extending the study to include academic librarians across the United Kingdom. The research concludes that the most critical issue to be addressed is the integration of academic library professionals within course teams. These librarians are willing to become involved in teaching and to take responsibility for the delivery of information literacy courses for off-campus learners, but in order to do so effectively they must operate and interact with students within the same learning space as the academic staff.

Downloading Communism: File Sharing as Samizdat in Ukraine

Abstract. This article explores the cultural meanings of fi le sharing and other forms of digital media piracy in Ukraine. Ukraine, the second most populous of the former Soviet republics, had been named as one of the ten "priority countries" with "unacceptable piracy rates". Western governments and commercial associations have lobbied intensively to present piracy in straightforward terms as a crime. In contrast, the author argues that file-sharing practices in Ukraine reflect distinctive features of its cultural heritage. Two factors are particularly important here: the Soviet Union's disregard for international copyright norms and the cultural tradition of Samizdat that arose as a form of cultural resistance to the state's monopoly on conventional reproductive methods. Samizdat was closely tied to the emergence of a modern Ukrainian national identity. An analysis of current Ukrainian attitudes toward piracy, focused on users of the popular music-sharing site, shows that these factors influence attitudes toward the legitimacy of international copyright measures. Many Ukrainians distrust the imposition of controls on reproduction of information and resent the coercive tactics used against local pirate producers on behalf of Western copyright holders. Parallels between file sharing and Samizdat are particularly instructive because both take place from one individual to another along an anonymous chain, across national boundaries and without the control of copyright holders. In both cases, the political meaning of the action comes from participation in the process itself, as much as from the material being shared.