Literature Suggests Information Professionals Have Adopted New Roles

Robin Elizabeth Miller

Abstract


A Review of:
Vassilakaki, E. & Moniarou-Papaconstantinou, V. (2015). A systematic literature review informing library and information professionals’ emerging roles. New Library World, 116(1/2), 37-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/NLW-05-2014-0060

Abstract

Objective – To provide a systematic review of the emerging or newly adopted roles of information professionals, over the past 14 years, as described in the Library and Information Science (LIS) professional literature.

Design – Systematic review of the literature.

Setting – Databases featuring information science content, including ACM Digital Library, Library, Information Science and Technology Abstracts (LISTA), Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA), Citeseer, Google Scholar, e-prints in Library and Information Science (e-LiS), Digital Library of Information Science and Technology (DLIST), Scopus, and Science Direct. The database Library Literature & Information Science Index was not included.

Subjects – Through a systematic literature search, the authors identified 114 peer-reviewed studies published between 2000-2014.

Methods – The authors searched selected databases using the terms “librarian/s role” and “information professional/s role” to collect literature about the roles of information professionals. The authors searched the selected databases in two phases. The initial search yielded 600 search results and the authors included 100 articles about “roles” information professionals have adopted. The authors excluded articles focused on specific positions, health and medical libraries, librarians’ professional skills, and development of specific programs or initiatives within libraries. In the second phase of searching, the authors refined search terms to include phrases specifically related to the roles identified in the 100 articles initially included in the review. There were 48 articles identified in the second search and 14 were included in the final pool of articles. The authors also cross-checked the references of all included literature.

Main Results – The authors identified six roles of information professionals described in the literature during the review period. The role of “embedded librarian” was described in the largest number of articles (42%), followed by “librarian as teacher” (20%), “knowledge manager” (20%), “technology specialist” (9%), “subject librarian” (6%), and “information consultant” (3%).

The study did not identify a dominant journal title or professional conference publishing research on information professionals’ roles. Some included literature reported a specific method for investigation, including questionnaires, content analyses, and mixed methods. However, the researchers report that the majority of articles represented personal views or perceptions of the authors.

Conclusion – The roles of information professionals are continually changing, both in practice and in description. In particular, information professionals expanded their roles in teaching during the review period, shedding light on institutional and professional priorities.

Keywords


systematic review; professional roles

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18438/B8B05R





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