Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
Information Science and Librarianship
Purpose - This paper addresses the coverage of issues related to crisis and societal change in the scholarly literature in relation to libraries, information services, and access to information and the leadership role of librarians and libraries in addressing such issues. Design/methodology/approach - The paper provides an overview and analysis of the general issue of change in the literature review, as well as a discussion of war and terrorism, civil and natural disasters, social movements, medical and healthcare crises and needs, and large-scale economic and technological shifts. The research results address the extent to which these major economic, political, technological and social changes have been addressed in four quarterly, peer-reviewed library and information science journals over the past six years and the extent to which the focus of the published research and discussion has shifted over the past six years. Findings - Research based on analysis of the journal literature reflects the documentation of practices and research results in library and information science. The research results indicate increased focus on war and terrorism and large-scale economic and technological change, as related to information services, in the literature, during and after 2001, but less focus on information access, despite the impact of war and terrorism on library collections and resulting legal and policy decisions related to access to information. Research limitations/implications - As a result of the limited focus on research and discussion of leadership in the peer-reviewed journals included in the research study and the fact that the articles that addressed the role of libraries and librarians in addressing various aspects of crisis and change did not also identify the roles as those of leadership, there is the need for research and publication to document the examples of library leadership that may be taking place, but which are not reflected in the research literature. Practical implications - The efforts undertaken to influence the policy-making and legislative processes, to provide access to information, and to design and provide information resources and services have not been articulated in the literature as leadership roles, in particular. Thus, the analysis of the literature appears to indicate further opportunities for leadership at the local, national and international levels, consistent with the numerous examples reflected in the literature. Originality/value - In general, there is limited focus on research and discussion of leadership in the scholarly journals in library and information science. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the major economic, political, technological and social changes internationally, over the past six years, and addresses the extent to which the efforts of librarians and libraries to address these issues have been documented in the research literature.
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