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Need for revision of Library and Information Science Syllabus

One of IGNOU's teachers has taken a bold step of initiating revision of BLIS Syllabus that too by asking open suggestions through a email based forum.

This would be a great opportunity to look into what is being taught for last two decades now. There has been number of changes that happened on the educational scenarios changing information needs of modern society taken collectively. 'Net' has been a major landmark revolution after the printing press revolution. And this has happened in roughly last two decades or so. The earlier press revolution changed what libraries were before printing press. 'Net' revolution would also change as how the libraries would be in near future.

I had made a little prediction as what would be academic libraries in the year 2020 around Dec 2005. Some of you did not agree to my assumptions. Again let me stress that changes would be dramatic. Perhaps some smaller institutions would be outsourcing their 'libraries'. Today's (27th Feb 2008) Times of India, carried a report that there is a proposal that Delhi University may be allowing access to its libraries to the students of other universities on payment of nominal fees. You may call it resource sharing, to me it is outsourcing (of library services and content) by other institutions and universities of Delhi from Delhi University.

Ok, let me come to the actual point of revision of Syllabus. This opportunity should be utilized to incorporate present day requirements of Library and Information Professionals. Since it is a professional course, the experience of working professionals would be more appropriate. Thus it would be great opportunity to take views of the working professionals.

The present syllabus needs to be revised drastically. To start with, I would just like see drastic changes in the first paper itself - i.e. Library and Society. This paper actually establishes and justifies the need of library for the human society. In this "net" age, first of all we have to re-establish the relevance of library. The conventional libraries could become more and more irrelevant to the society if these are not molded to the young and future generations of mankind. They are already saying that Reference Books are just like Dinosaurs in Libraries. I would myself key-in few words in Google (over cell phone) than to visit library and check out encyclopedia. I may be mature enough to evaluate and discount my 'net findings'. But the "google" generation is not that mature. A new concept - Library 2.0 is to be definitely is there. Then comes marketing of services by professionals. The philosophy of 'Open Access', which I believe is same what Ranganathan referred by saying "Books are for Use" has to be embedded within the future generation librarians.

I believe that educational model for Library and Information Science
Professionals should have three concentric cores (facets):

1 - CORE - having the essential LIS philosophy, theory, Tools and Best

2 - MIDDLE CORE - comprising of Information Technologies (All ICE
Technologies) that boosts the effectiveness of the CORE (1).

3 - INTERFACE CORE - This is the face that is perceived by Prospective
Employers. It takes the feedback from the job market, adjusts the
MIDDLE Core to satisfy the Employers' requirements.

(See discussions)

I would put the Library Users under the INTERFACE CORE. Applying Library 2.0 Concepts to this would mean mechanisms be taught were Professionals develop processes in their library systems to capture the user behavior and further refine and enrich library services and
Content by encouraging collaborative feed back from users. For example - OPAC may be developed to allow tagging and adding to their 'favourites'.

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