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Library Science Journals – Which Is Right for You?

Students and professionals in library science – whether from an academic or practicing perspective – need access to a reliable supply of journals.  They help you remain knowledgeable about new studies and developments in your field. Reading the highest quality professional and academic journals can help you stay abreast of the latest challenges and trends.  And doing so may inspire you to write your own case or book review, or perform your own academic research.

To get you started, below you’ll find a brief summary of some of the best-known journals in the field of library or information science.  Links to the journals themselves also follow. But first, an introduction to the type of material you’ll find in such journals.

Intro to Library Science

Whether public, academic, scientific or special-focused, the future of libraries depends on the people who staff them. Furthermore, professional and academic journals represent one of the best resources you have for ensuring professional and academic success.

When looking into research in the field, keep in mind that it can also go by the name of information science or something similar. This is in part because the field isn’t really just about libraries in the sense of public spaces for books. Rather, it’s about all libraries or databases of information and the management of them. However, some people still consider library science and information science as separate fields.

In any case, library science is quite interdisciplinary in its application of various areas such as education, management, and information technology. These areas help the field with its main goals of collecting, organizing, preserving, and disseminating resources concerning information. This can include dealing with modern information in the form of books, articles, and data, as well as archival science of past information.

Apart from dealing with information itself, library science also works to optimize how people interact with and use it. They find ways to make the database easy to navigate and find the information that a user is looking for. They also work to uphold ethics about the preservation and sharing of information with all people.

Avoiding Journal Paywalls

As you read through the below list, you’ll see that some journals have options for free access that allow anyone to read them. But for others, you’ll need to pay for a subscription or have special access through a university or other institution. Either of those options can be pretty pricey, so you might be hoping there is an alternative. If you’re willing to put a little extra effort into searching for free sources, you can use engines such as the Open Access Button, Google Scholar, the Chrome extension Unpaywall, and the Directory of Open Access Journals. Each of them searches for free versions of articles, helping you to find what you’re looking for.

Another option you may want to consider is contacting authors directly. Often times they can provide copies of their work or free access codes to online databases. The longer time it takes for this process has earned it the name of “snail trailing,” but you may find that it’s worth it. Especially if you are also interested in the author themselves, this method provides a way of direct contact and possibly even forming a professional relationship. However you choose to look for articles, just be sure to be patient and stay motivated.

Journal of Librarianship and Information Science

The Journal of Librarianship and Information Science (JOLIS) targets information scientists, librarians, specialists, educators and managers. Thus, the journal appeals to those who want to stay up-to-date on recent developments and issues within their field. The JOLIS first appeared in 1969 as the Journal of Librarianship by the Library Association. Then it took on its current name in 1990, along with an updated format.

The library science field currently faces many challenges within a rapidly evolving environment.  Consequently, the JOLIS seeks to reflect the major aspects of librarianship and information science. It does so by presenting research, reports of developments and discussions of concerns integral to the library and information profession. The journal publishes original papers and articles from librarians, academics and information professionals.

Content and Team

The JOLIS editorial board consists of seven researchers supported by a 26-person team of international editorial advisors. Consequently, it remains committed to publishing quality research of interest to those practicing and studying librarianship and information science.

Recent article examples include, “Eradicating Information Poverty: An Agenda for Research,” “A Data-Driven Analysis of the Knowledge Structure of Library Science with Full-Text Journal Articles,” and “Servant Leadership Theory in Practice: North America’s Leading Public Libraries.”

The journal invites papers from across a broad range of roles within the library and information science field. Thus, its content consists of original papers, review articles, viewpoints and book reviews.

Access

Readers can access the JOLIS through individual print subscriptions, which start at 43 dollars for single print issues, or through institutional subscriptions that are priced anywhere from 1041 dollars to 2,651 dollars.

Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology

The Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) appeared in 1950 as American Documentation.

Today, it represents the Association for Information Science and Technology’s peer-reviewed academic journal. As such, it explores communication and new research addressing the following categories: theory of information science; communications; management, economics and marketing; applied information science and social and legal aspects of information. In addition, the journal publishes association announcements and book reviews. The journal is published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the association.

The JASIST has been considered a leading international forum for some time and provides intellectual leadership. To that end, it shares rigorous academic work of an experimental, ethnographic or critical-theoretical nature.

The University of North Carolina’s Javed Mostafa serves as editor-in-chief.  In addition, he is supported by a managing editor and 68 editors, associate editors and senior associate editors.

Sample articles like, “Cyber‐human Systems of Thought and Understanding,” “Text Mining for Personalized Knowledge Extraction From Online Support Groups,” and “Data Work in Context: Value, Risks, and Governance,” give a brief overview of the kind of content to expect.

The JASIST can be accessed via institutional subscription – 3581 dollars for a print-only subscription and 4477 dollars for a print and online version.

The Library Quarterly Journal

The Library Quarterly, published quarterly, focuses on aspects of the library science field ranging from social to statistical.

The journal originally manifested in 1931 to fill a need for discussion and investigation identified by the American Library Association.  Thus, its publication history largely mirrors the path of library science as a field of academic study.

Considered a leading interdisciplinary journal of library research, the Quarterly welcomes a broad spectrum of research approaches, perspectives and methodologies. This may include qualitative, quantitative, evaluative and analytic methods.  Certainly, all journal content maps back to contemporary issues impacting libraries and librarianship.

Editors are Ursula Gorham, Paul T. Jaeger and Natalie Greene Taylor, who work in collaboration with two reviews editors, one managing editor and an editorial board representing 24 colleges and universities across the world.

“Aftermath: Libraries, Democracy, and the 2016 Presidential Election,” and “Small Business Perspectives on the Role of Rural Libraries in Economic Development” typify the kind of content the journal accepts.

The Library Quarterly  is available via open access or via individual or institutional subscription.

Library Trends Journal of Library Science

Library Trends,  a peer-reviewed, quarterly academic journal, was founded in 1952 and is currently published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Touted as an essential tool for professional librarians and educators alike, it explores international developments and future developments in the fields of library and information science.

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign serves as general editor, supported by Managing Editor Cindy Ashwill of the same university. An international editorial board of 11 rounds out the editorial team.

Articles like “Practice-Based Learning in Higher Education,” “Navigating Library Collections, Black Culture and Current Events,” and “The Case against Information and the Body in Library and Information Science,” represent a cross-section of the types of submissions the journal accepts.

Reference and User Services Quarterly Journal

As the official journal of the Reference and User Services Association, Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) disseminates impactful information for librarians and other information specialists. The journal was established in 1961 as the Reference Quarterly and took its current name in 1997.

RUSQ  prioritizes content related to technology for reference and user services, resource sharing, readers’ advisory, reference services, collection development and other aspects of user services. In other words, its focus lands on all aspects of library services to adults in all types of libraries. RUSQ  publishes a mix of historical research, essays and empirical research, along with a range of other types of content, including columns, reviews and reports, that is relevant to professionals in the library science field.

Kathleen Kern currently serves as editor of RUSQ, and the journal’s peer review policy stipulates double-blind referencing of articles in advance of publication.

Recent articles have included, “Career Conversations: New Beginnings Within a Library Career,” “How to Get Your Article Published: Twenty Tips from Two Editors: and “Don’t Call it a Comeback; Popular Reading Collections in Academic Libraries.”

Finally, RUSQ provides open access to all users. It is also available electronically via EBSCO, Academic OneFile and WilsonWeb, as well as on its own website. For more information, visit RUSQ online.

Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science

A respected source of  timely and salient content on library and information science, the Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science represents an academic, peer-reviewed publication.  It prints quarterly by the University of Toronto Press on behalf of the Canadian Association for Information Science. In addition, this publication is internationally renowned for its sound contributions to the field of information science.

The journal chiefly focuses on new research findings, understanding the economics, history, human behavior and technology associated with information library systems and services. Established in 1976, the journal remains dedicated to original research findings, both in full-length and in brief format; letters to the editor; book reviews; and discussions of software and technology.

Valerie M. Nesset of SUNY at Buffalo serves as editor, and the journal boasts a 15-member editor board to support her. Furthermore, the editorial policy remains to promote library and information science in English and French throughout Canada.

Articles like “Paraprofessional Library Education in Canada: An Environmental Scan,” “Toward Email Governance: Policies and Practices in the Government of Canada,” and “Identifying as a Librarian: When LIS Graduates in Non-Library Roles Use the Title ‘Librarian’” exemplify the type of content the journal publishes.

You can read the journal online at Project Muse or via subscription – subscription rates range from a one-year, online-only student rate of 62 dollars to an institutional print-only rate of 175 dollars.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Journal

Covering the fields of librarianship and information science with case studies, essays and original research, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) journal explores the political, social and economic forces that impact access to information through libraries. It is currently published by Sage Publications on behalf of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and has been in continuous publication since 1975.

With an international reach, this peer-reviewed academic journal publishes on a quarterly basis and has a broad readership. Furthermore, this journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

The IFLA Journal prefers original research, but also welcomes descriptive narratives and thoughtful discussions.

Shali Zhang of the University of Montana currently serves as journal editor. Similarly, the editorial committee comprises 10 faculty members from around the world. The editorial team invites submissions relevant to a wide range of research areas.

Some of the latest published articles have included, “Libraries and Their Role in Transitional Justice in the Philippines,” “A Public Library Cannot Live on Books Alone: A Lesson From History,” and “Open-book Management in Libraries: A Case Study of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.”

The journal is available to freely browse online.

Journal of Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship

Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal, cover issues important to science and technology librarians. It publishes content that allows sci-tech librarians to share successful initiatives and innovative ideas.  Furthermore, the journal publishes peer-reviewed and board-accepted papers. They may include theoretical essays, research papers, case studies and/or practical applications.

Because of open access, readers may download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to full text of articles. 

Andrea L. Duda of the University of California, Santa Barbara, serves as editor and works in partnership with a 16-member editorial board.  The editorial team welcomes new authors who seek to further understanding of issues relevant to science and technology libraries.

Sample articles published recently include, “Managing Research Data: Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Researcher Perspectives,” “Engineering Tourism: Sightseeing across the Curriculum for Non-STEM Librarians,” and “A Comparison of Selected Bibliographic Database Subject Overlap for Agricultural Information.”

For more information, visit ISTL online.

Library Review (Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication)

Library Review appeared in 1927 as an academic journal focusing on social sciences as they relate to library  sciences. It currently prints nine times per year and in January 2018 took the new name Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication (GKMC).

The newly imagined journal publishes contemporary research and practice. Content addresses the way people and organizations interact within the newly forged digital environment. GKMC accepts submissions focused on connecting the individual though personalized and meta services. Also, it explores free and open access to information; social interaction, networking and social media. 

The editorial team comprises Editor Judith Broady-Preston of Aberystwyth University. In addition, twelve editors and editorial board members support her.

The team has recently selected such articles as “Exploring the Key Drivers of Internet Behavior Among the Youth of Emerging Markets: The Case of Ghana,” “Content Growth of Institutional Repositories in South India: A Status Report,” and “Influence of Socio-Demographic Factors on the Use of Mobile Phones in Accessing Rice Information on Climate Change Adaption in Tanzania.”

The journal offers an open access option to authors and offers subscriptions to readers. For more information, visit GKMC online.

Conclusion

It might be a lot of information to take in, but that ought to be your specialty in library science. Ease into the world of journals by starting with a topic or two that interest you most. You may also want to read into the best methods for reading academic research so that you get everything you can from the articles. Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll be on your way to becoming well-read and maybe even making your own contributions in the literature.

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