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Library amd information studies interdisciplinary practice in Africa

Stephen M Mutula


That the interdisciplinary nature of library and information studies (LIS) is well established is evident from the extensive amount of empirical and theoretical published literature, and from an examination of library and information studies curricula in both Africa and other parts of the world. There is, however, limited evidence of empirical or theoretical literature regarding LIS as an interdisciplinary field from the perspective of the developing world, particularly Africa. This does not imply lack of inter-disciplinary practice on the continent. On the contrary, a review of curricula offerings of some African LIS schools demonstrates an increasing practice of interdisciplinary offerings. Yet there does seem to be a disconnect between practice and research on the subject of LIS as an interdisciplinary field in Africa. This article therefore assesses the level of LIS interdisciplinary practice in Africa from the perspective of interdisciplinary and related concepts, the interdisciplinary nature of the LIS field models and motivations for interdisciplinary academic offerings, trends towards interdisciplinary LIS curricula, and challenges of interdisciplinary academic programmes. My ultimate purpose is to inform policy, theory and practice in the design and implementation of LIS interdisciplinary academic programmes in Africa.

Innovation, no.43, December 2011