At CAIS this year, I presented my working paper Scientific progress or organizational innovation? A comparison of two turns in Library and Information Science.
I try to explain why Library and Information Science (LIS) has transformed from a discipline narrowly concerned with classification and preservation in libraries and archives to one that includes a wide range of fields and professional training programs. Two alternative but not mutually exclusive explanations may account for these developments. These changes could reflect normal scientific progress as the discipline matures. The changes could also be the result of normative isomorphic organizational change in response to changes in the environment and a need to realign the institutional logics of educational and professional organizations with those of the academy. These explanations are explored through a comparison of two periods during which LIS experienced rapid disciplinary and organizational changes: the decades during and after World War II and the final decade of the 20th century. These abbreviated case studies suggest that both explanations of disciplinary change provide some analytical leverage for explaining different aspects of the development of LIS.
An extended abstract will soon appear in the official conference proceedings.