Information and Learning Sciences: Situating my work at the intersection

Since the beginning of my doctoral program, I’ve struggled to situate my work and research interests. The role of libraries in learning. Interest-driven learning in libraries. Connected learning. Information literacy and learning. In particular, geeky interests and their relationship to learning. Nothing felt quite right.

Last year, a new journal called Information and Learning Sciences launched. I noticed. I maybe signed up for table of contents alerts? I don’t know. But I kind of forgot about it for a while.

I remembered it again when I needed to read a couple of chapters from the book Reconceptualizing Libraries: Perspectives from the Information and Learning Sciences for my comps, but then once I was done with that, it slipped out of my mind again.

People have only been embracing the interdisciplinarity of these two particular fields for the past few years; nobody really would have thought to use them together before that. Now, this is a defined interdisciplinary intersection with a growing body of scholarship, and it is a place where I can actually plant a flag for my own work.

It’s funny, because right before I started my PhD program, one of my colleagues at LEARN NC, Joseph Hooper, and I would talk about the intersection of LIS and LS all the time. And if you look at my coursework choices, one of the only courses I’ve taken that was about content rather than theory development and methods is Intoduction to Cognitive Science and Sociocultural Perspectives on Learning. It feels like I should have arrived at the realization that this is where my work sits much earlier.

But it doesn’t really matter. I’m there now, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the relatively small body of literature about it and seeing how it relates to my dissertation work and other research plans.

Kimberly Hirsh @kimberlyhirsh