Sustainable information science: Implications for LIS education and practice

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In this presentation I define the concept of Sustainable Information Science (SIS) and introduce a number of practical implications that LIS educators and information professionals can employ to materialize different aspects of environmental, economic and social sustainability in their practice. SIS is a rather new theoretical framework which enables us to understand and redefine LIS from a sustainable development perspective. SIS reminds us that our policies and practices in this field, like any other field, have various environmental, economic and social impacts which should be appraised based on sustainable development criteria. Therefore, SIS includes what information professionals can consider in their work to actively contribute in addressing sustainability in general and achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular. We can review the current trends and issues in this field based on two related categories. The first category covers everything that information professionals in the GLAM industry can do to facilitate a broad, fast and easy access to information about sustainability for different groups of people in society. The second category includes what we all can do to embed the concept of sustainability in our discipline including our current research, teaching and practice. Thankfully, many LIS associations such as IFLA, ALA, CILIP and ALIA have been very proactive in this area and they have published several statements and guidelines about sustainability. Moreover, recently information professionals around the world introduced various initiatives to materialize the concept of sustainability in their practice such as green library movement, green literacy and green information technology (green IT). SIS also has social aspects and accordingly a wide range of ideas about enhancing social inclusion, advocating information freedom, filling digital divide, fighting with fake news and so on are also relevant to this perspective. Finally, SIS is a useful conceptual framework to develop the idea of Sustainable Information Behaviour (SIB) to embed the concept of sustainability into our everyday life information practice. Based on SIB, information users should be aware of the environmental and social consequences of their information seeking, sharing and usage and accordingly choose the methods with the least negative effects. For example using more green IT technologies with less digital waste is recommended in this area. At the end, I provide a number of themes for further reflections on this topic such as what we can do in developing more sustainable methods in information production, information sharing and information usage.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2020
EventSchool of Information Studies Learning and Teaching Seminars - , Australia
Duration: 12 Feb 202012 Feb 2020


SeminarSchool of Information Studies Learning and Teaching Seminars


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