Call for Papers

Education and Training Section joint with Library Theory and Research Section and LIS Education in Developing Countries Special Interest Group

Quality assurance of Library and information science (LIS) programs

The topics of quality assurance in library and information science (LIS) education and the challenges relating to the equivalency and reciprocity of qualifications for LIS professionals have long been subjects of interest to the IFLA community (Tammaro, 2006; Tammaro & Weech, 2008).  It is widely acknowledged that approaches to quality assurance of academic programs vary considerably across the world and involve many different stakeholders, for example external bodies such as government agencies and professional associations, and internal representatives of the education institutions. In this fast changing world, it is timely to develop a clearer understanding of current practice in LIS education.

The focus of an academic LIS program is critical not only for members of the profession itself but also for the public in general as it effectively defines the arena of professional practice in libraries as enterprises and institutions. These days the boundaries of the profession are also moving: LIS knowledge and expertise extends beyond libraries to be applied in a broad range of contexts within the business and government sectors.  At the same time, the evolving digital information environment is stimulating the creation of exciting new roles which require contemporary professional competences.

These fresh horizons are particularly important given the decline in traditional library positions, especially those in the public and quasi-public sectors. In order to survive, it is argued that LIS education and research must pay greater attention to the broader aspects of quality assurance and excellence. Changes and developments can be best observed from the comparative perspectives which will allow us to trace quality assurance processes across different educational environments and to share our understandings about the issues and challenges we face as educators, researchers and practitioners.

At the WLIC in Cape Town, South Africa, the IFLA Education and Training Section (SET), Library Theory and Research Section (LTR) and the LIS Education in Developing Countries Special Interest Group are coordinating a joint session to explore the topic in greater depth. The three hour forum will focus specifically on the accreditation (which encompasses terms such as ‘certification’, ‘approval’, ‘recognition’ and ‘sanctioning’) of education programs for future library and information professionals.  It should be noted that the broader landscape of certification of continuing professional development programs will not be considered in this session.

The session aims to bring together practitioners, researchers and educators from the field to examine the key issues relating to the quality assurance in LIS programs and to compare and discuss many of the international perspectives.

For this very significant session, we invite papers which address issues such as the following:

  1. Accreditation by professional bodies, e.g. ALA, CILIP, ALIA
  2. The European experience, e.g. the Bologna process, ECTS, accredited studies, agreements between institutions, comparative processes
  3. The role of quality assurance in the internationalisation of LIS
  4. Quality assurance issues in developing countries
  5. The impact of the iSchools’ curriculum-focused research activities on quality assurance
  6. The recognition of new areas of skills and knowledge relevant to LIS practice, beyond the traditional core professional knowledge
  7. The involvement of representatives of industry as key stakeholders in the quality assurance process.

To submit a proposal

Proposals are invited for:

  • Individual paper presentations
  • Comparative international contributions (e.g. with two or three contributors).

The proposal should include:

  • An extended structured abstract of the proposed paper, approx. 1,000 words
    [For information about structured abstracts, see]
  • A summary of the author(s) details (name, institution, position) and a brief biographical statement of approx. 50 words for each author
  • Contact details (email address) for the lead author.

Subject to scholarly peer review, a selection of the best papers will be also published in one of the Emerald journals.

Proposals should be submitted by email to:

Gillian Hallam

No later than 18 January 2015
Please indicate ‘IFLA proposal’ in the subject line.

Selected presenters will be notified by 28 February 2015.

Full papers

To meet IFLA WLIC deadlines, the final version of the full papers accepted for the session must be submitted by 14 May 2015.  As the language of the session will be English, papers should be in English or in one of the official IFLA languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian or Spanish) with an English translation attached.

Each presenter will have 20 minutes in the programme session to deliver their papers, and time will be allowed for an open forum to allow audience interaction.

Important dates

18 January 2015 Deadline for Proposals for papers
28 February 2015 Deadline for notifications of acceptance
14 May 2015 Deadline for submission of full papers


Tammaro, A.M. (2006).  Quality assurance in library and information science (LIS) schools: Major trends and issues.  Advances in Librarianship, 30, 389-423.

Tammaro, A.M & Weech, T. (2008). Feasibility of international guidelines for equivalency and reciprocity of qualifications for LIS professionals.  Available:


All proposals must be in before 18 January 2015.

Please note

Every paper accepted must be presented in person by one of the authors at the IFLA WLIC in Cape Town, South Africa.

Authors are required to permit non-exclusive publication of papers chosen for this session on the IFLA website and digital repository, the IFLA Library. Author(s) must agree to make their paper available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Papers that are accepted but not presented in person at the conference will not be made available on the official conference website nor will they be considered for nomination as a best paper of the conference.

All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA, but a special invitation letter can be issued to authors.

Congress Participation Grants

List of opportunities for support is available on our Conference Participation Grants webpage.

Last update: 17 December 2014