11th Dr. T. B. Rajashekar Memorial Lecture (2016): “LIS Education and Research in India: Some issues from the practitioners’ perspective”

Title : LIS Education and Research in India: Some issues from the practitioners’ perspective

Speaker : Dr. M S Sridhar, Formerly, Head, Library and Documentation Division, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru

Chaired by Dr. N.C. Shivaprakash, Librarian In-charge, J.R.D. Tata Memorial Library, IISc.

Date & Time: Friday, 17th June 2016 at 6.15 PM

Venue: JRD Library Lecture Hall, IISC, Bangalore-560012

Abstract of the talk: LIS, a low-status service profession, has its own education system quite insensitive to market-needs and yet turnout a huge run-of-the-mill poor quality professionals to face unemployment, under-employment inappropriate employment. Hardly 20% get employed/ are employable during the year. The incumbents, who join the courses, by chance and not by choice, naturally lack aptitude. LIS education system hardly inculcates and nurtures aptitude for service. The curriculum and other committees have grand plans and reports with subjects borrowed from ICT and management sciences to displace core/ traditional LIS subjects backed by least of wisdom of practice. There
is a hue and cry about non-existing professional identity crises/ threat from alien subjects and thus easily making way for non-professionals to thrive. Academic world is fond of and survives on lot of nomenclature (verbal jugglery) borrowed/ imitated from ICT and management science without any responsibility for ground to earth practical implementation.

In the absence of national policy, accreditation and quality control for LIS education and research the future is bleak. Professional bodies (which are plenty) owe responsibility in this regard, but they are preoccupied with conferences and seminars probably for making profits. Research is exploding in LIS with negligible ROI, no contribution to the body of Knowledge and no innovative methodology devised (only abuse/ over-use of stale methodologies). Look at life after research. Hardly anybody continues research after acquiring PhD and research, like learning, is a life-long activity! LIS research is abundant, but usable quality output is disproportionately small, i.e., most output are devoid of
practical applications. Ghost-writing and piracy are no longer secrets; one can openly find ads about hiring/ outsourcing entire research work to get doctorate degree. LIS education and research in India runs independent of and insulated from application and practice like a closed system serving its own interest.

About the Speaker:

Dr. M S Sridhar is a post-graduate in mathematics and management and a doctorate in library and information science with over 36 years of experience in different capacities in three premiere institutions in Bangalore, namely, ISRO Satellite Centre, Indian Institute of Management and National Aeronautical Laboratory. He was heading the Library and Documentation Division of ISRO Satellite Centre for over 30 years till retirement in February 2009. He has published 4 books, contributed 5 chapters to books, 120 papers, 50 conference and seminar presentations and 25 course materials to M Phil, MLIS and BLIS courses. His Research methodology and Management schools of thought postings on Web have about 3 million hits.