School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 591 Outline

LIS 591 Publishing

Course Outline
Fall 2018

Instructor: Tami Oliphant
Phone: 780-492-2033
Office: 5-169 Education North

Office hours: By appointment

Classes: Mondays: 9:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m. 1-07 Education South
Course materials can be accessed on eClass

Course Description: An examination of current trends and issues in publishing, particularly the impacts of digital media and technology, and the critical intersections of the publishing industry in relation to contemporary society, the educational and cultural sectors, and the library and information professions.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to articulate many of the conditions affecting:

  • the impact of digital technologies on the publishing and media industries;
  • digital publishing, copyright, and intellectual property;
  • ownership and dissemination changes in the publishing industry;
  • the trends, processes, and standards of trade and scholarly publishing;
  • open access and open culture movements;
  • the role of libraries in the new media landscape;
  • the different elements of the publisher’s role (e.g., selection, distribution, promotion, marketing, etc.)
  • the role of government in the cultural industries, with particular reference to Canadian publishing;
  • the roles of large and small publishers and university and regional presses;
  • certain specialist forms of publishing (e.g., the educational market, alternative publications, etc.);
  • the relationship between the publishing industry and the information professions; and
  • the implications of the tumultuous changes in the publishing industry for publishers, booksellers, information professionals including librarians, and readers.

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes

  • Drawing upon course readings, self-directed readings, class discussions, class activities, and lectures, students will be able to critically analyze trends, issues, various publishing models, and types of publishers; the role of government in the Canadian cultural industries; and the impacts of digital technology from a publishing perspective and as they relate to librarianship and the information professions.

Measures: current news scanning, overview paper, analog reflection, and final paper and presentation (SLIS PLOs 1, 2, 3, 6, 9)

  • Drawing upon course readings, self-directed readings, class discussion, class activities, and guest lectures, students will identify and assess the roles of the actors involved in the publishing industry including creators, publishers, retailers, librarians and information professionals, audiences, and readers.

Measures: current news scanning, overview paper, analog reflection, and final paper and presentation (SLIS PLOs 5, 9, 10)

Content Areas

  • an overview of issues in changing media, infrastructure, ICTs, institutions and public policy, from author to consumer (reader), to help librarians understand publishing trends and concerns
  • an assessment of the diverse roles of publishers as disseminators, gatekeepers, and marketers of trade and scholarly publications
  • an introduction to critical questions of changing ownership and management in the publishing industry, both nationally and internationally, in all types and forms of media
  • issues regarding the future of publishing, especially impacts of technology, economics, and political and cultural values, e.g., digital media, e-publishing, monopoly, concentration and convergence, and content control


Methods: A combination of lectures, readings, discussions, hands-on exercises, and presentations will be used throughout the course. Where possible, guest lectures and/or special presentations will also be included.

Course Relationships: Pre- or co-requisite: LIS 501

Course Assignments

Due date

  • Class participation


throughout the term

  • Current news e-book (throughout the term)


November 19

  • Overview of a publishing company, vendor, or technology; Wikipedia edit option


October 1

  • Analog and digital technology reflection


November 5

  • Final paper, presentation, and peer-review


November 26, December 3


Inclusive Language and Equity: The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of equality and respect for all people within the university community, and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Specialized Support and Disability Services.

Academic Integrity: The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour that could potentially invite suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and can result in suspension or expulsion from the university.

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.

SLIS students are bound by the University of Alberta's “Use of Copyright Materials Policy" (, which requires that the use of copyright materials conforms to the Canadian Copyright Act. To ensure compliance with both the University's policy and the Copyright Act, please refer to the SLIS Copyright Policy (