School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598: Knowledge Production, Diffusion, and Reception in LIS

Course Outline
Winter 2017

Instructor: Tami Oliphant
Phone: (780) 492-2033
Office: 3-04 Rutherford South
Office hours: By appointment
Class times: Mondays: 9:00 a.m.11:50 p.m. in 3-01 Rutherford South

Calendar Description:

This course examines the sources, production, diffusion, reception, and practical applications of knowledge within the context of library and information studies.


Course Objectives:

  • To introduce, and to critically examine, different theories of knowledge and different ways of knowing and their relevance and application to library and information studies (LIS);

  • To critique sources of knowledge and how knowledge is acquired and produced by individuals, groups, communities, and institutions;

  • To critically examine knowledge diffusion among individuals, groups, communities, and institutions;

  • To explore how people evaluate, assess, interpret, and judge knowledge, information, beliefs, and opinions;

  • To engage in critical, reflective practice.


Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

By the end of the course students will:

  • demonstrate their understanding of how knowledge is produced and disseminated in various contexts;
    • Measures: case study, scholarly artifact
  • demonstrate their understanding of how people evaluate, assess, interpret and judge knowledge, information, beliefs, and opinions;
    • Measures: case study, scholarly artifact
  • engage in critical, reflective, practice by developing greater awareness of the theories, sources, and knowledge practices pertinent to LIS
    • Measures: class curation, course readings, class discussion, case study, scholarly artifact


In the era of data glut, information glut, and competing narratives, a deeper understanding of how we come to know, how we conceptualize the world around us, and how we evaluate and assess claims about the world, are increasingly foundational to LIS as an academic discipline and applicable to professional practice. Recognizing that all knowledge is embedded in individual, social, cultural, and political contexts, this course examines the sources, production, diffusion, reception, and practical applications of knowledge in library and information studies.  

  • Knowledge and everyday life

  • Knowledge production in the various disciplines

  • Knowledge transfer

  • Data, information, knowledge and representation

  • Critical data studies

  • Power relations

  • Media; publishing; circulation of documents

  • Diffusion of knowledge including libraries and other cultural institutions

  • Visuals and aesthetics

  • Online and offline communities, Internet, networks

  • Cognitive authority, authoritative knowledge, credibility, trust

  • Misinformation, disinformation, counterknowledge

  • Situated learning/signature pedagogies

  • Knowledge destruction

  • Privacy, ethics, the right to know and the right to forget

  • Self-knowledge and professional knowledge  

  • Reflective practice, critical thinking, critical practice


A combination of lectures, readings, discussions, computer demonstrations, 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-requisite: LIS 501; Co-requisite: LIS 505


Assignments and Weighting:

Class participation: 15%

Case study: 25%

Class curation: 25%

Scholarly artifact: 35%


Required Texts:
Readings as assigned


School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:

Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade.

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 which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy

Inclusive Language and Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of 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 background. 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 Student Accessibility Services.

Recording of Lectures:

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

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