School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 Information and Libraries in International Context


Course Outline
Winter 2017

Instructor: Keren Dali

Phone: 780-492-0164
Office: 3-05 Rutherford South
Office hours: TBA

Class times: Wednesdays: 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. in 3-01 Rutherford South.

Calendar Description:

The course focuses on the field of Area Studies in North America and on international LIS issues, including but not limited to the transnational data flow, information policy, international cooperation, information literacy, and information organizations around the world.

Course Objectives:

  1. acquire specific knowledge of a few Area Studies and discuss the pragmatic application of this knowledge in professional LIS careers in North America;

  2. master a systematic approach to the study of information and libraries around the world;

  3. gain knowledge of the major issues affecting information organizations and libraries in the international context;

  4. discuss the roles and functions of national and international organizations in facilitating library and information exchange and cooperation;

  5. gain familiarity with the concepts of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication and acquire initial experience in organizing and facilitating international communication, collaboration, and/or events.

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

By actively participating in and leading class discussions, designing learning opportunities for their colleagues, and engaging in reflexive practices, students will learn collaboration, planning, and project management skills, develop the ability to act and solve problems creatively, think critically, initiate learning, and take responsibility for learning outcomes.

  1. Measures: leading class discussions; organizing a virtual guest appearance by an international speaker; producing written and verbal reflections on course-related activities; engaging in a group project (Assignments 1 & 3)

  2. Through class lectures and readings, students will master an understanding and appreciation of Area Studies librarianship in North American libraries and begin building a professional network in this field.

    • Measures: participating in projects related to Area Studies in North American libraries and creating resources in these areas; engaging in professional communication and collaboration Assignment 1).

  3. By gaining initial experience in establishing communication and building partnerships with professionals and organizations outside of North America, students will acquire the appreciation of cross-cultural communication in an international professional environment, develop cultural sensitivity, learn to suspend judgment and avoid applying North American standards to international settings, and begin to think globally rather than locally at the time of decision making

    • Measures: participating in international projects as part of the course assignment; creating resources for the international community; facilitating cross-cultural professional communication and implementing cross-cultural project management (Assignment 3).

  4. Through experiential projects and engagement with international organizations, students will contribute to the international LIS community.

    • Measures: as applicable to #1-3; writing policy briefs for potential publication (Assignments 2 & 3).


  • Introduction to the course. History of libraries & information as history of international cooperation. Creativity and theory-mindedness in international studies.

  • Introduction to Area Studies in the North American context: issues, scope, resources, cooperation, and collection building.

  • Selected Area Studies.

  • Global information flow and access. Cultural transnationalism. Libraries, other cultural institutions, and the state of information in the developing world: general trends, issues, and case studies.

  • Information policy around the world.

  • National and international associations and networks. Governmental organizations and NGOs.

  • Global LIS education, values, and ethics. Censorship and freedom of access around the world.

  • Basic literacy and media & information literacy around the world.

  • Information production around the world: publishing, copyright, knowledge exchange, and DRM.

  • Aboriginal culture and heritage preservation around the world: The role and involvement of LIS.

  • The role of LIS in working with children and youth around the world.

  • The state of libraries and information in selected countries.


Including but not limited to lectures, readings, student-led discussions, group projects, and guest speakers.

Course Relationships: 

Pre- or co-requisite: LIS 501 Foundations of Library and Information Studies (Required course).

Required Texts:

No required texts. Readings assigned on a weekly basis.

Assignments and Weighting:

  •  Assignment 1: 25%
  • Option A. Becoming an Area Studies librarian in North America.
  • Option B. Working as a librarian/information specialist in [country ABC]
  • Option C. Discuss with and secure approval from the course instructor (your initiative)
  • Assignment 2: 15% The Policy Brief
  • Assignment 3: 50% International Issues in the Spotlight: Aboriginal Culture & Heritage; Information Literacy; LIS Education; & Children & Youth
  • Class participation: 10%

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 here

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:

Audio or video recording, digital or otherwise, of lectures, labs, seminars or any other teaching environment by students is allowed only with the prior written consent of the instructor or as a part of an approved accommodation plan. Student or instructor content, digital or otherwise, created and/or used within the context of the course is to be used solely for personal study, and is not to be used or distributed for any other purpose without prior written consent from the content author(s).

Policy about course outlines can be found in Course Requirements, Evaluation Procedures and Grading of the University Calendar.