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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Spring 2012

Book Reviews

Introduction to Information Science and Technology

Rebeca Befus
Mathematics Librarian
Michigan State University Libraries
East Lansing, Michigan

Copyright 2012, Rebeca Befus. Used with permission.


Introduction to Information Science and Technology. Charles H. Davis and Debora Shaw eds. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc, 2011. ISBN 978-1-57387-423-6. $59.50

Introduction to Information Science and Technology, edited by Charles H. Davis and Debora Shaw, provides a very clearly worded text a very clearly worded text introducing readers to concepts in information science and technology. The book also offers readers background information and theoretical foundations for many of the topics presented. Davis and Shaw edited this book from information compiled on an American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Wiki from over 80 contributors. This book was written with the desire to provide a brief introductory overview of the information science profession. As such, many topics are covered, but not in enough detail to offer more than a cursory view into the topic. The strength of the book is its readability. Although the content may be targeted at students in introductory courses on information science and technology, librarians or information science professionals unfamiliar with topics covered in this work may find it helpful as a refresher text.

Introduction to Information Science and Technology consists of 14 chapters. Chapters one and two provide an introduction to information science, including definitions and a history of the profession. Chapter two also presents differences between librarianship and information science, which is short but interesting. The next three chapters are about what comprises "information." Chapter three provides a brief discussion on information-seeking behavior, with a good list of information-seeking models. Digital literacy is touched on very briefly. Chapters four and five cover abstracts, indexing, classification, vocabularies, and metadata. Readers interested in more detailed discussions of these topics may wish to read The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden (Information Today, 2010). Chapter six covers computers and network systems -- this is a chapter that may be of interest to librarians wishing to gain a brief overview of the application of these tools for librarians. The chapter also includes a small section on Cloud Computing, which is timely. Chapters seven, eight, and nine discuss systems more in-depth. Together, these chapters provide an introduction to the structure, application, and evaluation of information systems. Chapter nine also includes a section on human-computer interaction and usability evaluation techniques. This discussion could be helpful to anyone wanting to evaluate a web site's usability, an important task in libraries where the web site is the portal for most of the patron's information needs. Chapter ten includes interesting information on "Social Informatics." Chapter eleven provides a good introduction to biblionetrics and webmetrics to anyone who might be curious about citation analysis or link analysis. Chapter twelve is a guide to information policy and addresses the topic of copyrights in a distilled and simplistic form. The final two chapters cover information science as a profession. Chapter fourteen, in particular, seems to be better suited for the beginning of the book, as it describes foundational theory of the profession. Davis and Shaw provide a simple glossary at the end of their book, as well as an index. The index is thorough and well organized, making topics easy to find.

Charles H. Davis earned a Ph.D. in Information Science and Debora Shaw holds a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science. Both work at Indiana University and have been past ASIS&T presidents. Their collaboration has clearly created a work well suited for students. This book may be valuable for introductory courses in programs that include an information science major or concentration, rather than a Library Science Program. However, this text does not serve as a guide for looking at careers in information science. I successfully used chapters of this text to help create the framework for a brief course on information for freshman students because of its readability and general, overview style of presenting the content.

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