Are we a profession? Emilia Bell answers

by | Sep 1, 2022 | AreWeAProfession | 0 comments

Are we a profession? 

The first answer comes from Emilia Bell, Coordinator (Evidence Based Practice) at the University of Southern Queensland

Is it fitting that we currently call Library and Information Science (LIS) in Australia a profession? Yes, but doing so means engaging with new knowledge which does require sustaining research in future practice.

In understanding ‘professions’ to be grounded in ethical standards and specialised knowledge, research remains a valuable and necessary contribution to the LIS professions’ knowledge base and practice. Our professional expertise and judgments should build on professional ethics and knowledge, with knowledge being acquired, created, and applied through various processes, research being one.

perhaps engagement with new knowledge should guide our understanding of whether we have a profession

Juznic and Urbanija (2003) recognise that “research is needed to create new knowledge”. Undertaking research is vital in contributing to our professional knowledge base, and should be “published, shared, questioned, and debated” (Howard, 2022). For this, perhaps engagement with new knowledge should guide our understanding of whether we have a profession. This still presents an imperative to engage with research processes for knowledge creation, but also captures coinciding methods of inquiry and knowing (McGregor, 2021) that may inspire future research directions as a profession and a discipline.

Many overlapping processes (including research, evidence-based practice, and reflection) allow us to engage with our professional ethics and values, taking them beyond aspirational to being realised in practice (Young, 2020). Positioning ‘knowledge’ as a basis for the profession highlights other processes of inquiry, such as critical reflection, that help support the application of knowledge and ethics to practice. This requires we are deriving new knowledge from research while acknowledging those other processes that I hope will facilitate curiosity and interest in ‘doing research’ and going beyond routine as a profession.

Howard, K. (2022, August 28). Are we a profession? ALIA LARK.

Juznic, P., & Urbanija, J. (2003). Developing research skills in library and information science studies. Library Management, 24(6/7), 324-331.

McGregor, R. (2021, November 6). Reflective practice. Is this the library?.

Young, S. W. H. (2020). On ethical assessment: Locating and applying the core values of Library and Information Science. Library Assessment Conference.


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