AbstractThis article argues that there are emerging new roles for academic librarians and that a more focused discussion on the theoretical foundations of Library and Information Science (LIS) will provide guidance for both the discipline and the profession. The analysis herein examines a possible theoretical foundation or framework for LIS from three perspectives: the philosophy of information, social epistemology, and cybersemiotics. The primary advocates of these three perspectives are L. Floridi, J. Shera, and S. Brier respectively. This analysis addresses three questions: how does each perspective view LIS?, can the perspectives clarify the relationship between librarianship and information science, and can one of these perspectives suggest how the profession of academic librarianship should transform itself to meet the demands of the scholar in the 21st century? The analysis will proceed along four dimensions: a) knowledge and information, b) the focus on society and the individual, c) the meaning and structure of information, and d) how a unifying framework of LIS might deal with the practice of librarianship.
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