Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library and Information Science

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9780810851658: Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library and Information Science
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Reveals how practitioners, consultants, and faculty can derive theories from actual experience and use such theories in solving real world problems. Bill Crowley explores why theory, in particular theory developed by university and college faculty, is too little used in the off-campus world. The volume examines the importance of solving the theory irrelevance problem, and drawing on a broad spectrum of research and theoretical insights, it provides suggestions for overcoming the not-so-hidden secret of the academic world - why theory with little or no perceived relevance to off-campus environments can be absolutely essential to advancing faculty careers. It also addresses the implications for theory development of fundamental aspects of the American culture and economy, including: the American ambivalence towards intellectuals, the rise in the "theory-unfriendly" environments of for-profit educational institutions, and public demands for enhanced accountability.

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About the Author:

Bill Crowley is a Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois.

Review:

...essential reading for LIS professionals interested in producing research and theory that are truly useful. (JASIST (Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology), February 2007)

Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library & Information Science, by Bill Crowley, is an analysis of the reasons why 'faculty-generated scholarship' is often irrelevant, seldom applied, or sometimes unacknowledged by practitioners. The author discusses this 'gap' between theoretical and pragmatic worlds from the points of view of practitioners and academics, as well as others outside of campus boundaries....The analyses and references will be useful for those conducting research in this area...... (Info Career Trends)

Crowley's down-to-earth writing style and his ideas are easy to comprehend and persuasive. If LIS faculty take his arguments seriously, they will be motivated to begin (or to continue) to translate their theoretical work into terms understood by practitioners. Practitioners who read his book will better understand the intellectual and social environment in which LIS faculty work and, I would hope, make greater effort to understand LIS faculty theory....Bill Crowley has written a book that will inform many and have a useful impact on the development of theory that improves library practice. Indeed, by studying his analysis and arguments, educators and practitioners in all professions will understand better both the divide between theory and practice in their fields and a philosophy that will help them bridge that gap. (portal: Libraries and the Academy)

The two major strengths of Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library & Information Science are that (1) the work addresses an important area of disconnect in the discipline and the profession and (2) the discussion is supported by the presentation of broader philosophical and theoretical principles that have defined a range of disciplines. In addition, Crowley's inclusion of examples and analogies from his professional life and the analysis of issues from a variety of disciplines provides for an interesting and timely publication... (College & Research Libraries)

With so much of today's LIS literature devoted to the implementation of technology and its impact, it is refreshing to see this single-authored monograph solely devoted to promoting the value of theory in our profession....the book reflects an amazing depth of professional experience...highly recommended. (Journal of Academic Librarianship)

Library educator Bill Crowley examines why there has been a gulf between theory and practice in librarianship. In Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library and Information Science, Crowley explains how practitioners as well as faculty can use theories derived from actual experience to solve real-world problems. He also considers why theory developed by academics is often overlooked by practitioners and addresses American ambivalence toward intellectuals. (American Libraries)

Crowley's pragmatic analysis has three basic purposes: to show why theory developed in academia is too little used off campus; to explore why it's in the interests of library faculty members, consultants, and practitioners to change this; and to provide suggestions for making academic theory and research more useful in nonacademic environments. He also addresses a primary roadblock to change - why theory that has little or no perceived relevance outside academe can be essential to career advancement in university contexts. It's a work, he writes, without villains; he notes that there are long-standing and understandable reasons for the mismatch between the imperatives of research and the needs of practice. He seeks not to close the divide, but to identify ways to bridge it. (Reference and Research Book News)

Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library & Information Science, by Bill Crowley, is an analysis of the reasons why 'faculty-generated scholarship' is often irrelevant, seldom applied, or sometimes unacknowledged by practitioners. The author discusses this 'gap' between theoretical and pragmatic worlds from the points of view of practitioners and academics, as well as others outside of campus boundaries....The analyses and references will be useful for those conducting research in this area... (Info Career Trends)

The two major strengths of Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library & Information Science are that (1) the work addresses an important area of disconnect in the discipline and the profession and (2) the discussion is supported by the presentation of broader philosophical and theoretical principles that have defined a range of disciplines. In addition, Crowley's inclusion of examples and analogies from his professional life and the analysis of issues from a variety of disciplines provides for an interesting and timely publication. (College & Research Libraries)

Crowley is well-qualified to discuss the division between practitioner and scholar....I enjoyed reading Spanning the Theory-Practice Divide in Library and Information Science and reflecting on Crowley's ideas....I hope that library educators and researchers consider using this approach in their works. (Information Today)

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