Articles in this Issue
Developing an E-book as an Integrated Process Among 100 Academic Colleagues
Bulletin, December 2006/January 2007
Developing an E-Book as an Integrated process Among 100 Academic Colleagues
by Leif Kajberg
Leif Kajberg is affiliated with the Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark. He can be reached at lk<at>db.dk
Europe appears, in the eyes of an outsider, as a continent of supranational structures and organizational frameworks. And this observation is true since the ramifications of the European Union (EU) include the launch and maintenance of an array of collaborative programs and funding schemes with the ultimate purpose of promoting European integration and enhancing the cohesiveness of the EU. Hence, in Europe, our identity and self-image as academics and academic institutions and the way academics think about large-scale research funding, internationalization, defining answers to global challenges and initiation of cross-country contacts and projects are to a large extent rooted in the EU. Because of its massive funding schemes, the Union is a major player in European higher education and research, and its policy-making effects are discernible in most parts of Europe’s academic world. Thus, the EU has for many years exerted a major influence on higher education cross-border cooperation and the development of schemes for joint recognition of qualifications.
Over the years, the Union’s SOCRATES program, which covers education broadly, has been very visible and funded a lot of collaborative activities in this specific area. To exchange teachers and students, many European LIS schools rely on joint schemes such as ERASMUS, a component of the above-mentioned, multi-dimensional SOCRATES program, and NORDPLUS, a scheme for higher education institutions in the Nordic countries. Another “joint asset” in the university field is ERASMUS MUNDUS, which is a cooperation and mobility program in post-graduate higher education. It aims to promote the EU as a center of excellence in learning around the world, by recruiting high quality students from countries outside the European Union to register for Joint Masters Degrees.
The European LIS Education Scene: A Somewhat Tricky Affair
Unlike the North American library and information science (LIS) school world, which enjoys the benefit of a single language and an overarching consensus on the basic academic level and framework for the education of librarians and information specialists for the information professions, the European LIS academic community – if such a phrase can be justified – has to cope with widely disparate educational structures, practices and traditions. In Europe, there is a joint forum for European LIS schools: EUCLID (the European Association for Library and Information Education and Research). Its basic purpose is to promote links and cooperation between LIS schools and LIS educators in Europe. EUCLID has organized joint seminars on LIS education topics, and for several years there has been a marked interest in curriculum development issues within the association. EUCLID’s concern with the convergence of LIS educational programs and the contents of LIS curricula in European countries culminated in the completion in 2005 of the European LIS Curriculum Project to be presented and discussed here. The report of this project, European Curriculum Reflections on Library and Information Science Education, is available free-of-charge in English as an e-book at biblis.db.dk/uhtbin/hyperion.exe/db.leikaj05
A bird’s-eye perspective on European LIS education programs reveals a multiplicity of national educational systems and traditions that clearly affect the LIS education scene: diversity of traditions, program structures, levels, course lengths, placements, thematic profiles of curricula, forms of teaching and assessment, and other factors tends to be the norm. Clearly, this state of affairs hampers transparency. Add to this confusion that accreditation of LIS programs as done by the American Library Association (ALA) in the United States, if undertaken at all, follows a different pattern in Europe. A 2005 editorial on LIS and the Creation of a European Educational Space in the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science by Ragnar Audunson is very illustrative of this point. If done at all, the process normally relies on national-level accreditation bodies and mechanisms. There are, as the situation looks now, no institutionalized and recognized European-level accreditation and quality assurance procedures for LIS educational programs.
But in some sense one could argue that Europe’s cultural diversity and the variety of national educational traditions, program structures and curricular emphases – heterogeneous and disparate as they may appear – represent a valuable resource in European and international cooperation. Clearly, the diversity and richness of cultures, local teaching and learning styles, bodies of expertise and research constitute a resource in cross-country idea exchange and knowledge sharing. Teachers, researchers and students can get acquainted with and learn to appreciate cultures, traditions and bodies of knowledge different from those they are used to at home (the intercultural dimension). It is easy to justify the value of the geographical, cultural, historical, cognitive and other “flavors” represented by differing paradigms and approaches to teaching and research in LIS field. In other words, the various academic traditions and the different approaches to defining the contents of LIS courses should also be viewed as a significant asset. It follows that this view is also true for the multilingual and multicultural dimensions.
A range of conferences and seminars arranged in recent years has provided interesting evidence on the existence of the cultural pluralism pervading LIS education throughout Europe. Overall, there is a rich diversity of curricular traditions and domain-specific orientations. In Italy, for instance, LIS education is influenced by the prominence and historical significance of cultural heritage as a discipline. A typical feature of some of the Scandinavian schools is their adherence to a cultural and literary knowledge base as part of the LIS curriculum with the result that subjects such as culture and media studies, adult fiction and children’s books have for many years occupied a firm place in LIS-specific curricula. It is argued, in various ways, that LIS-specific course content, by itself, is not sufficient but must be joined by knowledge about the contents of materials and media formats. The other end of the spectrum includes the British LIS education scene, where a breakaway from the concept of core curriculum in a rigid sense can be observed. In Britain, courses for the preparation of LIS specialists are increasingly modularized with room for the teaching of transferable skills and with a strong marketplace orientation. As in other parts of the world, the interfaces and interactions among archives and libraries and records management increasingly find their way into the curricula of some LIS schools such as those in Germany and Portugal. In other schools, for example those in Scandinavia, museums and the keeping, “processing,” conservation and mediation of the objects of “memory institutions,” including the digitization and communication of cultural heritage, are increasingly gaining ground in LIS course offerings.
On the other hand, it cannot be denied that structural obstacles and the readily apparent incongruencies of program structures and levels as well as the confusion about what actually constitutes the core of LIS present obvious difficulties to intentions of working together and organizing joint programs. They complicate the pursuit of the objectives of the Bologna Process (see Leif Lørring’s article in this special section), which encourages joint efforts oriented toward the development of joint master’s courses, typically offered in English. For instance, a simple thing such as semester structure – the different dates of starting and ending courses in different parts of the world – presents an impediment to collaboration among LIS schools in Europe and worldwide. Also, in some, but relatively few European countries, the 3 + 2 + 3 overarching academic cycle (undergraduate, graduate and PhD) has gradually replaced a more conventional practice-oriented and profession-centered LIS education prototype, typically of four years’ duration, that includes more or less comprehensive elements of practical training. In other European countries, LIS-specific education is provided either by university departments or by “profession schools” with considerably differing curricula. In yet other countries, there are examples of very practice-oriented courses still emphasizing the apprenticeship approach and with the theoretical elements of the curriculum offered as course units and modules of varying duration.
Another problem to be confronted in addressing European LIS education is the issue of geographical boundaries. A well-known dilemma and definitional problem arises when you set out to systematically survey or do studies and research about Europe-specific matters and issues. What is Europe by the way, and what should be covered from the perspective of academic cooperation and exchange? What actually constitutes European LIS and European LIS education?
As a project we were faced with this issue of selection from a geographical perspective when we had to identify and decide about the survey population of European LIS academic institutions at the outset of the European LIS Curriculum Project. (This survey is reported in Chapter 13 of European Curriculum Reflections on Library and Information Science Education. Also see Leif Lørring’s article in this section.) What countries should be included? The Balkan countries, yes. Many Scandinavian, Western Europe and North American schools in our field maintain rather close relations with LIS educators and researchers in this part of Europe. But what about Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Russia, Turkey and the Ukraine? Turkey, for instance, although not a EU member state yet, participates in the SOCRATES program. Georgia seems, for the time being, to firmly orient herself towards Europe, the western world and future entry into the European Union. Other countries – Albania and even Luxemburg at the heart of Europe, for instance – are so small that one might overlook them in a LIS educational context. Malta, an EU member state since 2004, is also very small, but the University of Malta houses a Division of Library and Information Studies that is a member of EUCLID.
Clearly there could be a problem with Russia and the former Soviet republics, today sovereign states, in that outside these countries very little is known about their LIS academic institutions, faculties, programs, academic status, curricular emphases and research. However, contacts do exist, initiated and maintained chiefly by a few dedicated LIS educators. An example of such a contact is that with the Kharkiv State Academy of Culture, Faculty of Library and Information Science in the Ukraine, which has for quite a few years been a member of EUCLID.
But some of these countries outside the EU seem to be at the outer fringes of the Europe of academic cooperation although schemes of collaboration and funding, such as the EU’s TEMPUS program, have been set up. TEMPUS can be seen as an incentive for networking and joint projects between university departments and other entities in the EU member countries (that is, Western and East and Central Europe) and academic units in the former Soviet republics, South East Europe, the southern Mediterranean countries and Mongolia. As the situation is now, within the international LIS education community fairly little is known about these countries and what they have to offer in terms of professional ideals and values of librarianship as well as LIS educational targets and curricula.
Europe has not witnessed an i-schools movement like that in the United States with an insistence on a discipline emphasizing pure information science, information management, information systems, information technology and similar areas. The American debate on information versus library – see for instance Blaise Cronin’s 2005 “Letter from America: An I-dentity Crisis? The Information Schools Movement” in the International Journal of Information Management – has no parallel in Europe. This observation is not to say that voices addressing this bifurcation and polarity issue are not heard in Europe. The profession and schools in some countries in this part of the world have in fact presented their views and arguments in this type of discussion (for example, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to some degree). You can, for instance, and this is notably the case in France, find academic institutions that traditionally orient themselves strongly toward the concepts of document and documentation science in the theoretical underpinning of librarianship and information systems and services. Similarly, the Department of Documentation Studies at the University of Tromsø in Norway sees itself as an academic unit concerned with documentation science, emphasizing the scholarly concern with the entity of the document. Other schools have adopted more trendy labels such as “knowledge management,” “information sciences” or “information and communication studies,” and the inspiration from the business school environments is discernible in some places such as Holland and the United Kingdom.
From Thessaloniki to Potsdam: The European Curriculum Discussion
Within the European LIS educational community and EUCLID there has been a growing interest in discussions on the comparability and equivalence of LIS qualifications throughout Europe and ways of strengthening the collaborative links among European LIS academic institutions. Three recent events mark the concern with joint approaches to curriculum development and issues in internationalizing LIS studies:
the international seminar on “Internationalization in Library and Information Studies” in Parma (2002);
the EUCLID Conference on “Restructuring and Adapting LIS Education to European Standards” in Thessaloniki (2002); and
the meeting on “Coping with Continual Change – Change Management in Schools of Library and Information Science” organized jointly by EUCLID and its North American counterpart ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) with Michael Gorman as keynote speaker in Potsdam (2003). The conference proceedings, Coping with Continual Change – Change Management in SLIS, edited by Linda Ashcroft, appeared in 2005.
In Thessaloniki there were weighty discussions on the need to implement the intentions of the Bologna Declaration in the field of LIS education. For instance, I remember a few LIS-school colleagues arguing very strongly against transforming LIS courses from the classic four-year practice-oriented program to the more purely academic 3-2-3 (bachelor – master – PhD) structure called for by the Bologna Declaration. And I remember a paper, slightly resigned in tone, describing attempts to enhance student mobility among the European countries without success. On the other hand, a lot of colleagues argued the opposite way, making clear that European academic institutions were just at the beginning stage of the Bologna Process and that patience might be required. Needed, also, was a general perspective on LIS education in Europe and an analysis of our educational discipline. In many ways I think that the discussions and the views articulated at that time were based on at least two different assumptions or attitudes:
a stance based on the tradition of the library system and LIS educational delivery format within each single country or nation state and
a position based on the potential need for improving the national library system by cooperating internationally.
The EUCLID Board strongly supported a proposal from the Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark (RSLIS), that a joint project proposal should be formulated and an application for project funds should be handed in to the EU within the framework of the SOCRATES program. But during these conferences it became clear that the thinking underlying the structure and contents of LIS courses varied quite considerably among the different types of LIS education providers in Europe, which include many fairly small academic environments. Together with a variety of published articles and papers presented at other meetings, these conferences focused attention on the theoretical foundations of LIS education.
A rich diversity of ideas and views – theoretical and analytical pieces as well as examples of good practice – have been presented at conferences and meetings and disseminated through journals and newsletters within the discipline. But the national or institutional perspective has been dominant, while attempts at taking a broader European approach to the diversity of national educational programs and the problems and challenges facing European LIS education programs and the institutions preparing the European LIS professionals of the future have been scarce. What seemed to be lacking was a structured discussion of the LIS curriculum in a joint European context in light of the ongoing Bologna Process.
Development of the Project Idea
Thus, the idea behind the project leading to the European LIS curriculum e-book goes back to the excellent and very constructive EUCLID conference in Thessaloniki 2002 and to the follow-up conference arranged jointly by EUCLID and ALISE in Potsdam 2003. As an initial effort to systematically address the above situation of inconsistency and heterogeneity and to initiate joint discussion of the structure and contents of European LIS school curricula, it seemed obvious to bring European LIS school representatives and LIS teaching academics together to enable them to discuss the issues with each other both in a virtual mode and conventionally face-to-face. The project would address convergence of and collaboration between European LIS educational programs and look at the concept of a core curriculum for LIS studies from a European perspective.
Aims and Objectives
The aim of this project was to organize a working seminar for representatives of LIS schools in Europe. The theme of the seminar was formulated as follows: “Library & Information Science Education in Europe: Issues in Joint Curriculum Development and Bologna Perspectives.”
Concrete objectives of the project (short-term):
To explore issues in and ways of adapting LIS courses to the requirements as set out in the Bologna Declaration
To examine the idea and relevance of a core curriculum in the context of European LIS education
To review the current state of curriculum development in LIS schools throughout Europe
To identify opportunities for enhanced networking and collaboration in the field of LIS education in Europe.
Wider objectives of the project (long-term):
To make the European dimension and diversity visible in national LIS education programs throughout Europe
To encourage individual LIS schools to reflect on the concept of a core curriculum and juxtapose it with existing institutional LIS curricula
To encourage cross-country network building among LIS teaching and research academics in Europe
To create better possibilities for European student and teacher mobility
To increase the scale of mobility and inter-institutional collaboration together with the volume of individual student and staff exchanges
To develop a common conceptual framework for defining core elements within the LIS curriculum as a basis for enhancing mobility flows and accelerating the Bologna Process
To work toward greater flexibility, transparency and comparability of curricula
To strengthen and enhance the activities of EUCLID, the existing European association in the field
To provide a solid ground for discussions in workshops at the conference, a student assistant was hired to make an inventory of existing LIS schools and their curricula in Europe, the results of which would be made available to seminar participants upon arrival at the seminar site. LIS educational institutions, heads of LIS schools, LIS educators and administrators, LIS academics involved in curriculum development as well as LIS academics concerned with internationalization of courses and student mobility were identified as the main target audiences of the project.
The Project Partnership
RSLIS, Denmark, served as the contracting and coordinating institution of the project. Six partner institutions were involved in the planning and running of the project:
University of Barcelona, Faculty of Librarianship and Documentation, Barcelona, Spain
Hanzehogeschool Groningen, School for Information and Communication, Groningen, the Netherlands
City University London, Department of Information Science
Oslo University College, Faculty of Journalism, Library and Information Science, Oslo, Norway
Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, Department of Information Sciences, Potsdam, Germany
The University of Vilnius, Faculty of Communication, Institute of Library and Information Science, Vilnius, Lithuania
In addition, the LIS Education in Europe project was backed by EUCLID. The project was to be conducted in close cooperation with EUCLID’s Board. An application for funds was submitted to EU’S SOCRATES program in late September 2003. The application was successful, and together with the EUCLID Board, RSLIS set up a steering group comprising mainly EUCLID Board members and two representatives of RSLIS, which served as the coordinator and contractor.
Twelve Expert Groups in Action
At the pre-seminar stage, 12 virtual (groupware-based) discussion groups were formed (June 2004). Each group was asked to explore a specific LIS curricular theme and submit a brief report on its work. Thus, the material generated for the final electronic publication represents a synthesis of the electronic discussion among some 150 European LIS educators during more than six months (January-August 2005). The project steering group handpicked 12 LIS curricular experts as group leaders. This was not an easy exercise, and unfortunately our group did not succeed in ensuring a broad representation of LIS educators from all parts of Europe in all workshop groups. But overall, it has been a pleasure, and quite impressive as well, to see how enthusiastically the virtual groups have been exchanging views and ideas.
Hundreds of dialogues were conducted as a part of this cross-European virtual communication phase. Some groups have been relying heavily on the facilities of the groupware package SiteScape for group interaction. A few groups were active for quite a long time, boasting a high level of activity. A couple of groups even continued exchanging views and ideas after the “face-to-face” seminar held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August 2005. In this way, participants actively relied on the virtual communication networks in the concluding phase of preparing the group’s contribution to the book. The virtual phase started in February 2005, and though Leif Lørring and I were a bit skeptical about the whole process, we must admit that at least as measured in figures, this virtual part of our European project must be characterized as a success:
More than 550 written contributions to the discussions
About 100 different authors of written messages and responses
About 2,500 log-ins.
Managing this complicated process presupposed that the content of the activity was extremely focused and controlled by a steering group composed of the EUCLID Board members plus Leif Lørring and me.
The two-day European LIS academic experts’ seminar in Copenhagen mid-August 2005 was based on the work performed by the groups set up with the major task of providing input for continuing to finalize the group work during the two-day seminar. The workshop groups, operating virtually in the pre-seminar phase, would include a core of four members, all experts from the European LIS education community. In selecting and nominating the four expert members of each workshop group, academic excellence in one of the 12 fields of activity covered by the groups was a basic criterion to be met. In composing the workshop groups, attention was given to providing a mix of highly merited senior experts and young, dynamic academics. Geographic representation and European breadth had to be provided as well. A workshop leader/moderator was appointed for each group. The four experts constituting “the core” of each of the 12 workshop groups, including the workshop group leader, would automatically qualify for participating in the experts’ seminar in Copenhagen in mid-August 2005.
To ensure wide involvement of LIS teaching academics throughout Europe, the steering group encouraged the virtual workshops to expand on their own so as to include additional corresponding members from all over Europe. At the outset of the project it was envisaged that these “virtual discussion groups” would have at least 8-10 members and perhaps more. Unlike the fixed number of core members of the workshop groups no limit would be set on the number of registrations for the initial virtual workshop group sequences. The 12 workshops spanned a variety of LIS themes of relevance to LIS school curricula. The headings under which the theme-based groups operated appear in the sidebar.
Workshop Theme Headings
Theme 1: (Meta-level) LIS curriculum in general. Workshop group leader: Anna Maria Tammaro (University of Parma, Italy)
Theme 2: Cultural heritage and digitization of the cultural heritage. Workshop group leader: Zinaida Manzuch (Vilnius University, Lithuania)
Theme 3: Information literacy and learning. Workshop group leader: Sirje Virkus (Tallin, Estonia)
Theme 4: Information seeking and information retrieval. Workshop group leader: David Bawden (City University London, UK)
Theme 5: The information society: Barriers to the free access to information. Workshop group leader: Aleksandra Vranes (Belgrade University, Belgrade, Serbia)
Theme 6: Knowledge management. Workshop group leader: Gunilla Widén-Wulff (Åbo Akademi, University, Finland)
Theme 7: Knowledge organization. Workshop group leader: Birger Hjørland (Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark)
Theme 8: The library in the multi-cultural information society: International and intercultural communication. Workshop group leader: Ragnar Audunson (Oslo, Norway)
Theme 9: Library and society in a historical perspective. Workshop group leader: Ilkka Mäkinen (Tampere, Finland)
Theme 10: Mediation of culture in a European context. Workshop group leader: Anders Frenander, University College Borås, Sweden
Theme 11: Practice and theory: Placements and practical training in libraries and other information agencies. Workshop group leader: Gerda van der Molen (Groningen, the Netherlands)
Theme 12: Library management and promotion. Workshop group leader: Ramune Petuchovaite (Vilnius University, Lithuania)
The workshop themes agreed on by the project steering group were defined so as to match or be largely representative of mainstream course areas or subjects as they appear in catalogues and syllabi of many LIS schools in European countries. To help the 12 workshop group leaders initiate and structure the virtual discussions in their groups, group leaders were advised to briefly present the theme defined for the workshop to group members together with his or her initial reflections on the theme. Further, group/discussion leaders were presented with a set of questions to be considered by the group members:
Different aspects of and perspectives on the theme of the workshop (i.e., the chapter in the final book)
The European dimension
Core concepts and conceptual frameworks
The place in the LIS school curriculum: Compulsory or optional?
The theme in the context of the international universe of the LIS discipline
European theme or not? Is the theme essential for all LIS educational programs in Europe?
Should the theme be a part of a European LIS core curriculum?
Different theoretical and curricular approaches to the theme in various parts of the European LIS education world? Different views on the theme and its components in different parts of Europe?
Workshop groups were encouraged to examine topics adjacent to those that were to be addressed by the groups. Overall, the idea was to facilitate the interaction of workshop groups through the exchange of information and views from current group discussions on interrelated LIS areas covered by different workshop groups. In mid-August 2005, the 47 European LIS educational experts convened physically at RSLIS in Copenhagen, Denmark, to do the toughest part of the job: finalize their group chapter for the final e-book. Clearly, an intercultural dimension was discernible in the intensive group activity throughout the seminar. Michael Gorman was invited as closing keynote speaker.
The European LIS School Study
Part of the project was to carry out a "fact-finding exercise" (a questionnaire-based survey designed to gather information on Europe’s LIS schools). A project assistant did the survey. The European LIS academic institutions to be surveyed were identified by means of existing lists and directories. Further, information on the existence of schools was gathered by contacting some of our workshop group leaders. Quite a lot of effort had to be spent on identifying schools and on generating the list of LIS schools to be sent the questionnaire. Various lists of LIS schools exist, but their coverage of LIS academic institutions in European countries is incomplete. In defining the survey population, the classic question of which countries in Europe were to be included in the LIS schools survey also had to be faced. Obviously all EU countries would be relevant here as well as EES and candidate countries, but a limit had to be fixed. The report produced on this subproject provides an overview of courses, curricular structures, resources, student enrollments and similar items in condensed statistical format.
The Uniqueness of the Project
In many ways the project developed a new model of running an analytically based collective process in a multi-cultural environment and a new approach to conducting conferences. The project curriculum-expert discussion sequences can be viewed as innovative not least in the sense that they required the involved LIS education experts to work actively throughout the sequences. No doubt, the structured approach characterizing the way the seminar and the preceding electronic or virtual discussion were organized, with emphasis on workshops with participants having to examine a set of predefined issues and come up with reports in a pre-specified format, can be said to have made a difference. There have been quite a few conferences and seminars in European LIS education over the years, but the structured and strongly outcomes-oriented approach used here has generally been lacking. Typically, the program of such meetings has been compiled on the basis of a call for papers. This rather conventional approach has left the initiative with those sending in proposals for papers. In our case there was no call for papers. Instead, participants were required to prepare a piece of collective work during the conference within a tight thematic context and according to a set of guidelines specified by the organizers.
The Purpose of Group Discussions: The E-book
The major visible long-term product of the European LIS Curriculum Project is the electronic book that was published in December 2005. This publication covers a breadth of ideas and viewpoints from many different LIS educational environments and library systems in Europe. In this way, the 12 subject-specific chapters developed for the book stand out as the result of a quite unique collective process. It is the first time that curriculum development issues within European LIS education have been explored in that systematic way. To sum up: The preparation of the curriculum analytic book started in February 2005, and it appeared 10 months later, which is quite impressive. European Curriculum Reflections on Library and Information Science Education is accessible at biblis.db.dk/uhtbin/hyperion.exe/db.leikaj05.
The final e-book was presented at a special session at the BOBCATSSS Conference in Tallinn on January 31, 2006. Leif Lørring, rector of RSLIS and project leader, presented the book and its contents, and two opponents provided their views on the e-book. In addition, comments were provided by members of the audience. Our impression is that European Curriculum Reflections has generated interest and recognition from LIS educators in several parts of the world. Thus, in pointing to the significance of this analytical review in an e-mail message, an American colleague told me, “It's like a Magna Carta of LIS education.”
Because of the need to continue the curricular discussions and stimulating convergence, we will need formal cooperation and consolidated partnerships among European LIS academic institutions and future joint initiatives. In this respect, formalized collaborative structures and communication mechanisms such as thematic networks, technical communication infrastructures and regular meetings – physical or virtual – seem imperative. Virtual conferences and other Web-based communication packages furthering interpersonal communication, either formal or informal, between European LIS school academics are fine, but why not think more largely and more ambitiously and go for more far-reaching solutions? The programs, schemes and structures are out there, and the Bologna Process is our ideological clue. Thus, there is work to be done, within EUCLID, at individual schools and within national contexts (for example, Konferenz der Informatorischen und Bibliothekarischen Ausbildungseinrichtungen (KIBA) in Germany, which is an umbrella forum for German LIS academic institutions, and the British Association for Information and Library Education and Research (BAILER)). A major challenge is to develop a set of common goals and joint policies for European LIS school activities and collaborative structures. During this process the European LIS community should keep an open eye toward international developments in our field and maintain contacts to and draw upon inspiration from, among others, ALISE and other North American colleagues.