Chapter 7 – International Influence and Diffusion in Library and Information Services

At last! I have posted a draft of Chapter 7, “International influence and diffusion of ideas in LIS”.  This chapter first introduces the concept of diffusion, and gives an overview of the ground-breaking generalized model of the diffusion of innovations of Everett M. Rogers, also touching on some limitations of his model.

The application of diffusion theories in ICT and information systems, still heavily influenced by Rogers and employing newer, but largely Rogers-inspired models, is critically discussed. I then to turn to other disciplines where theory has been developed to understand the diffusion of more complex phenomena, referred to as lesson drawing, social learning, policy diffusion, policy borrowing, etc. Useful insights can be gained from applied fields in the social sciences such as public policy, public administration, social policy and social work, and particularly from comparative education, which has from its beginnings had a strong focus on policy borrowing. In a section presenting a “framework for transfer (diffusion) in LIS” I have tried to wrap up these various insights as they appear to me to be relevant and useful for our field. The final section, a long one, deals with LIS-related diffusion and influence in Europe. There is a great deal of material here, so I have had to be selective, looking at American influence on librarianship in Western Europe before WW2, American influence in occupied Germany and (briefly) Japan, American influence in Russia, the Soviet Union and its satellites, and the role of the European Union (and the Council of Europe) first in relation to integration in Western Europe and then in relation to the EU’s eastward enlargement. I conclude by listing some other spheres of influence worth investigating, but LIS-related diffusion and influence in the developing world will be dealt with in Chapter 8, “Library development aid and influence”, which is still in the pipeline. The bibliography for Chapter 7 currently includes 184 items. The Bibliography for Chapter 8 may well be longer. All this is taking a lot of time…

What about Chapter 6? Chapter 6 is missing due to an ongoing reorganization of the five introductory chapters. A new Chapter 3 will be added, so that the current chapters 3, 4, and 5 will become chapters 4,5 and 6 respectively. Watch this space (but don’t hold your breath).

About Peter Lor

Peter Johan Lor is a Netherlands-born South African librarian and academic. He is a part-time professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He also teaches a course in international and comparative librarianship at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA.
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