The book

This is where I post draft chapters of my book on international and comparative librarianship. The chapters are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  Ultimately the completed book is to be published by De Gruyter Saur. Suggestions and comments will be welcomed. I can be contacted at PeterJLor(at), or of course via comments on my blog posts.

For progress see the list below.

Chapters posted to date

  • Chapter 1 , From local to global: the expanding horizons of libraries and related information organizations (2016-06-29). This is an entirely rewritten draft of the old Chapter 1 (draft dated 2012-01-31).
  • Chapter 2 , A field of study and research (2016-07-11). This is an entirely rewritten draft of the old Chapter 2 (2012-02-06),.
  • Chapter 3,  Conceptual exploration (version 2016-11-21). Entirely new.
  • Chapter 4, Preparing for research: metatheoretical considerations (draft version 2017-01-11, extensively rewritten, replaces old Chapter 3)
  • Chapter 5, Methodology in comparative studies (draft version 2017-04-03, extensively rewritten, replaces old Chapter 4)
  • Chapter 6: Method: procedures, techniques, instruments (draft version 2017-05-12, extensively rewritten, replaces old Chapter 5)

The old Chapter 6 has been withdrawn. It will be replaced by a new chapter 9. Chapters 7 and 8 have been completed. Chapters 9 to 12 are in progress but at the request of my publisher no further chapters will be posted on this site.


At last, the end is in sight. The entire text, front matter and bibliography have been completed and submitted. I still have to finalize the index and obtain permissions for reproducing a few diagrams. Obtaining these permissions is time-consuming, and some copyright holders charge exorbitant fees for materials produced by authors long dead, and published many decades ago. One day I shall write up my experiences in a blog post. In the mean time, here is the draft Table of Contents of the book.

Presentation on IFLA and UNESCO published

My keynote paper, “ Past, present and future: The IFLA-UNESCO partnership for development, democracy and diversity”, presented at the UNESCO Open Session, “Learning from the past to shape our future – 65 years IFLA/UNESCO partnership”, at the 2012 IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Helsinki, Finland, Monday, 13 August 2012”, has in the mean time been published in IFLA journal, volume 38, no. 4, pp.269-282, with the title “The IFLA–UNESCO partnership 1947–2012”.

Ultimately much of this material will be incorporated in a later chapter of the book.

IFLA presentations August 2012

Not much progress with the book, I’m afraid. We are extending and renovating our cottage in Sedgefield, South Africa, which is where we have moved for retirement.  In between visits to hardware stores, tile emporia, carpet dealers etc., I’m having a good time doing lots of fascinating reading on the topics of my next chapters, which are concerned with the international spread or diffusion of ideas in LIS (Chapter 6, see below), and with colonial influences (Chapter 7).  At the present rate I will soon have enough material for a book on each of these…

I’m preparing a poster for the IFLA Congress (Helsinki, 12-16 August 2012) on “How LIS ideas travel internationally”. Here is  the Handout for IFLA poster August 2012. At the Congress I’ll also present a paper at Session 105 — International and comparative librarianship: toward valid, relevant and authentic research and education — jointly organized by the Library Theory and Research Section, the Section of, Education and Training and the LIS Education in Developing Countries Special Interest Group.  The session is scheduled for 13:45 on Monday 13 August. The paper is entitled “IFLA 2012 LTR-SET Session introduction PJ Lor“.  It is based on chapters 3, 4 and 5, but incorporates some new material and reflects a bit of rethinking.

Chapter 2: corrected version posted

I’ve posted the 3rd version of Chapter 2, dated 2012-02-06. It contains some relatively minor corrections and a few modest additions

Chapter 1 revised, two more in pipeline

I’ve posted the 4th version of Chapter 1, dated 2012-01-31. It contains some relatively minor corrections and a few modest additions. My paper versions of chapters 2 to 5 are heavily annotated. I’ll add updated versions from time to time.

I’m working on Chapter 6, ‘International influence and diffusion of ideas in LIS’, and Chapter 7, ‘Library development aid’. Progress is slow due to many distractions, and I’m reading widely, in cultural anthropology and the various literatures on diffusion of innovations — Rogers, of course, but many other disciplines are interested in ‘policy borrowing’ and the like. Fascinating stuff, but we in LIS have not made much use of it yet. (Please prove me wrong!)

Chapters 4 and 5 added

See above.

Chapter 3 added

Further cell division has taken place. My planned methodology chapter has become three. Chapter 3, now posted, deals with metatheory. Chapter 4 deals with methodology, and Chapter 5 with method in the more limited sense of procedures and techniques. Chapters 4 and 5 are in an advanced stage and I hope to post them soon.

I’ve experimented a bit with the presentation, using a landscape format and two columns per page, my theory being that 99% of all computer screens are in landscape format and that this allows you to use the full width of the screen and read a page at at a time without having to keep scrolling up and down. I’ve used 11pt Perpetua, which (I think) gives a legible printout. Comments and advice on this will be appreciated.

More important, however, is comment on the substance of the chapter. I look forward to comments and suggestions. In particular, I would welcome suggestions on more illustrative examples from the literature of comparative librarianship.

Chapter 2 added

Chapters 1 and 2 have morphed into chapters 1, 2 and 3.  I’ve posted chapter 2 as well as a revised version of chapter 1. The synopsis has also been updated, so I have posted a new version of the front matter. I’m working on chapter 3.

First installments

At long last I’ve posted the first installments of the book, which I have provisionally entitled International and comparative librarianship: a thematic approach. I’m making it available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

This license means that you are welcome to download this work and share it with others as long as you mention me and link back to me, but you can’t change the work in any way or use it commercially.

Click here for the title page, preface and synopsis, and here: Chapter 1 2012-01-31 for Chapter 1.

I look forward to comments.


7 Responses to The book

  1. patricecjakobsen says:

    Thank you very much for sharing these documents. I find your work straightforward and very comprehensive, making it an enjoyable reading as preparation for my Master thesis. Just one little thing I noticed: On page 15 of Chapter 4, on the third paragraph about the strategies for determining causation, the second choice should read “Most Different Systems Design” (MDSD). As it is, ‘Most Similar Systems Design” is stated on both choices.

  2. Pingback: Focus on Peter Lor, Standing Committee Member « Library Theory and Research (LTR) Blog

  3. Jolly Holly Shen says:

    Thank you. Very helpful. I enjoy Chapter 4: Methodology in comparative studies (draft version 2011-04-20). International and Comparative Librarianship. Retrieved from

    Jolly Holly Shen

  4. Thank you for this work. It is definitely needed.

  5. Abdelmajid Bouazza says:

    Thank you for your work. It is definitely the most relevant and comprehensive in the area.

    Abdelmajid Bouazza

  6. Pingback: Chapters 4, 5 and 6 | Peter Johan Lor

  7. Pingback: Rahvusvahelise ja võrdleva raamatukogunduse temaatiline lähenemine. Võrdlusuuringud raamatukogunduses. | E-raamatukogu ajaveeb

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