Library Scientists

In a recent Thread, a list of different people who are legitimate scientists was included.

On this list was “Library Scientist”.

Hmmm…how does a Library Scientist differ from a Librarian?

That was a list of catagories on wikipedia under “scientists”, not a list of scientists.

Poorly phrased, I concede.

Library science is the study of useful categorization.

I know what the context of this other thread was, but the academic field studied by future librarians is called “Library Science” or “Library and Information Science”. Most professional librarians hold a Master’s degree in Library [and Information] Science, aka an MLS/MLIS. At some schools (including my alma mater) the field is called Library [and Information] Studies instead, but “Science” is more common.

I can’t off the top of my head remember hearing anyone use the term “library scientist” before, but maybe it was/is more common in some other place or time. It certainly sounds to me like it would be the same thing as a librarian. I would never refer to myself as a library scientist though, not unless I were trying to be funny.

There are people who get PhDs in library science. As I understand it, they study the theoretical underpinnings of the field of library science as practiced primarily by masters-level librarians and more conceptual and social aspects of the categorization of information. That’s what I’d think of as a library scientist.

It’s the same thing as a librarian. Some schools have actually phased out the “l” word in the school title - they’re all the same, though - you come out with a masters’ degree that’s the prerequisite degree to being a librarian. Unless you get your doctorate in it, and then you’re a moron with a doctorate in library science.

I think the same way that a Computer Scientist differs from a Programmer - they are pretty much the same but one term emphasizes theory and the other term emphasizes practice. In real life, a programmer is really (IS A, for the programmers here) a computer scientist (or else how would he know what he was doing?)

Mutatis mutantis, a librarian is someone who manages, classifies, and organizes knowledge. In order to do this, they have to be a Library Scientist or else their classifications would be ad-hoc and illogical.

Note that being a scientist doesn’t necessarily imply a terminal degree or even any degree at all, just education.

Disagree here. Programmers are to Computer Scientists as EET’s are to EE’s.

There is a difference between a true computer scientist and a programmer, although it is possible to get a degree in Computer Science and not be a computer scientist. I have often said as a joke that any field that has to include “science” in its name is not really a science. I say this as someone with a degree in Computer Science (University of Michigan, 1979). In my training, we were taught the foundational theory of computer hardware and software, but never did anything that you think of scientists doing–developing theories and hypotheses, conducting experiements, etc. I am sure that there are bona fide computer scientists who do these things, perhaps people doing research in quantum computing. Many programmers style themselves as “software engineers” which I think is a more apt term for practitioners than “computer scientist.”

Oh, sorry, I just realized this thread is about library science.

There’s really no distinction between librarian library scientist. A librarian, bibliographer, or library school professor isn’t a scientist, unless s/he holds concurrent qualifications in some scientific field. Professors in the school are not necessarily librarians, and you do get some interesting crossovers. The Dean of my school was a mathematician and the longest sitting Dean of the University, so on Graduation Day we marched in front. Note that, AFAIK, the term “library scientist” is never used by those in the field, although “library science” does appear in the titles of degrees and may be used in the literature.

As we usually use the term “science” today, there’s no such thing as library science. What science there is in connection with libraries and library methods comes from other fields like information science, or occasionally computer science (itself not necessarily a science) and math. On the other hand, the Latin root of the word science is scire–“to know”. As the word science was introduced into English, its usage was more inclusive than today, and could mean any body of knowledge. So if you were an experienced scholar of ethics, you could be a morals scientist. “Scientist”, my OED tells me, came into the language much later, and has always been used in a way that is closer to how we understand the word today, so the term “library scientist” were used by anyone, it would be less defensible.

After retirement I worked about four years as an employee and as a volunteer for a university library branches on remote campuses.

All, repeat*** all***, of the “librarians” I met in four yers were bureaucrats. They went to meetings, talked budgets, hired and occasionally fired, assigned book and library tasks to assistants but never, never once, in the four years did I meet a librarian who had anything to do with “library science”, whatever that might be.

That’s because all the cataloging, acquisitions, and other stuff happens at the main campus, probably. Although nobody, yet nobody, calls themselves a library scientist.

I always considered Help Desk Technicians to be the primary “skilled trade” associated with programmers.

When I type “library scientist” into Google, on the first page, I get 3 people whose bios describe them as library scientists. With the phrase in quotes, I get 16,700 hits. So it’s not literally no one.

I keep waiting to have something to offer to this thread and … I keep waiting.

Knead, MLIS
The S in my degree is for Studies

I disagree with this. There’s too much variation in what programmers do. It’s more accurate to think of “programming” as a kind of task to be completed, rather than thinking of “programmer” as an occupational title.

MY “s” is for science. I will kiss the girl from Venus!

“Leave off the last ‘S’ for Savings!”

My cousin is a masters-degreed library scientist. Aside from being a librarian, she was a teacher. Every time I tried to ask what it was that made her field any different than that of any other teacher or library aid, I’d get a spiel about how difficult it was to find and categorize information. This was back in the pre-internet days when card catalogues were still in use. (I actually miss card catalogues, because they were browsable like books.) Now granted, anyone can be trained to do any job (within reason) without the “proper” degree. I’m still unclear on what, exactly, library science is!