Australia: Developing an LIS research culture

Library and information science theory and practice should go together, each informing the other for mutual benefit and development.

In 2016 a series of events called Relevance 2020 took place across Australia.  The events set out to connect academics, researchers and practitioners to help align future research projects and activities in the Australian LIS profession.  The events highlighted priority research areas and recommendations for creating a rich research culture in Australian LIS.

Research topics of interest

Across the six events 96 topics of interest were identified, and these were later grouped into 15 broad headings (curation; education; history; information behaviour; information literacy; information organisation; information resources; information retrieval, information services; information theory; management; promotion; regulation; role; training).

Research questions identified included:

  • Are library qualifications relevant in the 21st century?
  • How do libraries demonstrate their value?
  • How do libraries improve knowledge discovery by modelling information?
  • Do data management plans affect research behaviour and practice?


  • Libraries and librarians should think differently about their roles - research should be a key part of the librarian’s job. Managers should support and encourage workplace research.
  • LIS schools and academics should develop strong connections with industry, which in turn could become a rich source of data for academics. Researchers should focus on research topics of interest for business
  • ALIA bridges the gap – the Australian Library and Information Association plays an important role in communicating the importance of LIS research.  The report also concludes that with appropriate funding it could also develop a database that provides information about research funding, research ideas, research partners and that can ‘match’ people with people and ideas with ideas.

The full report is available to download here