Disappearing disciplinary borders in the social science library – global studies or sea change?

Conference announcement:

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

Disappearing disciplinary borders in the social science library – global studies or sea change?

University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

6-7 August 2008


Over the past decade, the nature of social science research and scholarship has undergone shifts that have blurred the traditional disciplinary boundaries as research attempts to grapple with phenomena and issues that require interdisciplinary knowledge and collaboration. For example, a growing number of institutions and scholars are venturing into the arena of global studies and globalization studies. Situated in economics, political science, policy studies, and other discrete fields of the social sciences, global studies encompass both the perception and reality of an interconnected world society. The multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of studies and resources in this and similar emerging disciplines draws upon and influences knowledge in the natural sciences, social sciences, and policy studies, spanning the entire spectrum of IFLA interests, including agricultural libraries, information literacy programs, digital libraries, government libraries, information technology, health and biosciences libraries, and professional development, and while covering all of the world’s geographic regions.

Given the changes within the social sciences as they have traditionally been defined, how can academic and special libraries continue to provide services and resources to researchers who are working on necessarily interdisciplinary research questions within the constraints of organizational structures (universities, libraries, associations, and journals) that can’t easily support this work?