The demand for undergraduate course provision in information and library studies.
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This paper describes two exercises designed to investigate the factors affecting the demand for undergraduate educational provision in the field of information and library studies (ILS). The first was a survey of former and current students of the School of Information and Media at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, which examined why they had chosen to undertake an undergraduate course in information and library studies. The second was a survey of fifth and sixth year pupils at six secondary schools in North East Scotland, and gathered market research data as to the appeal of a range of course and module titles, in order to determine which were attractive to prospective students. Major findings include: that former and current students were largely influenced by subject content and vocational field in their choice of course; that former students are likely to have gone into the non-conventional or ‘emerging’ information job market, regardless of their having come to the course with a vision of a career in a traditional library sector; and that despite Librarianship and Information Studies being an instantly recognisable and very clearly defined working environment, most prospective students surveyed do not find the course content attractive or potentially interesting. The paper concludes that the ILS profession should: collect and present evidence demonstrating the variety, challenges and satisfactions of information careers; reappraise the role of degree level qualifications in feeding into the job market; and develop routes into those sections of employment which information professionals are presently failing to enter.