Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Social Contexts of Information Studies
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 one-hour lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay-style written assignmetn (1500 words)  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay-style written assignment  50%
Supplementary Exam 2` Hours   50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Identify the social and political contexts within which information and library services operate;

2. Discuss some economic and social implications of information in various contexts, e.g. the Internet.

3. Discuss the role, characteristics, and value of particular information formats.

4. Demonstrate awareness of the range and diversity of information services that exist.

5. Describe the key types of library/information services in the UK, including their historical development and relationship with government

6. Discuss some of the key issues facing the library profession today, in a national and international context.

Brief description

This module will provide students with an introduction to the library and information profession in the UK, including topics such as: the development of the information profession and the history of and current issues facing library services in the UK. It aims to place information studies in a social and historical context by looking at the various forms and formats of recorded information and how it is communicated, including with respect to the publishing industry and reader development, the major producers and providers of information in the UK, and the social and political environments in which they operate.


Content will include the following
  • The history and development of libraries in the UK
  • Case studies of selected types of information formats, e.g. visual information
  • Where possible, visits to particular providers of information
  • Institutions: libraries, record offices, archives, virtual collections, publishers
  • The role of professional organisations, in the UK and internationally
  • Key issues currently facing the library profession.
  • Social contexts: reading, the media, literacy.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Class discussion is encouraged; group work (in seminars); written assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Class discussion and personal reflection on written work
Information Technology Discussion of IT applications integral to some lectures.
Personal Development and Career planning Module presents an introduction to many aspects of the information profession which will be valuable in students' later module choices and career planning
Problem solving Written assignments and group discussions will encourage an investigative and critical approach towards key issues.
Research skills To be developed through written assignment and exam preparation.
Subject Specific Skills Will introduce areas of key knowledge for the information profession (Learning Outcomes 4, 5, 6) as well as an understanding of the profession in wider contexts (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8)
Team work Some group work in seminars will be included


This module is at CQFW Level 4