Associate Professor of Library and Information Science Rebecca B. Reynolds and her co-editor Samuel Kai Wah Chu, who is Associate Professor, Division of Information and Technology Studies at the University of Hong Kong, have worked with Emerald Publishing U.K. to initiate the launch of a new journal titled Information and Learning Science. The goal of the journal is to advance interdisciplinary research that explores intersections shared within two related scholarly fields: information science and the learning sciences/education sciences.
This interdisciplinary approach is being advanced due to strong recognition in both fields of the conceptual, empirical and socio-technical intersections present in work being published across these domains. The journal is published by Emerald Publishing, with six issues per year, and seven to eight articles per issue. The journal, formerly entitled New Library World, has transitioned to the new title, team and content focus, based on an extended 2-year proposal review process conducted among the co-editors and Emerald, the publisher. The new title and team will celebrate their inaugural issue in January, 2019 with a host of invited articles from top scholars across these fields. The Associate Editors and Editorial Advisory Board, aggregated by Reynolds and Chu can be found on the journal website.
Reynolds stated, “We aim for this endeavor to become a longstanding anchor project across both fields, that offers opportunities for all involved to participate in integration and synthesis of scholarly work that advances human knowledge about learning and inquiry -- towards the collective social, societal, and human good. We aim to do so together in a generative spirit of collaboration and synthesis. . . and in ways that are positively provocative, intellectually stimulating, creative, and innovative.”
The investigations the journal will cover may include but are not limited to:
- E-learning perspectives on searching, information-seeking, and information uses and practices engaged by a full diversity of youth, adults, elders and specialized populations, in varied contexts including leisure time activities; e-learning at work, in libraries, at school, home, during playtime, in health/wellness settings, etc.
- Design and use of systems such as MOOCs, social media, learning management systems, search systems, information systems, and other technology design innovations that contribute to human inquiry, formal and informal learning, searching, information-seeking, information uses, knowledge building and sharing, and instruction;
- HCI, socio-technical systems research, and materiality research perspectives on information and learning systems design; social learning ecologies; and creation and use of physical objects and settings that elicit human inquiry and learning;
- Ethnographic; emancipatory; social justice-based; feminist; critical race theory; and post-structuralist research involving information, learning, equity, design;
- Information, communication, and technology (ICT) considerations in computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) contexts;
- Innovations and e-learning solutions that address digital / information / media / data literacy and/or address the digital divide;
- Innovations involving problem-, project-, and inquiry-based learning contexts and goods;
- Learning analytics and/or data science perspectives on measurement and analysis of learning in information / search / e-learning systems;
- Social and ethical issues in e-learning contexts such as design, measurement, and evaluation -- such as privacy and security concerns around student confidentiality, data ownership and ethical data uses by researchers, teachers, institutions, etc.
Discussing the promise of this venture, Cindy Hmelo-Silver, the Barbara B. Jacobs Chair of Education and Technology and Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Indiana, commented: “As a place for cross disciplinary conversation between information sciences and the learning sciences, this journal is unique. Currently, there is much overlap in constructs, but the fields are using differing languages for their complementary perspectives. There is no venue for this exploration at present.”
This was echoed by Gary Marchionini, Professor of Information Science at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who said: “I believe there is need for a journal that spans the bounds of learning science and information science. For example, my own career has been guided by the belief that search is a learning function. This has proven to be quite useful in my own theory of information seeking and in explaining empirical results over the years.”
The target audience of this journal includes E-learning scholarly researchers, design-based researchers, developers of innovations in the areas of human inquiry and learning (and their students; those who develop socio-technical and/or educational innovations at the intersection of human inquiry and learning, and who incorporate research in their development process; and education practitioners who wish to stay informed about advances in e-learning and socio-technical innovations involving inquiry, learning, and any of the topics above.
Reynolds and Chu met around 2010 when both scholars were publishing work relating to students’ social constructivist learning, inquiry and design projects, and guided inquiry- and discovery-based learning.
Reynolds explained that she and Chu “found many intersections and resonant research findings in our own separate projects occurring up until then. We share similar philosophies of learning and teaching, and have enjoyed exploring some similar research questions in our independent empirical studies, across two different cultural and continental contexts (North America and Hong Kong/China).
“Further, we both had separately chosen to identify with both interdisciplinary fields of focus in the journal, information science and the learning sciences, having presented past work at conferences in both communities. Like several other scholars who presently find themselves in Information Science academic departments and homes and who also identify with Learning Sciences perspectives and scholarly heritages, we noted the challenge of positioning our research on inquiry and learning, in more general interest information science journals that do not have a learning focus. We shared the concern that this research can get ‘lost’ in the mix in more general interest publications, and thus was born the idea for a journal that could facilitate cross-disciplinary work, providing scholars from both fields, the chance to cross-navigate conceptual intersections, to advance work in both domains.”
Overall, independently and together, the work of Reynolds and Chu strongly represents the inter-disciplinarity characterized by the mission of the new journal. They have written collaboratively on two book projects along with added co-authors, synthesizing their independent projects and findings in these two full-length publications: “21st Century Skills Development Through Inquiry-Based Learning” and “The Wiki Way of Learning: Creating Learning Experiences Using Collaborative Web Pages.”