Department of Library and Information Science

About us

Library science, librarianship, scientific information, ... There are only very few areas of human endeavor that have gone through such a rapid transformation as information processing has. It took mankind several millennia to progress from papyrus to printed books, but it took us only two or three decades to move from kilobytes to terabytes. Our progress towards yottabytes will be even faster. It is exciting to be part of all of this.

Our department is preparing the future generations of information specialists for managing communication flows, supporting knowledge-based society and handling the information explosion. We are educating experts for protecting the cultural heritage stored in the historical library collections, in their manuscripts and old prints. We are educating qualified mediators for the processes in literary communication, as well as in electronic networks. A body of knowledge and skills ranging from manuscripts to the information architecture trends, from information ecology to research of reader interests. We analyze the past and anticipate the future.

We are the oldest and the most prestigious university department in this field in Slovakia, and the only one to offer education starting with the Bachelor degree programme through the Master Degree Programme and up to the Doctoral Degree Programme.

In line with the requirements of the Bologna process and the latest Act on Universities (131/2002), the department offers Bachelor, Master and Doctoral studies in the field 3.2.4 Library and Information Studies as part of Media and Communication Studies.

We currently offer

1 Bachelor Programme:

  • Information Studies,

1 Master Programme:

  • Information Studies,

1 Doctoral Programme:

  • Media and Communication Studies.

History of the Department

The Department of Library and Information Science at the Faculty of Arts at Comenius University was, until the 2002/2003 academic year, the only department in Slovakia to provide university training for librarians and information specialists.

The faculty first introduced Librarianship in 1923 as a lectorate. The first teacher to hold it was Dr. Jan Emler, who worked at the faculty until 1928. During the 1937/1938 academic year, this post was held by Marie Ludmila Černá. In October 1951 the Department of Slovak Language and Literature opened a two-year study programme of librarianship. In 1952-1957 courses in the field were taught at the Department of Librarianship and Journalism and in 1957-1961 at the renamed Department of Journalism and Librarianship. Courses in librarianship were, at the beginning, provided only by part-time teachers working under the supervision of Marie Ludmila Černá and from 1952/1953 Dr. Jindra Hušková. The first regular head of the Section of Librarianship was M. Štefanovičová, appointed in 1954. Other full-time teachers included D. Kukučová, K. Záthurecká-Ruttkayová, one of the first graduates from the librarianship programme, J. Misál, E. Mešša and in 1959 Š. Pasiar.

An independent Department of Librarianship at the faculty came into being in 1960. In the same year it opened its Part-time Learning Centre in Prešov. The department offered full-time and part-time programmes and from 1962 a two-year postgraduate study programme of librarianship and public education. In 1966 it changed its name to the Department of Librarianship and Academic Information. In 1969-1999 librarianship and academic information was studied within double major programmes in combination with foreign languages (English, German, French, Latin, Hungarian, Russian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, etc.), but also with other non-language disciplines (pedagogy, philosophy, sociology, etc.). The department changed its name again in 1999 when it was renamed as the Department of Library and Information Science. The programme that had been called Librarianship and Academic Information before began to be referred to as Library and Information Science and since 2009 the programme has been known as Library and Information Studies.

In 1952-1960 the Section of Librarianship was run by Marie Ludmila Černá (1952-1953), Jindra Hušková (1953-1954) and Mária Štefanovičová (1954-1960) and the independent department was managed by Štefan Pasiar (1960-1981), Eugen Mešša (1981-1990), Marta Nováková (1990), Štefan Kimlička (1990-1997), Dušan Katuščák (1997-2000), Štefan Kimlička (2000-2003), Jozef Lipták (2003-2008), Soňa Makulová (2008-2013), Pavol Rankov (2013-2017) and Jela Steinerová (since 2017).

Since its foundation the department has focused on training librarians and information specialists for libraries and later for systems of academic and technical information. Until the mid-1990s students applied for four-year or five-year double major study programmes combining librarianship with foreign languages or other disciplines. Until the late 1980s the Department played a significant role in professional education and training of library and information specialists.

Already in the 1970s and 1980s, the Department participated in several important research and development projects related to libraries and systems of academic, technical and economic information. It was, for example, involved in designing an integrated electronic library and information system. After 1989 the Department was engaged in several research projects that were funded by domestic grant agencies and the faculty itself. Since the early 1990s, in response to the rapid evolution of public communication networks, research and teaching at the Department have focused on institutionally independent, social and technological-organizational aspects of information activity while applying the know-how of social, literary and mass communication. Library science has been dominated by issues like organization and searching for information, the information behaviour of information users and producers, traditional and external web-based information sources, information architecture, and the ethical and legal aspects of using information.

General Characteristics of the Department

As far as research is concerned, the Department of Library and Information Science is recognized as one of the most prominent departments in the country providing for theoretical and methodological reflection of library and information practice. It traditionally concerns itself with such themes as the processing and protection of historical book collections, public librarianship and bibliography, work with children and youth and automated library information systems.

During the first decade of the 20th century the department has collaborated on projects entitled Systems of Knowledge Organization, Its Structure and Impact on the Effectivity of Information Availability in Individual Disciplines, New Paradigm of Library and Information Science and the Role of Libraries in Information Society in Multicultural Central Europe, Management of Terminology Data and Possibilities of Its Application in Individual Areas of Knowledge and Practice, Interaction of Human and Information Environment, Use of Information in Information Behaviour in Education and Science, Interactive Learning Texts for Integrated Subject Information Systems in Science, Research and Education.

Lately, our research concentrated mostly on the topics of information behaviour, cognitive contexts of digital libraries, media multitasking and information ecology, information literacy, human information behavior in digital environment, digital science and open science.

The department also develops international relations. It became a member of and participates in the activities of several global organizations and conferences and is involved in notable research projects. Its faculty are on the editorial boards of major international journals and picked as jurors in international competitions. The Department regularly publishes its Annual Review of Library and Information Science (Zborník KIV), which was recently opened also to international contributors from Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, U.K., etc. The Department has also organized several international conferences (in 1999, 2003 and 2006). Since 2013 we have been regularly organizing the Information interactions conference.