Appendix 2 – IIS Criteria 1982

The Institute Criteria provided a guide to topics which might be usefully and justifiably included in a course of instruction in the practice of information science approved by the Institute. It would normally be expected that, for acceptance by the Institute for corporate membership, a candidate would have a good knowledge of a large proportion of topics covered in Sections 1 to 8. Topics covered by the Section on ancillary skills might also be of value to an information scientist, and therefore any of these might provide studies complementary to the core topics.

The following Criteria were approved by the Council of the Institute of Information Scientists on 19 March 1982. These are particularly significant as they include information technology for the first time.

  1. Nature of information and its users
  • Creation and qualitative and quantitative treatment of the growth of knowledge.
  • Nature, properties and characteristics of knowledge and information flows.
  • Generation, transfer and use of information. Information needs and information seeking and user behaviour and the impact of historical, social and psychological, economic, technical and other factors on this behaviour.
  • Communications systems theory, design and evaluation.
  • Human communication from psychological and practical points of view.
  • Communication in the corporate environment.
  • User types, user patterns, finding and analysing user needs.
  1. Sources of information
  • Sources of recorded information and their various media (e.g. textual material, computer files, online machine-readable databases and databanks, audio-visual and other records) and their information content, occurrences, distribution and use.
  • Individuals and organisations (national and international) which collect, extract and/or disseminate information (e.g. information brokers and consultants, expert individuals, libraries, information centres).
  • Information sources in general and special subject fields.
  • Major information services.
  • Content and characteristics of secondary sources of information (e.g. abstracts and indexes, publicly available computer files, library catalogues).
  1. Theory and practice of information storage and retrieval
  • Characterisation of information problems and methods of dealing with them.
  • Media for information storage and choice and organisation of the media in the store for various information types (e.g. full text, abstracts, numeric and tabular data and audio-visual material, and combinations of these).
  • Descriptive cataloguing.
  • Theory and application of classification systems (e.g. enumerative and synthetic types and alphabetical schedules).
  • Analysis of information content of sources.
  • Theory and application of indexing of information content (e.g. coding by use of classification and indexing schedules, subject heading lists, thesauri, pre- and post-coordinate indexing, natural language and controlled vocabularies).
  1. Systems for information storage and retrieval
  • Exploitation of resources – search methods and strategies, and reference methods for information (e.g. references, data, full text or combinations of these).
  • Use of manual, mechanised and mixed systems (e.g. paper files, card indexes, microform systems, word processing, computerised systems).
  • Use of human and technical networks for retrieval.
  • Internal and external systems, services and networks for retrieval (e.g. videotex and databases).
  • Input, indexing and output for successful retrieval.
  • Evaluation of retrieval systems and secondary sources of information (e.g. effectiveness and efficiency).
  1. Analysis of information
  • The use of information sources for regular and systematic collection of information.
  • The evaluation and validation of that information.
  • The use of appropriate technology in the building of specialist files for storage and retrieval of evaluated information.
  • The analysis for the purpose of discovering novelty, trends, patterns, etc., and for the purpose of making hypotheses, trend projections, forecasts, etc.
  • The writing of state-of-the-art reports, reviews, overviews and scenarios.
  1. Dissemination of information
  • Preparation of bibliographies and evaluated information reports. Effective presentation of information.
  • Proofreading, editing and presentation.
  • Methods of reprography, SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information) and other methods of current awareness.
  1. Management
  • Information systems, internal and external environment, objectives and structure, ethical and legal aspects (e.g. privacy, secrecy, copyright, health and safety, security).
  • Implementation of information systems.
  • Justification and cost-benefit/effectiveness analysis.
  • General theory and techniques of management with particular reference to information systems, costing, budgeting, financial control, forecasting, policy-making, planning, staff management and industrial relations, organisation and methods, operational research.
  • Systems approach for management including organisation of small personal collections of information.
  • Marketing and selling of information services, both internally and externally.
  • Strategic planning and trans-border flow.
  1. Technology and its applications
  • Technology for aiding information creation, acquisition, organisation, transmission, retrieval, dissemination and management.

Ancillary skills

Research methods – Historical research; deductive, inductive, and hypothetico-inductive methods. Research proposals. Investigation, data collection and sampling. Evaluation of results, errors, validity. Conclusions, reports.

Mathematics – Appropriate mathematics and statistics.

LinguisticsNatural and formal languages, linguistic classification, semantics, syntactics, pragmatics. Relations of semantics and linguistic, psychology, logic and philosophy. The development of language.

Foreign languagesReading and comprehension of foreign languages. Translation. Preparation of abstracts, reports etc., in the language of habitual usage. Use of foreign language information sources, machine translation.


Computer hardware – Components and their uses, types of input and output devices, including display devices, storage devices, mainframes, minicomputers and microcomputers.

Computer software – Principles of operating systems, application programs; program packages, especially for information retrieval, elementary programming.

Computer processing – File design, record layout, file searching, file update.

Communications – Principles of standards, protocols, interfaces and types of equipment, e.g. modems; electrical and optical communication devices. Telecommunications networks.

Computer projectsFeasibility studies, specifications, design, implementation, evaluation, documentation.

Computer applications – Information retrieval, Viewdata, teletext, computer typesetting, computer output microform (COM), speech synthesis, automation of library housekeeping.

Word processors – Types (e.g. shared logic, stand-alone) and applications (e.g. input, information retrieval).

Storage media and systems – Videodiscs; automated microform systems.

Electronic publishing and document delivery – Viewdata applications, video scanning and digitising, cable TV, other methods of electronic publishing and document delivery.


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Evolution and impact: a history of the Institute of Information Scientists 1958-2002 Copyright © 2022 by Sandra Ward and Martin White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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