Call for Paper Proposals: IFLA Library History Special Interest Group

Call for Paper Proposals: IFLA Library History Special Interest Group

Preserving our origins: Approaches to the organization, curation, and historiography of the record of national and international organizations in libraries, information, and documentation.

Featuring Keynote Address by Dr. Boyd Rayward on “The emergence of a Post World War II international information order: international associations, inter-governmental agencies, political platforms and technological affordances.” 

Deadline:  May 15, 2023

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Library History SIG is soliciting paper proposals for its forthcoming IFLA Satellite Conference to take place in hybrid format at the Mundaneum in Mons, Belgium, from August 17 – 19, 2023.  This conference is being organized in collaboration with The Mundaneum Archive Centre and the IFLA Library Theory and Research Section. 

Featuring a keynote address by the eminent scholar Boyd Rayward, whose work on the legacy of Paul Otlet has inspired and transformed multiple aspects of the history of information science, this conference seeks to bring together historians, archivists, librarians, and representatives of associations to focus on the developing historiography of libraries, librarianship, the information sciences, and documentation with an emphasis on the associations and organizations that developed and supported the field’s tremendous global growth and impact over the past 125 years. Held at the Mundaneum in Mons, Belgium, the conference seeks to honor and emulate the transformative work of its founders Paul Otlet and Henri LaFontaine by bringing together the various associations, actors, and themes associated with the development and evolution of LIS in order to generate greater consciousness of the state of the resources to support the preservation of our history while exploring current and emergent historiography of the field. 

The two-day Satellite conference thus has two aims:

1)      to build on our understanding of the state of preservation and accessibility of historical sources for the historiography of library information sciences (LIS) and  information science and technology organizations.

2)      to further explore the history of these organizations from their origins in the late 19th and early 20th century to today.

The program also seeks to focus on digitization and curation programs as well as accounts that focus both on organizational history and the associated primary sources that serve as the basis of this research. An additional aim is to focus on archives, digitization, and sharing documentation to study selected topics in the history of LIS and documentation organizations in preparation for the celebration of IFLA’s 100 year history.

Themes and topics sought:

Track 1: Sources on the history of library science, information science, and documentation. 

o   Presentations and reports from archives regarding the state of collections, digitization initiatives, and sources related to the history of LIS;

o   Presentations and reports from associations regarding initiatives to preserve, documents, and reflect upon the histories and work of the field as it has developed professionally over the past 125 years;

o   Presentations and reports that share and reflect upon the use of digital humanities tools and technologies to both further document and generate new understandings of the history of LIS;

Track 2: Historiography of library science, information science and documentation in the long 20th century. 


Proposals must be submitted in English via email with the subject: IFLALIBHIST PROPOSAL 2023.  For each proposal please include the following information:

            Title of proposed presentation

            Abstract of the proposal (400 words)

            Name/s of presenters and positions and/or titles

            Employer or affiliated institution

            Contact information including email address and telephone number

            Short biographical statement of no more than 100 words

Further information about conference program can be found on the satellite conference page , or send questions to.  Registration information will be available shortly.  No IFLA membership or affiliation is required to attend or propose a paper.

Steve Witt:

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