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Reference Sources for IS Research

Tools and Reference Sources for IS Research

Biographies | Dictionaries | Directories | Encyclopedias & Handbooks | Statistics


Biographies of librarians, information scientists, archivists and others in IS and related fields.

  • Little Known Black Librarian Facts, 2nd ed. (2011)
    Compiled by Michele T. Fenton and published by the Indiana Black Librarians Network.  Primarily biographical entries, arranged by occupation and state.  Includes citations to works about the profiled individuals.
  • Library of Congress Librarians
    Brief biographical portraits of all of the U.S. Librarians of Congress up to the present Librarian of Congress.
  • The Pioneers
    A series of article-length biographical portraits of major figures in IS history, from the online journal World Libraries.



  • ALA & LIS Acronyms and Initialisms 
    Decodes acronyms of American Library Association units, divisions, roundtables, committees, and publications; acronyms of other related organizations; and abbreviations commonly used in library literature.
  • ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science
    [Licensed for UofI]  Defines terms and acronyms used by librarians and related information professionals.  Includes cross-references and avoids generic terminology. The print version (Michael Levine-Clark and Toni M. Carter, ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science, 4th ed., 2013) is available in SSHEL’s Reference collection, call number 020.3 Al112 2013.
  • Dictionary of Information and Library Management
    [Licensed for UofI]  Included in Credo Reference.  “A basic vocabulary of terms used in the information and records management industries.”  The print version (Janet Stevenson, Dictionary of Information and Library Management, 2nd ed., 2006) is available in the Reference Library, call number 020.3 D561 2006.
  • Dictionary of Information Science and Technology 
    The 2nd edition of the Dictionary of Information Science and Technology is a compilation of more than 12,000 of the latest terms and definitions as they pertain to all aspects of the information and technology fields.
  • Historical Dictionary of Librarianship
    [Licensed for UofI]
      Includes a list of acronyms and abbreviations along with a chronology of significant events.  The print version (Mary Ellen Quinn, Historical Dictionary of Librarianship, 2014) is available in the History, Philosophy, & Newspaper Library’s Reference collection, call number 020.3 Q447h.
  • ODLIS: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science
    Defines words and acronyms in the various specializations within IS, along with the relevant vocabulary of publishing, printing, the book trade, graphic arts, book history, literature, bibliography, telecommunications, and computer science. Reflects North American practice. The print equivalent (Joan M. Reitz, Dictionary for Library and Information Science, 2004) is available in the Main Stacks, call number 020.3 R278d.



Directories of libraries, publishers and information science professionals.

  • American Library Directory
    Detailed profiles of more than 35,000 public, academic, special and government libraries, and library-related organizations in the United States, and Canada.
  • American Public Library Handbook
    This handbook combines entries for key terms in IS with a directory of public libraries in the U.S.
  • Libraries Canada 
    This reference provides an overview of all libraries in Canada, organized by type. It includes current details and data for each institution in the language used by that institution. Indexes about archive and governmental libraries, subject, location, and personnel are also included.
  • Library Publishing Directory
    This directory, a publication of the Library Publishing Coalition, provides a list of academic and research libraries engaged in publishing activities, and is freely available as a pdf or epub. For each institution, it includes information such as the type of publishing activities involved, staffing, publishing platforms, digital preservation strategies, and other details.
  • Publishers Directory
    This directory provides information on over 20,000 publishers and distributors in A-Z arrangement. Users can view alternate formats offered by publishers, including audio, Braille, video and more.
  • Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers
    This directory provides coverage of more than 37,500 special libraries and information centers around the world. Contains collections maintained by various government agencies, businesses, publishers, educational and non-profit organizations.

Encyclopedias & Handbooks

Encyclopedias and handbooks covering various IS topics.




Consult these sources for numerical data.

  • ALISE Library and Information Science Education Statistical Report
    From 1997 to 2004, an annual survey of IS schools, covering: faculty; students; curriculum; income and expenditures; continuing professional education.  Older and more recent years are available in print or through Proquest Statistical Insight (see below).
  • American Library Association Office of Research and Statistics
    Includes links to statistical reports by ALA and others.
  • America’s Star Libraries: The Library Journal Index of Public Library Service
    “Library Journal’s national rating of public libraries, the LJ Index of Public Library Service 2009, Round 2, identifies 258 ‘star’ libraries.”
  • ACRLMetrics
    [licensed for UofI]  Data on collections, expenditures, personnel, user populations, and electronic resources of nearly 1500 academic libraries in the US, for the years 2000-2009.   The interface allows you to customize comparative reports. University patrons who wish to use this resource online should contact the IS Virtual Library for access details. Many people find the print version of ACRL Metrics easier to use, and local patrons can find the most current edition on non-circulating reference at the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library. A scan of the print version appears in ProQuest Statistical Insight (see below).
  • ARL Statistics (Public Access) and ARL Statistics and Salary Surveys [licensed for UofI]
    Data on the collections, expenditures, staffing, and service activities of the 123 largest academic and research libraries in North America.
  • Illinois Public Library Statistics
    Information on the Illinois Public Library Annual Report, with contact information for requesting statistical data and an input page for libraries to submit their data.
  • Institute for Museum and Library Services.  Library Statistics: Public Libraries
    Annual surveys of public libraries in the U.S., providing data on the population of legal service areas, service outlets, library collections and services, staff, and operating revenue and expenditures.  Summary reports (PDF); downloadable data files with documentation; and tools to “search for public libraries” and “compare public libraries.”
  • Institute for Museum and Library Services.  Library Statistics: State Libraries
    Annual surveys of state libraries in the U.S., providing data on governance, services, collections, staff, and operating revenues and expenditures.  Summary reports (PDF); downloadable data files with documentation.
  • LibEcon Database
    A database of statistics from libraries in 36 (mostly European) countries, sponsored by the European Commission. Cross-tabulations and comparisons can be easily generated.  Most recent data is from 2001.
  • Library and Book Trade Almanac
    Includes statistics on book prices, numbers of books published, library expenditures, and average salaries of librarians during each year. A digitized version appears after a delay in ProQuest Statistical Insight.
  • National Center for Education Statistics: Library Statistics Program
    Data from surveys of U.S. academic libraries and school library media centers.
  • PLAmetrics (aka Public Library Data Service [PLDS] Statistical Report)
    Now online-only, the PLDS provides statistics on public libraries including staffing, circulation, technology, and other items. Similar to ACRLMetrics for academic libraries, this tool requires a special login available only to University of Illinois community members. Please contact the IS Virtual Library for access details. Please note: if you only want the statistical summaries and overview of the yearly PLDS report, you may prefer to access the summary article usually provided in the the journal Public Libraries. PLAMetrics allows you to create customized reports from the data set.
  • ProQuest Statistical Insight
    [licensed for UofI] A database of a wide variety of statistical reports, including the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the Public Library Data Service, ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics, ARL Statistics, and ALISE Library and Information Science Education Statistical Report.
  • SLA Annual Salary Survey and Workplace Study
    [licensed for UofI] An annual collection of salary data focused on special library positions. Older content is available in print.
  • State Public Library Statistics
    Links to public library statistics published on state library agency web sites.