Friday, August 12, 2005

Norwegian library journals

Filed under: debate — plinius @ 10:14 am

Three national journals

Norwegian librarians are served by three national journals: Bok og bibliotek [Book and Library], Bibliotekforum [Library Forum] and Bibliotekaren [The Librarian]. These are practice oriented rather than academic publications. They include news and reports from the field, but no peer-reviewed articles. They are eagerly read by the Norwegian library community, which is small enough – around five thousand persons – for everybody to taken a direct interest in everbody else.

Bok og bibliotek is published by the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority, Bibliotekforum by the Norwegian Library Association and Bibliotekaren by Bibliotekarforbundet [choose English], which is the main library trade union. In connection with IFLA 2005, the latter two have published bilingual issues, which are available at the conference venue.

Research publication

Academic library research represents a new development in Norway. A substantial investment in research only took place in the mid-1990`s. At that time, three things happened:

  • a five year program of library research was initiated with funding from central library authorities, and channelled through the Norwegian Research Council
  • the library college in Oslo – which had a few hundred students – was merged with about twenty other teaching institutions in Oslo to form a large, professional college with about ten thousand students.
  • a Norwegian journal of library research [Norsk tidsskrift for bibliotekforskning] was started

The new journal was edited at the young and innovative Institute for Documentation Science and Library Studies in Tromsø. It was published for eight years (1994-2001), but finally had to close for lack of funding. The journal accepted contributions in English as well as in the three Scandinavian languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish): see a listing of their articles in English.

The journal published many research reports and had a clear academic purpose. But it was not a fully academic journal based on peer review and strict quality control. This was hardly possible within the Norwegian library community. Our academic library community is still small.

The total number of full-time library teachers in the country is about forty – too few to sustain a full scale research journal on their own. It functioned, however, as a useful training ground as well as a publication outlet for essays and research report. We still miss it.


For additional information on Norwegian library studies in English, see the entries in the Frida data base and the Norwegian contributions to IFLA 2005.

I would also like to recommend the very useful dictionary of library terms (PDF) in Norwegian and English just published by the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority. The Authority is often abbreviated to ABM in Norwegian – for Arkiv, Bibliotek and Museum. You may read brief summaries in English of some of their publications on the web.

But in English – may we call you NALMA?


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