LIS education in germany: recent achievements and new trends

Hans-Christoph Hobohm


The author gives an overview on recent changes in Library and Information Science education in Germany in terms of changes in degrees delivered and with regard to changes in curricula.
Some smaller schools have been closed in recent years in Germany too, many other changes their names by dropping the L-word. But on the other hand there are some very positive developments.
There is a substantive trend to a diversification of basic degrees. The new mode of basic (dual) three-year instruction at the apprenticeship (non-university) level (called “FAMI”) is reaching a wide spread success despite some technical problems. This causes some self consciousness problems for the university (Fachhochschul-) Diploma which are about to enter the European arena by changing from a four year Diploma to a three year Bachelor. The still existing differences between University degrees and Fachhochschuldiploma on the other hand tend to vanish when most of the educational programmes will offer their own Masters’ with quite distinctive profiles.
The apprenticeship courses offered at the non-university undergraduate level are quite integrative: combining to a large extend contents and competencies for libraries, information centres, archives and image archives. At the bachelor level some “ABD”-integrative trends have been lost during recent years while others are gained. There seems to be either a strong concentration on management and IT topics whereas classical themes like library history or children literature are getting out of sight. At some schools this is seen as a certain loss of contact between educators and traditional LIS practitioners.
In addition to the stress laid upon management themes there is a new possibility to train social and personal competencies
The overwhelming attention is given to the structural changes involved with the Bologna process. In some parts of Germany this process has been forced by the local governments while in others there seem to be a more hesitant feeling about the new modes of university life.
The flourishing new Masters’ degrees are justified in a good demand for continuing education especially on the management level. In addition to that the only university chair for Library Science in Germany (at the traditional Humboldt University in Berlin) is gaining new standing by delivering a continuing number of PhD’s thus contributing to the enlargement of the stock of knowledge necessary for our complex field.

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