Research

Research in Library and Information Science at Södertörn University has close links to practice. We endeavour to maintain critical and constructive perspectives on contemporary phenomena that relate to people’s lives and their preparedness for participation in society.

At Södertörn University, research about libraries has been conducted in Business Studies, Teacher Education and Studies in Practical Knowledge, while research about information has been conducted in Archival Science, Media and Communication Studies, and Informatics.

In Library and Information Science, our research has two main themes: 1) Libraries and learning, 2) Critical perspectives on open access.

As a profession, librarianship develops specific skills in conveying knowledge, information and literature to other people, where activities are developed in cooperation between librarians and other professional groups. Putting words to their practical experiences and the learning process is fundamental to the ability of a librarian in general, and a school or university librarian in particular, in order to contribute to people’s learning, language development, information searches, knowledge dissemination, source criticism, and their lifelong learning journey. Using the university’s humanistic and societally oriented foundation, we explore what knowledge is and how learning is conducted in practice and in professional contexts.

Pamela Schultz Nybacka has published numerous investigations, primarily in the field of library science. They include topics such as librarians’ expertise and skills development against the background of the regional libraries’ new role (2013); the value of library space for visitors to different types of libraries, in partnership with Södertörn University Library, Huddinge Municipality and Stockholm Regional Libraries (2014); the new task assigned to regional libraries in cultural policy, that of supporting literature as an artform (2017); and the book Värdet av skolbiblioteket som en pedagogisk verksamhet för hållbar utbildning och bildning (2019 – The Value of the School Library as an Educational Activity for Sustainable Education), which was included the National Library of Sweden’s work on the national library strategy. Another ongoing research project commissioned by the National Library of Sweden is a study of the regional library as a node for work for change at public libraries, which is part of the Swedish Government’s investment in the project, “Digitalt först med användaren i fokus” (2019-20 – Digitally First with the User in Focus).

Previous library research at Södertörn University includes the book, Bibliotekariens praktiska kunskap (2017 – The Librarian’s Practical Knowledge), edited by Eva Schwartz from the Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge. Librarians from public libraries participated in the book, reflecting on professional dilemmas they experienced.

Society is increasingly influenced by algorithms and digital platforms, as well as greater demands for free and open access to information, knowledge and media. This research theme implements critical perspectives on concepts such as openness.

In his research, Arwid Lund has mainly concentrated upon new digital ways of collaborative knowledge production, and on the relationship between peer production and the societal economy, with a special research focus on Wikipedia (2015; 2017). His latest research investigates the ideological dimensions of openness in relation to open data (2017), but also in relation to open access publishing, open learning management systems, free and open source code and open audio-visual services (2020).