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The School of Library and Information Science was opened in the spring of 1951 as a first formal college-level school for librarianship in Japan. It was assisted by the American Library Association and staffed by well qualified American instructors at the time of establishment. Dr. Robert L. Gitler was invited as the first director of the School.

The objectives of the School are to train professionals for various types of libraries or information related organizations, to give opportunities for further training to men and women already working at the world, to stimulate and promote research in the field of library and information science, and to become a center of the field. It has produced plenty of leading librarians, information specialists, researchers, and faculty members since its establishment. Its contribution to the advancement of library and information science in Japan has been outstanding.

The School is an integral unit of the Faculty of Letters in Keio University. The faculty consists of 17 majors; each major covers a specific academic area of study, e.g., Japanese literature, oriental history, philosophy, library and Information science, psychology and sociology. The School is one of them and has strong ties with other majors.

In the spring of 1967, the School opened a new graduate program leading to a Master's degree with emphasis on the handling of information, the first program of its kind in this country. In accordance with this move, the School reorganized its undergraduate program and changed its original name, the Japan Library School, into the present name in 1968.

The concept of library and information science has wide connotation and its meaning is not always clearly understood.

Library science is defined as the total body of knowledge needed for the systematic collecting, organizing, and preserving of the recorded materials, which are the products of man's intellectual and emotional experience and activities, and for making them available for use. It studies the technical aspects of applying basic knowledge and theory to real situation.

Since the second world war a more thoroughgoing scientific approach to library science has become essential in meeting the expanding needs of science and technology, and indeed, the broader needs of society. On the other hand, stimulated by the rapid progress of research in biology, physiology, psychology, linguistics, logic, and computer science, a tendency to examine the problems of information from a synthetic point of view has become apparent. As a result, a new scientific discipline called information science had been developed.

The ways and means of systematically collecting, organizing and preserving recorded materials and making them available for use, can also be studied as aspects of information and are closely related to the problems of acquisition, retrieval, and dissemination of information.

Consequently, the content of library science and that of information science are not only concerned with common problems in their basic research, but are interdependent in their technological approach.

Today's needs for effective and efficient handling of information require an approach which embraces both library science and information science. Moreover, these two sciences must be inseparably integrated. The School therefore decided to adopt the name and thereby to indicate our intention to direct our teaching and research aspects toward the informational needs of modern society, without losing sight of the continuing needs and interests of individuals which can best be met through the more traditional forms of library service.

After several revisions of curricula it was considered essential for the School to establish a Ph.D. degree program. The plans for such a program, again first in Japan, were approved and the program began in April 1975. Curricula were continuously revised in 1984, 1989, and 1993 to keep up with development of information science and technology as well as to meet a wide variety of social and educational needs.

In April 2004, another course in Master's degree program, Information Resources Management Course, was newly launched for the purpose of recurrent education of working librarians.

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