Remembering Elfreda Chatman: A Champion of Theory Development in Library and Information Science Education

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Chatman, Elfreda Annmary, 1942-2002, Information theory, Library science -- Social aspects


This article tracks the process of constructing theory within the field of Library and Information Science (LIS) through an examination of Elfreda A. Chatman's research. Chatman notes in her early publications that she did not enter the field with the intent to create theory, but as she applied established theories, she noted that there were certain aspects of the behavior she observed that were not accounted for in the theories she was analyzing. She turned her focus to the social barriers to information access and began to frame her work with concepts and propositions that explained what she observed. By examining Chatman's use of key theories from the social sciences, this article demonstrates the viability of the application and creation of social theory within the LIS discipline.