In 1895, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine founded the “Institut International de Bibliographie” (IIB) in Brussels. With its central catalog, the entire literature of mankind should be “bibliographed”.

During the following century, scientific publication activity shifted more and more from monographs to the medium “journal”. Documentation developed from bibliography. In addition to the print media, audiovisual media and, finally, digital media emerged. Consequently, documentation expanded to information.

In response, the “Institut International de Bibliographie” (IIB) was renamed first (1931) to “Institut International de Documentation” (IID), then (1937) in “Fédération Internationale de Documentation” (FID), and finally (1986) to “Fédération Internationale d’Information et de Documentation / International Federation for Information and Documentation” (FID). In 2002 the FID was closed. (Source: Michael Buckland’s History of FID)


In 1951, the “Austrian Society for Documentation and Bibliography” (“Österreichische Gesellschaft für Dokumentation und Bibliographie” ÖGDB) was founded to give the Austrian documentalists a voice, also in the FID. In 1972 “bibliography” was replaced by “information”. Since then it has been known under the name “Austrian Society for Documentation and Information” (“Österreichische Gesellschaft für Dokumentation und Information” ÖGDI).

The recorded knowledge of mankind is now more unmanageable than ever. It is no longer organized by a central institution according to a universal classification, but has rather organized “itself” as a network (Internet). Access to this network is a challenge to digital literacy, access to knowledge, however, a challenge to the information competence of each individual as well as to the information infrastructure institutions.


In 1989 the National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL) formed as a result of one of the recommendations from the seminal 1989 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. It existed as a national and international information clearinghouse and support network “to address all major educational and societal issues connected to information literacy, including the allied concepts of lifelong and resource-based learning”. In 2009, the mission of the newly established non-profit dedicated to mainstreaming information literacy (IL) practice across all educational and workplace sectors and to mainstreaming information literacy philosophy and practice worldwide. As a consequence of the economic crisis NFIL ceased to exist as a non-profit organization in October 2015 (https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_fsdocs/122/).


IKIS and IICIIS, respectively, pursue a similar vision as FID and NFIL. However, instead of documenting the knowledge of the world centrally, we are promoting a modern information infrastructure that provides knowledge in high-quality information products, as well as individual information competence to ensure that the information infrastructure and its products and services can be used efficiently.

The widespread societal integration of information literacy will continue to be an ongoing challenge in efforts to level the playing field for the development of the responsible digital citizen.