Professional Knowledge domains

The eight Professional Knowledge Domains represent the key areas of LIS knowledge. It is acknowledged that the specific range and scope of application of each domain depends on the different parts of the LIS sector and/or workplace roles, along with the need to accommodate innovation and change in practice over time. 

People with librarian or library technician qualifications are expected to have some knowledge drawn from each of these Professional Knowledge Domains. As people working in more specialised roles are likely to have developed deeper expertise in one or more Professional Knowledge Domains, they are not expected to apply knowledge from all of the Professional Knowledge Domains in their practice.

The eight Professional Knowledge Domains are:

Current knowledge and understanding of the delivery of data, information and knowledge services that connect users with the resources they need at the right time and place, and in the right format, including:

  • client engagement
  • information needs analysis
  • information seeking behaviour, user experience and accessibility
  • retrieval, evaluation and synthesis of information 
  • reference services and interviews
  • research consultation services in different disciplines
  • research support services and informetrics 
  • customised delivery of resources tailored to target client groups
  • awareness of Indigenous approaches in providing information services that support the care and protection of Indigenous data and knowledges

Current knowledge and understanding of the acquisition and management of the multiple information formats used by individuals and organisations, including:

  • information architecture to determine the structure, design and flows of data and information
  • storage, curation, protection, preservation of collections, data, records and knowledge
  • migration, restructure, manipulation, transformation and presentation of data and records
  • cataloguing, classification, metadata, interoperability and other information standards and schema
  • thesauri and subject indexing
  • collection analysis and management
  • acquisition, negotiating with publishers and providers of resources, licensing and monitoring publishing trends
  • digitisation and digital repository management
  • research data management
  • intellectual property rights, copyright, Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) and creative commons.

Current knowledge and understanding of the importance of literacies and learning to connect individuals and communities to ideas and knowledge creation, including:

  • advocacy for reading, literacy and digital literacy
  • programs to meet the literacy, early literacy, educational, information literacy, digital literacy and media literacy needs of individuals and communities
  • cultural events, exhibitions and displays, and activities that foster discovery, creativity and collaboration
  • training needs assessment
  • community-focused training programs and learning activities
  • pedagogic methodologies, including technology-enhanced learning
  • awareness of Indigenous priorities in relation to literacies and learning

Current knowledge and understanding of information and communications technologies, including:

  • library business systems and platforms
  • content, learning, research data, repository and database management systems
  • web and network management services
  • industry standards relating to eResource management
  • identity management and authentication systems
  • principles of information privacy and cybersecurity
  • mobile technologies and applications, including systems interoperability
  • artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
  • social media and collaborative tools
  • assistive and related technologies
  • data analytics and the value of data as evidence in decision making, policy and research contexts
  • the potential of emerging technologies for future library and information practice.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Contexts professional domain recognises the importance of supporting Indigenous knowledges and community engagement across Australian libraries.

It is intended that knowledge, understanding and competency in this domain is the responsibility and to the benefit of all people working in the library and information services sector in Australia, Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues alike. While non-Indigenous LIS workers may become proficient and knowledgeable in this Professional Knowledge Domain through training, continuing professional development and professional engagements, the personal lived experience of First Nations LIS workers is non-substitutable, holds unique value and may translate into greater competency and expertise in this area.

This domain focuses on developing the skills and knowledges in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts, understanding the priorities and needs of Indigenous people in the context of redressing harms from colonisation and developing approaches supported by Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. 

Current knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professional knowledge as it relates to the library and information environment includes: 

  • Indigenous information and knowledge systems
  • principles of Indigenous rights to self-determination and sovereignty
  • Indigenous information initiatives, policies and protocols, such as the ATSILIRN Protocols and Right of Reply
  • history and legacy of colonisation and impacts on Indigenous peoples’ knowledge and information needs
  • Indigenous authority, ownership, control and the protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)
  • relationality, wellbeing and respect in Indigenous information contexts
  • cultural context of the Indigenous library workforce.

See the First Nations Domains page for more information about this domain and its development.

Current knowledge and understanding of the strategies and practices that contribute to the development of strong communities, including:

  • ethical issues associated with working with a wide range of client groups and third parties 
  • awareness of cultures, histories and contemporary realities of communities and understanding of protocols to engage effectively in diverse cultural contexts
  • awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols, contemporary realities and the need and means to engage and work effectively in Indigenous contexts
  • commitment to inclusion of diverse communities 
  • community information and recreation needs
  • information resources, programs and services designed to support community engagement and social inclusion
  • principles of community development and evaluation strategies for community engagement
  • relationships and alliances achieved through consultation, liaison and partnering with other groups and organisations
  • building and maintaining engagement with stakeholders
  • fulfilling the role of placemaking, cultivating a sense of place and creating safe spaces in both physical and digital environments

Current knowledge and understanding of different kinds of research activities in the library and information sector, including:

  • the importance of evidence-based information practice to support decision making at all levels
  • quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • conducting research projects including, quality improvement, evaluation and innovation projects
  • dissemination, translation and sharing of research findings into industry practice
  • engagement with research outputs and practice including through communities of practice and practitioner research
  • critical appraisal and synthesis of research literature 
  • interpretation and presentation of data and statistical analyses
  • scholarly communications and an understanding of open access, open science, open data, rights retention, FAIR and CARE principles, and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)
  • awareness of Indigenous research methodologies and their application in LIS


In this domain, the emphasis is on leadership at all levels, all job titles and on projects and initiatives big and small. It is about fostering a culture in which leadership qualities and a sense of ownership can develop. Current knowledge and understanding of the principles of leadership including:

  • delivering innovative service and practice improvements
  • program, project and change management
  • facilities and technology management
  • physical and digital library space design
  • leading and inspiring individuals and teams
  • communications, marketing and public relations 
  • advocacy and influencing key stakeholders
  • development and application of policies and procedures
  • incorporating principles of sustainability into practice 
  • risk assessment.


  • governance and accountability
  • the value of organisational policies and procedures
  • people management and development, including equity, multicultural, diversity and cultural issues
  • risk management and workplace health and safety
  • strategic, business and workforce planning
  • budgets, financial management and fiscal accountability
  • business continuity and disaster management.

The ALIA Library and Information Services Workforce Framework Explanatory Materials