The World of Information
Location and Facilities
For decades, scholars and futurists have predicted a knowledge revolution. Those predictions have come to life dramatically in recent years. We live in an information age, an age in which the ability to generate and access new knowledge has become a key d river of social and economic growth. This conviction is powerfully reflected in the development of internetworking and in the feverish spate of takeovers, strategic alliances, and joint ventures in the telecommunications, cable, and computer industries, a s the major players position themselves to be in the vanguard of the digital revolution. Such developments are transforming both scholarly and lay perceptions of the value of information.
In many developed nations, the information sector is among the fastest growing segments of the economy. The growth of a dynamic global information industry has created a wealth of opportunities for information professionals, but it has also helped throw i nto relief a raft of complex public policy issues, such as privacy and cyber surveillance, privatization of government-held information resources, the management of intellectual property rights, and the emergence of a digital divide, all of which call for rigorous and informed policy analysis.
The signs of a new age are everywhere: the World Wide Web and electronic commerce, personal computers in the classroom, interactive media in the home, virtual universities, electronic publishing, digital libraries. The statistics are irresistible; the amo unt of information produced in the last decade alone is greater than all the information created in past millennia. The rhetoric of the Information Age has become reality. And that reality translates into unprecedented career opportunities for information professionals who know how to organize, manage, and exploit knowledge assets; who combine analytic and technical skills with a sense of the strategic value of information to organizations of all kinds.
The economic and social well-being of nations depend increasingly on their ability to generate and access new knowledge. The "informatization" of society is creating demand for specialists who will function as information resource managers and act as guid es, interpreters, mediators, brokers, and quality controllers for the ultimate user, who might be a corporate executive, a scientist, or a schoolchild. Today's information professionals do not merely store and locate information, they also analyze and syn thesize raw data to produce customized, value-added services and products for a diverse clientele. The field offers a kaleidoscope of career tracks from which to choose: Web design, information systems analysis, database design and marketing, information brokering, medical informatics, systems librarianship, competitor intelligence analysis, usability testing. In a sense, the opportunities are limited only by the imagination.
On one issue there is widespread agreement: the effective management of information systems and resources is critical to successful organizational performance. That is as true of a Fortune 500 corporation as of a hospital or a small liberal arts college. Information resources include, but are by no means synonymous with, the materials held in libraries, archives, and documentation centers. In the Digital Age, organizations of all kinds are waking up to the fact that intellectual capital is one of their mo st important resources - the basis of comparative advantage and superior service delivery. It is this awareness, as much as the highly visible information technologies, that is responsible for transforming the ways in which business, commerce, professiona l affairs, and contemporary scholarship are being conducted.
Libraries, too, are changing. Once passive storehouses, they have in some cases become active agents of social change and early adopters of new information and communication technologies. The range of materials and media they handle has diversified enormo usly in the last decade. Access to full-text databases, networked resources, and multimedia information systems has become the norm in a matter of years, fueled in no small measure by the prodigious growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web. The next few years promise even greater advances - global digital libraries, intelligent interfaces, interactive books, collaboratories, intelligent agents, virtual reality. Indiana University's School of Library and Information Science is responding to the challe nge with a flexible and forward-looking curriculum, which stresses the social, behavioral, and cultural aspects of information design and use.
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The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Indiana University ranks consistently in the top five or ten programs in North America, and its master's and doctoral enrollments are among the largest in the nation. In a recent six-year survey of s cholarly productivity and impact, the school was ranked number one (Library Quarterly, April 2000). The M.L.S. (Master of Library Science) degree has been accredited continuously since 1953. The pioneering M.I.S. (Master of Information Science) degree add s another avenue of entry to the information professions. In addition to these two accredited programs, the school offers a Ph.D. in Information Science, a Specialist (post-master's) degree in Library and Information Science, specializations in African St udies Librarianship, Chemical Information, Music Librarianship, Special Collections, and a dual M.L.S./Doctor of Jurisprudence program with the School of Law. There are also dual master's degree programs with the Schools of Fine Arts, Journalism, Music, a nd Public and Environmental Affairs, and the Departments of Comparative Literature, History, History and Philosophy of Science, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Russian and East European Studies. Course work leading to certification in public lib raries and in school media is also available.
At SLIS we bring fresh insights to bear on information design, access, and policy issues by looking at information and information technologies in diverse human contexts. We seek to understand the behaviors, cognitive factors, social practices, media, and tools that foster and hinder effective information use. We place a strong emphasis on the social and behavioral dimensions of information technology.
SLIS has a full-time faculty of 18, supplemented by a distinguished emeritus, visiting, and adjunct faculty.
The School of Library and Information Science is located on the Bloomington campus. All students have access to the extraordinary physical and human resources of Indiana University, including one of the largest university computing networks in the world a nd a university library system that ranks thirteenth in the nation in terms of its holdings. Included in this system is the prestigious Lilly Library, which is internationally known for its rare books, manuscripts, and special collections.
The IU School of Library and Information Science is a member of the Association for Library and Information Science Education, the American Library Association, the American Society for Information Science, and the Special Libraries Association. It mainta ins affiliation with a number of other national and international bodies in library and information science.
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The first organized library science curriculum at Indiana University, a program for the preparation of school librarians, was offered by the School of Education in the summer of 1930. In 1938 this curriculum was expanded and made available in the regular school year as well as during the summer session.
In 1947 the Division of Library Science was established within the School of Education. A basic undergraduate curriculum in library science concerned with the fundamental processes common to all types of libraries was offered as a minor within the four-ye ar program leading to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Arts and Sciences or to the Bachelor of Science in Education degree in the School of Education.
Fifty Years of Graduate Education in Library and Information Science:1949-99
A five-year program leading to the Master of Arts with a major in library science, granted by the Graduate School, was created in 1949, and a Ph.D. program in library and information science was established in 1964.
In 1966 the Trustees of Indiana University established the Graduate Library School and the professional degree Master of Library Science (M.L.S.), replacing the Master of Arts degree granted by the Graduate School. The Specialist degree program was added to the curriculum in 1978. In 1980 the name of the school was officially changed to School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). The addition of the Master of Information Science (M.I.S.) degree in 1995 reflects the school's continuing commitment to change.
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The school provides students with an understanding of the conceptual foundations of librarianship and information science and of the multifaceted nature of the wider information environment. It prepares students with a rich mix of knowledge, attitudes, an d skills necessary to function as critical thinkers and effective communicators. Graduates should have a strong grounding in theory and the ability to translate theory into effective practice.
To provide a proper setting for the implementation of this mission, the school promotes the advancement of knowledge, both theoretical and applied, through active programs of research and scholarly publication. The school also provides service within the university and to the local, national, and international communities through contributions to, and leadership in, associations and organizations and by assuming consulting, advising, publishing, and other professional roles. This leadership by example is considered essential in providing a framework in which the goals of the program can be pursued effectively.
The school also provides opportunities for students to seek educational experiences involving the development of the specialized skills currently emphasized in information-providing agencies and other organizations. The development of these skills often h ighlights current trends in information systems and information management that serve to assist the student in career planning. Such educational experiences are gained through selection of elective courses from the School of Library and Information Scienc e, through cooperation with other graduate programs of the university, and through seminars, workshops, conferences, group projects, internships, and practicum experiences.
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The School of Library and Information Science is housed in the Main Library on the Bloomington campus. The school's facilities include a dedicated computer laboratory, lecture and seminar rooms, and a library and information science library.
Both the School of Library and Information Science and Indiana University as a whole are very technology-intensive environments, so the opportunities for learning and working with state-of-the-art technology are numerous.
The School of Library and Information Science maintains two computer labs for use by any student enrolled in SLIS courses. In addition, the school supports a lab dedicated to use by SLIS Ph.D. students. Technology plays a central role in library and infor mation science research and practice; therefore SLIS devotes significant resources to ensure that students have access to up-to-date hardware and software. The technology staff provides students with opportunities to learn and use current and emerging tec hnologies that will be essential to their professional development. SLIS computing labs are open approximately 80 hours per week, with consultants generally on duty to assist students. Additionally, the technology staff offers workshops focusing on new de velopments of interest to the SLIS community.
SLIS maintains its own server room, which houses several NT, Mac, and UNIX servers. These provide services ranging from hosting the SLIS Web site to ensuring the school is in compliance with software licensing agreements. One UNIX server is dedicated to s tudent use and provides advanced capabilities, such as large-scale streaming video, programming and cgi hosting not offered elsewhere on campus. Individual classes have access to other servers as needed, and an independent study project recently set up a permanent, student-administered Linux server.
SLIS, the University Information and Technology Services, and the University Libraries jointly support the usability lab housed at SLIS. This state of the art facility supports the systematic observation of human-computer interaction (HCI). With cameras recording users' facial expressions and physical movements, and system responses directly captured by digital recording, the complete process of interaction can be reviewed and analyzed. Students and researchers use the lab to learn about usability evaluation methods, to identify user problems with software interfaces, and to test ideas for new designs.
As a part of Indiana University, consistently rated one of the most "wired" university systems in the nation, every member of the SLIS community has access to a vast array of computing and information technology resources. SLIS partners with other IU schools and departments to ensure that the SLIS community continues to enjoy access to university-wide resources.
Using the Virtual Indiana Classroom (VIC) and Indiana Higher Education Television System (IHETS), SLIS delivers courses and workshops-designed to meet certification requirements and professional continuing education needs-to various locations throughout the state. Many of these courses offered through distance education may be applied to a SLIS degree program, provided the student has been admitted and meets all other requirements.
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