Kent State University Home to Ohio’s First ‘iSchool’

SLIS Joins Esteemed International Organization

Kent State University can now lay claim to Ohio’s only iSchool.

The School of Library and Information Science has been accepted as a member of the esteemed, international iSchool organization, which includes 77 information schools worldwide.

“The iSchool designation recognizes the leadership role the School of Library and Information Science has played in its innovative approaches to conducting research and preparing graduates who can create opportunities in and address the challenges of an information-based digital society,” Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information, said.

Created in 2005, the nonprofit iSchools organization is an “international consortium of information schools in institutions of higher education dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st century and their shared fundamental interest in the relationships between information, people, and technology” (ischools.org).

As an iSchool member, the School of Library and Information Science can take advantage of opportunities for global collaboration in research and discussions related to shared interests and challenges. The School’s director will participate in annual iSchool organizational meetings held in conjunction with the prestigious iConference, where scholars, researchers and professionals share insights on critical information issues in contemporary society. Several faculty members from the School of Library and Information Science have presented at previous iConferences and hold leadership roles in its special interest groups.

Kendra S. Albright, Ph.D., director of the School of Library and Information Science, said, “Our students and graduates will certainly benefit from the new iSchool designation. Kent State SLIS already enjoys an international reputation as an innovator in the transformation of public information culture for the 21st century. The faculty have demonstrated leadership in developing and implementing new knowledge organization systems such as linked data, as well as in other key areas of research, such as human-information interaction; cultural heritage and archives; human-information behavior; and social media studies.

“The discipline of information science is essential to addressing issues of library transformation -- including universal access and user-centered organization of information -- and we will remain committed to this as a priority area for study and continued innovation.”

Kent State’s SLIS is the university’s largest graduate degree program, with more than 800 students enrolled in two master’s degree programs. It has one of the largest American Library Association-accredited programs in the nation, and the only Master of Library and Information Science degree in Ohio, which consistently ranks among the nation's the top 20, according to U.S. News and World Report. 

SLIS faculty conduct groundbreaking research in such areas as how books paired with technology are changing the reading experience for young people and adults; management, groups, and teams in information agencies; information literacy; digital youth; digital preservation; social informatics; and museum studies, in addition to the previously mentioned research strengths. Kent State SLIS also has received acclaim for its outstanding history of and continued commitment to pioneering education and research in the information environment of children and youth -- witnessed by its long-standing Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth, the longest-running conference of its kind in the U.S. The School's contribution to global developments in this area represents an essential and unique domain for information science, not covered by other disciplines.

The Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management, launched in 2001, is evidence of the school’s early leadership in offering an interdisciplinary approach to information science. The M.S. offers concentrations in the emerging fields of health informatics, knowledge management and user experience design. The School has an endowed professorship in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM), funded by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and is currently seeking new leadership for the next phase of development in that area.

In addition, the school participates in an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the College of Communication and Information. SLIS faculty regularly teach in the program and advise doctoral students. Recent (or in process) students have researched in such areas as “Descriptive Phenomenological Investigation of the Academic Information Search Process Experience of Remedial Undergraduate Students”; “Linked Data in VRA Core 4.0”; “Query Suggestion and System Performance”; “Visualization of FRBR-based information”; and “Online Data Privacy and Trust Survey.”

For more information, visit www.kent.edu/slis.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 2:09pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 1:54pm