Library & Information Science

Library and information science is a meta-discipline, spanning what are considered traditional academic research disciplines (e.g., economics, biology, history, etc.). The theories and practices in library and information science are applied across disciplines. They are varied and many.

    Options for Study

    Admissions

    Learn more about this program's application requirements.

    Careers

    Find out more about career resources for students and graduates of our library and information science degree.

    Information Professionals Duties

    Some of the duties performed by information professionals include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

    • Curate collections for groups, whether local public populations, engineers building cars, or scholars in universities.
    • Educate people on the availability and applicability of information resources.
    • Organize information for more effective and efficient access and discovery.
    • Preserve our cultural heritage.
    • Present and make accessible the various collections of information.
    • Build and manage information retrieval systems using user-centered design principles.
    • Prepare our youth to become better scholars and citizens, and help them develop a long-standing productive relationship with information and knowledge.
    • Study information needs and seeking behavior to develop better services for various groups.
    • Consider the ethical and philosophical issues related to information, such as access and privacy.
    • Manage and improve information environments.
    • Facilitate the creation and sharing of information and knowledge with people and communities.

    Pathways of Study

    Applied Data Science

    Specialization in Applied Data Science (ADS) emphasizes users, tools, and applications in the Data Science Lifecycles. The ADS pathway prepares students for a career in Data Science with practical skills to solve real-world data problems at application levels, rather than computational level or system development level. It offers training of information science and knowledge organization principles and hands-on skills to solve data problems in application domains and use related tools and products effectively. 

    In addition to the M.L.I.S. core requirements, students in this pathway should add courses such as the following foundation courses to their elective requirements.  

    Foundational Courses

    LIS 60510 Digital Technologies I: Data Fundamentals (1 credit)

    LIS 60511 Digital Technologies II: Internet Fundamentals (1 credit)

    LIS 60512 Digital Technologies III: Systems Fundamentals (1 credit)

    LIS 50645 Database Fundamentals for Information Professionals (3 credits)

    DSCI 64210 Data Science (3 credits)

    DSCI 64010 Data Architecture (3 credits)

    LIS 60636 Knowledge Organization Structures, Systems and Services (3 credits)

    KM 60370 Semantic Analysis Methods (3 credits)

    Download the full pathway document to see additional recommended courses, related competencies, sample job titles, professional associations, and journals.

    ADS-Related Professional Associations

    Sample Job Titles

    Data Analyst ● Data and Information Visualization Librarian ● Data Curation Librarian ● Data Librarian ● Data Management Specialist ● Data Science Librarian ● Data Scientist ● Data Services Librarian ● Data Services Specialist ● Data Strategist ● Data Visualization/Data Analyst ● Digital Scholarship Librarian ● Digital Solutions Data Scientist ● Manager, Data Science and Analytics ● Research Data Librarian ● Research Data Manager ● The Digital Testing, Analytics & Optimization Manager 

    Cultural Heritage Informatics

    Cultural heritage informatics (CHI) is an emerging field of interdisciplinary research and practice concerned with the role of information and computing technologies (ICTs) to support the creation, capture, organization, and pluralization of culture, in whatever form, as heritage.

    Cultural heritage stewardship encompasses numerous allied disciplines including archival studies, librarianship, preservation of heritage materials, and museum studies. They share a common goal of the protection of cultural heritage in all forms, both tangible and intangible.

    While there is a focus on existing data, datasets, and metadata and ways to link them, CHI also necessarily includes identification and exploration into appraisal, data capture, preservation, data processing, curation, forensics and reconstruction, visualization, documentation, access and discoverability, as well as development of innovative technologies to empower and support engagement with ICTs as tools for communication and remembering of culture.

    Pathways

    Archival Studies | Museum Studies | Special Collections

    Archival Studies

    Archivists are information professionals who assess, collect, organize, preserve, maintain control over, and provide access to records and archives determined to have long-term value. The records maintained by an archivist can consist of a variety of analog and digital forms and documentary genres, including letters, diaries, logs, various other writings, official documents, photographs and other visual materials, sound recordings, and moving images. According to archival scholar Laura Millar, “these records are kept because they have continuing value to the creating agency and to other potential users. They are the documentary evidence of past events. They are the facts we use to interpret and understand history.” Archival material can be found in many institutions and organizations, as well as in personal collections, thus archivists work in a wide variety of environments.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Archival Studies pathway.

    Museum Studies

    There is no agreed-upon single word to describe all museum workers. For lack of that word, here we use museum professional. But this field-wide disagreement perhaps arises because there is not one profession, but several museal professions that consist of a range of activities undertaken in a museum (e.g., collections work, administration, visitor services, exhibit design). In this program, we approach the education of museum professionals in a holistic way, from a museological perspective, that provides education in the whole range of activities, skills, and theory about/in museums. This is done in the broader context of information science, rather than from a specific content area; that is, the framework is from LIS but specific knowledge and skills are museum-focused. Students are taught within a broader context, one that understands that LIS is about the interaction of people and information and this foundation cuts across all types of information institutions and information work. The intent of this specialization is to embed and integrate the thinking and training across information institutions such as libraries, museums, and archives. For this reason, there are many pathways a student can take that includes museum studies.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Museum Studies pathway.

    Special Collections

    In library science, special collections are libraries or library units that house materials requiring specialized security and user services. Special collections can also be found in archival and museum environments, although they may not be described as such. Materials housed in special collections can be in any format (including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, archives, ephemera, and digital records), and are generally characterized by their artifactual or monetary value, physical format, uniqueness or rarity, and/or an institutional commitment to long-term preservation and access. They can also include association with important figures or institutions in history, culture, politics, sciences, or the arts. Individual libraries, archival institutions, and other cultural heritage organizations determine for themselves what materials constitute their own special collections.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Special Collections pathway.


    Data Information Technology

    Data, information and technology are central in modern libraries and information services. This cluster encompasses the essential foundational knowledge that prepares emerging professionals for careers in the continuously evolving information environment. All pathways in this area build from foundational studies in digital technologies, organized to focus on data, the Internet, and information systems. Students may elect to specialize in one of five areas, or with an advisor’s guidance, plan a specialized path. Students interested in the creation, storage, and accessibility of digital information resources focus on digital libraries. The long-term accessibility of digital resources is a key concern, addressed by professionals specializing in digital preservation. With the advent and evolution of globally massive data repositories, the challenges of data management are addressed by specialists in the practices of data production and data usage. Data repositories are generated by a variety of sources - scientific research, government, business, and modern information systems such as social networks, the Internet of Things, and citizen science. These swelling resources offer rich potential for the development of new knowledge when combined with the skills of professional data analytics. Across data, information, and technology practices, specialists in evaluation bring rigorous analysis methods to questions about how well information systems are meeting the needs of service providers and user communities.

    Data Analytics  | Digital Libraries  | Digital Preservation | Research Data Management  | User-Centered Evaluation

    Data Analytics

    In recent years, we have heard many buzzwords such as big data and data science in academia. The common denominator of all of them is the great need for data analytics skills. The pervasive nature of big data and cloud technologies is not limited to computer science or informatics; it touches upon many disciplines. The McKinsey Global Institute has predicted that by 2018 the U.S. could face a shortage of between 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, and a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts who know how to leverage data analysis to make effective decisions. The demand for such skills has been on a steady rise and most predictions about the job market suggest such skills are expected to be the most valuable and well-paid in the future. Specialization in this area requires understanding of data collection, extraction, processing, and analysis. Therefore, courses covering data wrangling, inferential statistics, data mining, machine learning, and data management are necessary for this track.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Data Analytics pathway.

    Digital Libraries

    Digital Libraries are a central service area in libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural, civic, and business institutions. Jobs in this area are found in traditional collection-focused roles, and in newer user-centered roles. Specialization in this area requires understanding the fundamentals of digital technology and the essential functional components that comprise DLs: collection policy, digitization, description using metadata, digital library management systems, and Web-based exposure, integration, and retrieval of digital resources. In addition, all of these components must be understood in the context of digital library users and their needs.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Digital Libraries pathway

    Digital Preservation

    According to the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services, “Digital preservation combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure access to reformatted and born digital content regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change. The goal of digital preservation is the accurate rendering of authenticated content over time.” Students wishing to focus in the digital preservation area will pursue specialized coursework in information technology, digital preservation and curation, archival studies, and metadata schemas and application profiles for preservation.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Digital Preservation pathway.

    Research Data Management

    Research data management is a growing area. Data management of large data sets and longitudinal research data involves a diverse range of skills, including working and communicating directly with scientists, project managers, field staff, library staff, and dataset users. Data management positions can require: managing daily workflows of information, supervising the checking and validity of the data, managing data dictionaries and taxonomies, responsibility for training and defining vocabularies and systems, managing data requests from a range of stakeholders and third parties, and maintaining intellectual control over a range of data types and datasets over time.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Research Data Management pathway.

    User-Centered Evaluation

    Modern libraries, museums and archives use a broad range of information systems that produce valuable data for understanding how, when, and where specific services and resources are used. In an era of scarce funding, it is essential that LAMs gather and understand evidence for the value of existing services and for patron needs that are unmet or under provisioned. “Evidence-based” professional practice requires training in methods of gathering, analyzing and reporting on user needs, current practices, and predicted outcomes to propose and manage changing to services. Crossing disciplinary areas, study in user-centered evaluation provides students with a solid foundation for entering this emerging and essential area of the information professions.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the User-Centered Evaluation pathway.

    Digital Humanities

    Digital humanities (DH) is a rapidly growing field—an area of scholarly activity at the intersection of digital technologies and the disciplines of the humanities. This pathway is designed to prepare students for careers in the new generation of information professionals who will collaborate in research, teaching, and professional development in DH. You will gain knowledge and skills in the systematic use of digital resources in the humanities and the application of cutting‐edge digital information technology and methods. Career possibilities include roles in DH centers (many of which are hosted in academic libraries), educational units that provide DH educational programs, and cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) that serve humanities scholars, students, and users. 

    Considering the variety of backgrounds that our MLIS students possess, this pathway gives flexibility so that students can build upon their prior knowledge and make a custom pathway by choosing among a broad range of electives. 

    In addition to the M.L.I.S. core requirements, students in this pathway should add courses such as the following foundation courses to their elective requirements.  

    Foundational Courses

    LIS 60635 Cultural Heritage Informatics (3  credits)

    Digital Technologies 

    LIS 60510 Digital Technologies I: Data Fundamentals (1 credit)

    LIS 60511 Digital Technologies II: Internet Fundamentals (1 credit) 

    LIS 60512 Digital Technologies III: Information Systems Fundamentals (1 credit) 

    LIS 60631 Introduction to Digital Preservation (3  credits) 

    LIS 60633 Digital Curation (3  credits) 

    LIS 60651 Digital Image Processing and Collection Management (3  credits) 

    LIS 61095 (Special Topics) Linked Data (3  credits)

    Contexts 

    LIS 60615 The Academic Library (3  credits) 

    LIS 60654 Preservation and Conservation of Heritage Materials (3  credits) 

    LIS 60665 Rare Books & Special Collections (3  credits) 

    LIS 61095 (Special Topics) Introduction to Audiovisual Archiving (1 credit) 

    LIS 60700 Foundations of Museum Studies (3  credits) 

    LIS 60701 Museum Collections (3  credits) 

    Research 

    KM 60370 Semantic Analysis Methods (3  credits) 

    LIS 60613 Information Needs, Seeking and Use (key) (3  credits) 

    LIS 60636 Knowledge Organization Systems, Structures and Services (3  credits)

    LIS 61095 (Special Topics) Applied Quantitative Methods for Research and Management in the Information Professions (3  credits) 

    UXD 60001 User Experience Design Principles and Concepts (3  credits)

    Download the full pathway document  to see additional recommended courses, related competencies, sample job titles, professional associations, and journals.

    Information Access and Discovery

    At its core, Information Access and Discovery is about connecting people with information. It forms the foundation of reference and readers advisory services in public, academic, and special libraries. Information services include all the functions performed by a trained librarian employed in the reference section of a library to meet the information needs of patrons (in person, by telephone, or electronically).

    This work includes but is not limited to answering substantive questions; instructing users in the selection and use of appropriate tools and techniques for finding information; conducting searches on behalf of the patron; directing users to the location of library resources; assisting in the evaluation of information; referring patrons to resources outside the library when appropriate; keeping reference statistics; and participating in the development of the reference collection. (Source: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science.)

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Information Access and Discovery pathway.

    Information Organization

    Information Organization (IO) is concerned with the standards, processes, practices, and associated technologies for representation and organization of information objects for future access, use, and discoverability in any environment. There are a number of career paths within the information organization domain. You can select one or can combine more than one to create your plan of study.

    Archival Description  | Cataloging & Metadata  | Indexing & Abstracting  | Metadata Design & Architecture  | Museum Documentation/Cultural Object Cataloging  | Taxonomy/Ontology/Semantic Analysis

    Archival Description Professional

    Archival description experts are information professionals responsible for capturing, collating, analyzing, and organizing any information that serves to identify, manage, locate, and interpret the holdings of archival institutions and explain the contexts and records systems from which those holdings were selected. Professionals in archival description will be familiar with archival description theory and practices, such as provenance, original order, and hierarchical arrangement and description. They will also be familiar with descriptive standards such as Describing Archives, Encoded Archival Description, and Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families. Additionally, they will also be conversant with related bibliographic and archival standards where applicable, such as Resource Description and Access, MARC, and Dublin Core, and descriptive standards for other types of cultural heritage such as cultural objects, moving image and sound archives, and visual material.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Archival Description Professional pathway.

    Cataloging & Metadata Professional

    Information professionals responsible for the representation of resources of all types in libraries, digital libraries, special collections, and other information settings; creation of bibliographic and metadata records, database maintenance; authority work and vocabulary construction; bibliographic and authority data processing, analysis, and visualizations of bibliographic data. Whether cataloging in a library environment or creating metadata in any environment, cataloging and metadata professionals will be familiar with resource description theory and practices, relevant description standards and metadata schemas, such as Resource Description and Access (RDA), Dublin Core, and Visual Resource Association (VRA) Core, and linked data principles. They will be familiar with categorization, classification, and representation theories, knowledge organization systems (KOS) such as classification schemas, subject vocabularies, name authority files, and genre terminology. In addition, they will be familiar with record structures, frameworks, and encoding schemas such as RDF, XML, MARC, and BIBFRAME.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Cataloging & Metadata Professional pathway.

    Indexing & Abstracting Professional

    Information professionals responsible for subject representation of textual and non-textual resources, analysis and defining concepts and relationships between concepts, controlled vocabulary construction.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Indexing & Abstracting Professional pathway.

      

    Metadata Designer and Architect

    Information professionals responsible for creating and maintaining the metadata strategy, roadmap, and metadata standards/policies of an institution. These professionals develop the enterprise or academic metadata strategy and architecture and leverage professional standard practices and solutions to develop and implement metadata schemas, ontologies, taxonomies, authority files, and other fundamental metadata artifacts and capabilities. In addition, they implement policies, guidelines, tools, metrics, and standards for creating, managing, integrating, and transforming metadata, define and implement improvements to the metadata strategy, framework, roadmap and solutions, establish and quantitatively improve metadata and information management effectiveness within the institution, based on analyzing and understanding the organization’s goals, business needs, enterprise architecture and current information management solutions.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Metadata Designer and Architect pathway.

      

    Museum Documentation and Cultural Object Cataloging Professional

    Information professionals engaged in describing and documenting works of art, architecture, cultural artifacts, and images of these objects. These professionals are responsible for keeping accurate information about the objects in their care, including items in museum collections, visual resources collections, archives, and libraries with a primary emphasis on cultural objects. Among other things, professionals may be inputting data about new acquisitions, researching images for catalogues, developing online guides, working as museum registrar, or collections manager. Documentation is essential to all aspects of a museums activities. Collections without adequate documentation are not true “museum” collections.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for Museum Documentation and Cultural Object Cataloging Professional pathway.

      

    Taxonomist / Ontologist / Semantic Analyst

    Information professionals who design, create, and maintain specific controlled vocabularies and structured taxonomies used for organizing, indexing, and retrieving information with the goal to significantly improve the findability and search experience of an institution’s external users and the internal community. In addition, they create knowledge graphs and linked metadata schemes, map metadata, work with linked data, mine for data internally and externally, and collaborate with others on semantic technology projects.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Taxonomist/Ontologist/Semantic Analyst pathway.

    Management and Leadership

    Libraries, museums, archives and other information-centered institutions are organizations that require skilled management and leadership to function well and fulfill their missions. The study of management in these contexts occurs at the intersection of courses focused on specific institution types and courses focused on concepts in management and leadership. Because management and leadership responsibilities exist at all levels of the organization, familiarity with the knowledge and skills within these areas are important for all students.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Management of Information Institutions pathway.

    User Experience In Libraries, Archives and Museums

    User Experience (UX) information professionals are responsible for creating engaging designs (interaction, visual) to improve users' physical and virtual experiences in libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs). They play important roles for investigating user needs and behaviors and developing strategies that make LAM environments increasingly engaging and effective for users. 

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the User Experience (UX) Information Professional pathway.

    Youth Engagement: Information, Culture and Community

    Most public libraries have staff that work specifically with children and youth. While some libraries will have staff that specialize in different age groups (young children, school-age, and teens), other libraries have staff that serve youth from birth to eighteen.

    Staff working in these areas are often expected to have a deep understanding of the literature and other resources that are geared towards youth. They are also often expected to develop and deliver programs, inside and outside of the library, that provide a variety of learning opportunities for the different age groups.

    For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Youth Engagement pathway.

    Students interested in school librarianship, should consult advising materials for the K12 School Library Media programs.