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.

Applied Data Science  | Digital Preservation | Research Data Management  | 

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. 

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Applied Data Science 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.

 

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 and Knowledge Organization

Information and Knowledge Organization (IKO) 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.

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Information and Knowledge Organization pathway document..

User Experience in Libraries, Museums and Archives

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.