The School of Information (SI)
or iSchool at the University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...
in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census places the population at 113,934, making it the sixth largest city in Michigan. The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 344,791 as of 2010...
is a graduate school offering both a Master of Science in Information (MSI) and a Doctor of Information (Ph.D.).
Its field of study is information: how it is created, identified, collected, structured, managed, preserved, accessed, processed, and presented; how it is used in different environments, with different technologies, and over time. The school's stated mission is "connecting people, information, and technology in more valuable ways."
The School of Information is part of a growing list of i-schools
devoted to the study of information as a discipline. These institutions have varied histories, some being newly created, others developing from earlier schools or departments focused on library and information science (as with SI), computer science, communications, or information technology. The school was the first of these institutions to relabel itself a "school of information".
In 2008, the School of Information, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
The University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts is the liberal arts and sciences unit of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Established in 1841 with seven students and two teachers, the college is currently the largest unit at U-M in terms of the number of students...
and the College of Engineering
The University of Michigan College of Engineering is the engineering unit of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. With an enrollment of 5,514 undergraduate and 2,646 graduate students as of 2009, the College of Engineering is one of the premier engineering schools in the United States...
unveiled a new undergraduate major called informatics.
The Master of Science in Information (MSI) degree is a 48-credit hour professional degree built on a core curriculum of "foundations" courses that synthesize content and methodology from library and information science
Library and information science is a merging of the two fields library science and information science...
, computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...
, the humanities, and the social sciences. Real-world engagement is a hallmark of the master's program: all students are required to complete internships or mentorship
Mentorship refers to a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person....
s in the field.
The MSI program is highly interdisciplinary, featuring faculty from a wide range of academic fields. It draws students from diverse undergraduate majors, ranging from the arts and humanities to science and engineering.
Master's students may specialize in the following areas, or opt for a self-designed curriculum under the guidance of a faculty member.
- Archives and Records Management (ARM)
- Community Informatics (CI)
- Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
- Information Economics for Management (IEM)
- Library and Information Science
Library and information science is a merging of the two fields library science and information science...
- Information Analysis and Retrieval (IAR)
- Information Policy (IPOL)
- Preservation of Information (PI)
- Social computing
Social computing is a general term for an area of computer science that is concerned with the intersection of social behavior and computational systems. It has become an important concept for use in business. It is used in two ways as detailed below....
- School Library Media (SLM)
The school's doctoral program is a full-time course of study, typically four years post-baccalaureate, leading to the Doctor of Information (Ph.D.). The program is designed to enable students to engage in advanced study and research in a various information fields such as the economics of information, human-computer interaction, library and information services, organizational issues, archives and records management, new systems architecture, digital libraries, information systems management, and digital documents/digital publishing.
Faculty and research
Faculty at the school are drawn from an unusually wide range of academic backgrounds including linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....
, public policy
Public policy as government action is generally the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and...
, computer science, library and information science, management, law, business, economics, psychology, history, and communications.
The school's faculty and students are active in research, pursuing projects in various areas and methods. Their stated goal is to develop an integrated understanding of human needs in relation to information systems and social structures, searching for unifying principles that illuminate the role of information in computation, cognition, communication, and community.
The school's infrastructure includes a range of research facilities and equipment. Researchers also have access to a number of off-campus research sites. Projects are often collaborations with researchers from other units at the university.
Established and emerging areas of research at the school include:
- archives and records management
Records management, or RM, is the practice of maintaining the records of an organization from the time they are created up to their eventual disposal...
- community informatics
- community technology
Community technology is the practice of synergizing the efforts of individuals, community technology centers and national organizations with federal policy initiatives around broadband, information access, education, and economic development....
- digital libraries
A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks...
- digital preservation
Digital preservation is the set of processes, activities and management of digital information over time to ensure its long term accessibility. The goal of digital preservation is to preserve materials resulting from digital reformatting, and particularly information that is born-digital with no...
- documenting cultural heritage and social memory
- electronic commerce
Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce, eCommerce or e-comm, refers to the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. However, the term may refer to more than just buying and selling products online...
- health informatics
.Health informatics is a discipline at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care...
- human-computer interaction
- human-information interaction
- incentive-centered design
- information access
Information access is a term used to describe an area of research at the intersection of informatics, Information Science, Information Security, Language Technology, Computer Science, and library science....
- information analysis and retrieval
- information and organizational systems
- information architecture
Information architecture is the art of expressing a model or concept of information used in activities that require explicit details of complex systems. Among these activities are library systems, Content Management Systems, web development, user interactions, database development, programming,...
- information behavior and use
- information diffusion
- information economics
Information economics or the economics of informationis a branch of microeconomic theory that studies how information affects an economy and economic decisions. Information has special characteristics. It is easy to create but hard to trust. It is easy to spread but hard to control. It...
- information filtering
- information infrastructure
An information infrastructure is defined by Hanseth as "a shared, evolving, open, standardized, and heterogeneous installed base" and by Pironti as all of the people, processes, procedures, tools, facilities, and technology which supports the creation, use, transport, storage, and destruction of...
- information policy
- information retrieval
Information retrieval is the area of study concerned with searching for documents, for information within documents, and for metadata about documents, as well as that of searching structured storage, relational databases, and the World Wide Web...
- information systems
Information Systems is an academic/professional discipline bridging the business field and the well-defined computer science field that is evolving toward a new scientific area of study...
- information use in communities
- information visualization and representation
Information visualization is the interdisciplinary study of "the visual representation of large-scale collections of non-numerical information, such as files and lines of code in software systems, library and bibliographic databases, networks of relations on the internet, and so forth".- Overview...
- knowledge management
Knowledge management comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences...
- library and information services
- library science
Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the...
- natural language processing
Natural language processing is a field of computer science and linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human languages; it began as a branch of artificial intelligence....
- network theory
Network theory is an area of computer science and network science and part of graph theory. It has application in many disciplines including statistical physics, particle physics, computer science, biology, economics, operations research, and sociology...
- organizational learning
Organizational learning is an area of knowledge within organizational theory that studies models and theories about the way an organization learns and adapts....
- organizational productivity
- pervasive and ubiquitous computing
- social capital
Social capital is a sociological concept, which refers to connections within and between social networks. The concept of social capital highlights the value of social relations and the role of cooperation and confidence to get collective or economic results. The term social capital is frequently...
- technology-mediated collaboration
- telecommunications policy
- trust and recommender systems
- user-centered design
In broad terms, user-centered design or pervasive usability is a design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process...
Before 1992, the School of Information was the School of Information and Library Studies. In 1992, the president of the University of Michigan, James Duderstadt appointed Daniel E. Atkins III as the dean of the school. Under the direction of Dr. Atkins and with support from Duderstadt and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the school became the School of Information with the intent to reach beyond traditional library science arena. The School of Information was officially established in 1996 offering a master's of science in information with some specializations (library and information science, archives and record management, human computer interaction, information economics management and policy, and a tailored program).