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Information Resources and Library Science Program Revamped

Posted by Editor on April 14, 2010

The School of Information Resources and Library Sciences has revamped its digital information technology program to better train would-be graduates to manage digitized information and media.

From UA News: http://uanews.org/node/30233

The UA School of Information Resources and Library Science, which is hosting a series of public events this month, has reorganized its undergraduate digital information studies program to focus more on contemporary issues facing librarians.

By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications April 13, 2010

Some librarians and historians warn that in an increasingly digitized world, material in paper or analog formats may be at risk of becoming invisible.

Yet others emphasize that adequately preserving digital documents while also maintaining quality and access remains an unresolved challenge.

It’s an issue that affects every discipline and, increasingly, results in legal concerns, said Peter Botticelli, an assistant professor of practice at the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science, or SIRLS.

“There definitely is an emphasis now on digital information within higher education, and it’s crucial to what we’re doing at SIRLS,” Botticelli said.

Students interested in library science, Botticelli said, are increasingly drawn to coursework focused on digitization in the field. Consequently, one of the school’s programs has been revamped to focus more heavily on training students to work in the digital realm.

SIRLS has offered a graduate certificate program, Digital Information Management, or DigIn, that focuses on digital material since 2006. The school also has reformed its undergraduate minor in information resources and library sciences, introducing contemporary rather than traditional modes of library service.

“Everyone should be interested in how to manage information, no matter what field they are in,” said Leslie Kent Kunkel, the assistant director of SIRLS.

“There is this huge shift occurring throughout society, from analog to digital, and that has affected everything – in particular how we collect, organize and distribute information,” Kunkel added.

The minor is open to UA juniors and seniors, requiring 18 units of upper-division coursework with most of the classes being offered online.

Students in the program study the “digital revolution,” information quality, Web-based searching, ways to develop and manage databases, policies and practices related to digital information and understanding ways information technologies are incorporated into people’s lives.

“I think our program (DigIn) is at a point where it can move in different directions and has growth potential,” Botticelli said.

SIRLS also offers master’s and doctoral programs and a scholarship program called Knowledge River. DigIn and Knowledge River are funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“Fields are being revolutionized because a lot more data is becoming available, but it needs to be professionally managed and the skills needed to do this are in short supply,” Botticelli said.

“There are all sorts of convergences,” he said, speaking about the pervasive nature of database usage. “And especially for libraries and archives, this is very important.”

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