School of Information and Library Science
The School of Information and Library Science (SILS) was founded in 1931 and is one of the most highly regarded programs of its kind in the nation. The school first offered a minor in information systems in 1997 and initiated a major in information science in 2003. UNC–Chapel Hill is the only university in the state offering a bachelor’s degree in information science and is one of only a small number of schools nationwide offering such a program.
Information science is the study of cognitive, social, technological, and organizational roles of information in all its forms. It rests on three foundational pillars:
- content: the substance of the information being created, communicated, stored, and/or transformed;
- people who interact with the content as creators of information, recipients of information, or intermediaries in the communication process; and
- technology used to support the creation, communication, storage, or transformation of the content.
The bachelor of science in information science is designed to prepare its graduates for a variety of careers in the information industry, including information architecture, database design and implementation, Web design and implementation, business systems analyst, and information consulting, as well as for graduate study. The minor in information systems provides students with an understanding of computing, multimedia, electronic information resources, and the Internet that complements their major field of study. Students concentrate their studies in the junior and senior years.
All majors are assigned a faculty advisor upon admission to SILS. Students must meet with their advisor every semester to review their status. The department’s director of undergraduate studies and undergraduate student services coordinator work with current and prospective majors by appointment. Further information on courses, undergraduate research opportunities, the honors program, careers, and graduate schools may be obtained from the SILS website.
Students who are double majoring are encouraged to meet periodically with an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure he or she is making good progress toward completing a second major outside of SILS. Information systems minors are not assigned a faculty advisor from SILS but should continue to meet with their assigned advisor in their major department.
Career Services at SILS assists individuals in all aspects of career development, including assessing strengths and skill sets, developing a job search strategy, and connecting students and alumni with information professionals in their field.
SILS also works closely with University Career Services and its programs and services, including on-campus recruiting for both summer internships and professional positions. Students are encouraged to take advantage of both the offerings from Handshake as well as targeted events for SILS students.
Preparing for the Major in Information Science
Students are subject to the requirements in place when they are admitted as a degree-seeking student to the University; consequently, the School of Information and Library Science requirements described in this catalog particularly apply to students admitted to the University during the 2022–2023 academic year.
First-year students and sophomores who plan to apply for the B.S.I.S. must complete the following prerequisites.
|INLS 161||Tools for Information Literacy||3|
|INLS 201||Foundations of Information Science||3|
|MATH 115||Reasoning with Data: Navigating a Quantitative World||3|
|COMP 110||Introduction to Programming and Data Science H||3|
|or COMP 116||Introduction to Scientific Programming|
Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.
Undergraduate students who have completed all prerequisite courses may apply for admission to the major program. Participation is limited, and admission is competitive. Criteria for admission include the candidate’s academic record, work and extracurricular experience, and substantive thinking about the role of information in society (and, for applicants to the minor, in their major field). Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are sought for the minor. Prior computer experience is not a criterion for admission to the minor.
To apply for admission, students must "Apply for Change of Major" in ConnectCarolina. Information regarding the application process is available on the school's website. Applicants are asked to provide the following materials:
- A current résumé, including information about work experience and/or extracurricular activities
- A brief essay (100–300 words) on why you want to pursue an information science (IS) major/minor. More specifically, 1) what experiences led you to realize you would benefit from further education in IS, and 2) how will pursing an education in IS enable you to achieve your future plans?
Applications for the spring semester are available September 1 through October 1. Applications for the fall semester are available February 1 through March 1. Applications are accepted only during the application windows. No paper applications are accepted.
Questions can be addressed to the Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator, School of Information and Library Science, CB# 3360, 107 Manning Hall; or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or by calling (919) 962-0208.
Dual Bachelor's–Graduate Degree Programs
- B.S.I.S in Information Science to M.S.I.S or M.S.L.S
- B.A. in Environmental Studies to M.S.I.S
- B.S. in Environmental Science to M.S.I.S
David Gotz, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Christopher (Cal) Lee, Gary Marchionini (Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor), Javed Mostafa, Arcot Rajasekar, Brian W. Sturm (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs), Helen R. Tibbo.
Jaime Arguello, Robert Capra, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Melanie Feinberg, Amelia Gibson, Bradley M. Hemminger, Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi, Lukasz Mazur, Ryan Shaw, Zeynep Tufekçi.
Marijel (Maggie) Melo, Francesca Tripodi, Yue (Ray) Wang, Fei Yu.
Teaching Associate Professor
Teaching Assistant Professors
Denise Anthony, Casey H. Rawson, Megan A. Winget.
INLS–Information and Library Science
Topics and trends in sustainable and smart cities. Role of information in the design of network resources and impact on urban design, development, and urban living will be explored.
Special topics course; content will vary each semester.
Introduction to and application of the processes that can be used in seeking information, evaluating the quality of the information retrieved, and synthesizing the information into a useful form.
Tools and concepts for information literacy. Includes software use and maintenance, computer applications, and networked information systems.
Examines the evolution of information science; information representation, organization and management; search and retrieval; human information seeking and interaction; organizational behavior and communication; policy, ethics and scholarly communication.
Introduction to foundational core concepts and core techniques in information organization, information retrieval, and data mining.
Introduces key areas and concepts in information science, to include task modeling, information-seeking behavior, search behavior, human-computer interaction, usability, user interfaces, social media, and social media analysis.
Design, implementation, and evaluation of interfaces for computer systems. User-based techniques, usability issues, and human factors.
Analysis of organizational problems and how information systems can be designed to solve those problems. Application of database and interface design principles to the implementation of information systems.
Overview of ethical reasoning, followed by examination of ethical issues relevant to information science, including access to information and technology, societal impacts of technology, information privacy, surveillance and security, intellectual property, and professional ethics.
Basic concepts in the way that information, people, and technology interact to influence organizational effectiveness. Principles of problem solving, teamwork, leadership, and organizational change/innovation.
Permission of the school. Supervised observation and practice in information science. The internship typically takes place in an information agency or an information technology company. Faculty-led seminars and a paper enhance the experience. Pass/Fail only.
Study by an individual student on a special topic under the direction of a specific faculty member. A prospectus/plan for the work is required in advance of registration.
Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate-level
Design, implementation, and evaluation of interfaces for computer systems. User-based techniques, usability issues, and human factors.
Prepares students to be conversant with information technologies that underlie digital collections in order to evaluate the work of developers, delegate tasks, write requests for proposals, and establish policies and procedures. Teaches students how to think about information technology systems and recognize and manage interdependencies between parts of the systems.
Students will learn about many of the current issues facing businesses as well as how to prevent and discuss these issues and controls in depth. Focus will be placed upon preventing loss of information and protecting networks. Students should be able to understand any security control, describe its usage and rationale, as well as test and verify these controls are working as expected.
Exploration of an introductory-level special topic not otherwise covered in the curriculum. Previous offerings of these courses do not predict their future availability; new courses may replace these.
Second field experience course to be offered to coincide with the student's information science project in a local organization. Enrollment restricted to IS majors and minors; Instructor permission required.
The behavioral and cognitive activities of those who interact with information, with emphasis on the role of information mediators. How information needs are recognized and resolved; use and dissemination of information.
Analysis, use, and evaluation of information and reference systems, services, and tools for both printed and electronic delivery. Provides a foundation in electronic information search techniques, question negotiation, interviewing, and instruction.
Study of information retrieval and question answering techniques, including document classification, retrieval and evaluation techniques, handling of large data collections, and the use of feedback.
Students with graduate standing in SILS may take the course without the prerequisite. Explores current and future uses of natural language technologies. Topics vary and may include translation, generation, deception, health informatics, ethics and evaluation, and student-selected areas of interest.
Identification, provision, and evaluation of resources to meet primary needs of clientele in different institutional environments.
Examines concepts of health, health conditions, policy, and information collections and services from social and cultural perspectives. Analysis and design for provision and access to consumer health information services.
Introduction to the problems and methods of organizing information, including information structures, knowledge schemata, data structures, terminological control, index language functions, and implications for searching.
Design and implementation of basic database systems. Semantic modeling, relational database theory, including normalization, indexing, and query construction, SQL.
Explores relationships between new information and communication technologies and organizational efforts to define, identify, control, manage, and preserve records. Considers the importance of organizational, institutional and technological factors in determining appropriate recordkeeping strategies.
A survey of print and nonprint library materials particularly suited to the needs of adolescents.
This course encourages students to explore the array of technologies available to children and adolescents, the issues surrounding the use of technology, the role of care givers, and potential impacts on development.
In this course we investigate the special challenges of providing information services to marginalized populations in an increasingly digital world.
Students will implement a personal digital LifeTime Library. Topics include creation of a personal digital library, organization of the material, creation of descriptive metadata, management, and sharing of the collection.
An introduction to information visualization through reading current literature and studying exemplars. The course reviews information visualization techniques, provides a framework for identifying the need for information visualization, and emphasizes interactive electronic visualizations that use freely available tools. Students will construct several visualizations. No programming skills are required.
The history of the origin and development of the book in all its formats: clay tablets to electronic. Coverage includes scientific and other scholarly publications, religious works, popular literature, periodicals, and newspapers.
The history of cultural institutions related to information from earliest times to the present day. Includes specific institutions, trends in service and facilities, and individuals important in the development of these institutions.
This course will explore cultural institutions--libraries, museums, parks, zoological and botanical gardens, reconstructions and other settings--as lifelong educational environments.
Survey of the principles, techniques, and issues in the acquisition, management, and administration of records, manuscripts, archives, and other cultural and documentary resources in paper, electronic, and other media formats.
An overview of storytelling, its historical development, and the presentation and administration of storytelling programs. The class focuses on performance skills merged with theoretical issues.
Introduction to programming and computational concepts. Students will learn to write programs using constructs such as iteration, flow control, variables, functions, and error handling. No programming experience required.
Students will learn about hardware, software, principles, and methods for capturing and curating digital data that have been stored on removable media (i.e., hard drives, floppy disks, USB memory sticks).
Intermediate programming concepts in information processing and data analysis. Students will learn object-oriented programming, data structures, data analysis methods, and information processing techniques in the context of information science topics.
An introduction to techniques and technologies for the development of mobile Web sites and their applications.
Distributed and client/server-based computing. Includes operating system basics, security concerns, and issues and trends in network administration.
Network protocols and protocol stacks. Included are discussions of protocol classes, packet filtering, address filtering, network management, and hardware such as protocol analyzers, repeaters, routers, and bridges.
An introduction to research methods used in information and library science, exploring the design, interpretation, analysis, and application of published research.
Introduction to the systems approach to the design and development of information systems. Methods and tools for the analysis and modeling of system functionality (e.g., structured analysis) and data represented in the system (e.g., object-oriented analysis) are studied.
An overview of ethical reasoning, followed by discussion of issues most salient to information professionals, e.g., intellectual property, privacy, access/censorship, effects of computerization, and ethical codes of conduct.
Introduction to management principles and practices for information professionals working in all types of organizations. Topics include planning, budgeting, organizational theory, staffing, leadership, organizational change and evaluation, and decision making.
Strategies and skills needed to effectively manage projects, integrating project management theory with best practices in different organizational perspectives. Individual and team assignments include readings and case studies.
This course takes an in-depth look at experimental information retrieval systems that focus on different search tasks and are evaluated in community-wide evaluation forums such as TREC and INEX.
This course will allow the student to develop a general understanding of knowledge discovery and gain a specific understanding of text mining. Students will become familiar with both the theoretical and practical aspects of text mining and develop a proficiency with data modeling text.
Similar programming background needed. Understand the Web as a platform for information organizing systems. Learn how the Web has been designed to be a service platform, data publishing platform, and application platform.
This course focuses on issues in personal information management research and practice, including information organization, human cognition and memory, task continuity across devices, preservation, and the role of technology in personal information management.
Intermediate-level design and implementation of database systems, building on topics studied in INLS 523. Additional topics include MySQL, indexing, XML, and nontext databases.
Students will develop policies for managing digital repositories and persistent archives. The rules will be implemented in the integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS), which organizes and distributes data into shareable collections.
This course introduces analytical techniques to deal with very large data sets. Students will become familiar with predictive modeling, clustering, data mining, and paradigms such as map resource.
This project-based course provides an overview of visual analytics. Material includes foundational concepts and theories, seminal and recent research in the field, and hands-on experience with commonly used technologies. Programming experience strongly recommended.
An introduction to the management of audio, film, and video archives with an emphasis on the history of recording, best practices for preservation and access, and copyright. Through selected readings, lecture, class discussion, assignment, and hands-on demonstration, students will gain an understanding of the history of recording, format identification, storage and handling, philosophy of media preservation, and copyright.
Explores the evolution, implications, and complications of social media in multiple spheres of life including sociality, community, politics, power and inequality, education, and information from theoretical and empirical perspectives.
This course is a broad introduction to project management principles, tools, and strategies intended for use in a variety of applications. Key topics include project planning tools, project process groups, risk assessment, budgeting/cost estimation, and team management. Through the use of readings, videos, assignments, and forum discussions, students will have the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the strategy behind successful project management and problem resolution.
Exploration of a special topic not otherwise covered in the curriculum, at an intermediate level. Previous offering of this course does not predict future availability; new courses may replace these. Topic varies by instructor.
Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Restricted to information science majors. An introduction to research methods used in information science. Includes the writing of a research proposal.
Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Students in the SILS undergraduate honors program engage in independent research and write an honors thesis reporting the research under the supervision of a faculty member. Restricted to information science majors.
Study by an individual student on a special topic under the direction of a specific faculty member. Six credit maximum for master's students. Graduate faculty.
Senior standing required. Information science major or minor. Contemporary topics of information science, information systems, information technology, information design, and information management. Assessment of future impact of new developments.