Welcome! We’re the University of Maryland College of Information Studies - the iSchool. We’re computational scientists and engineers, designers, humanities scholars, library and information scientists, and social scientists.
Together, we improve lives through the power of information. With rapid advances in information and communications technology, the world is awash in information. We access information through social and alternative media. Information about us is collected from our online behaviors and through electronic surveillance. Companies and governments both collect and provide an increasing wealth of information. This is the Information Age.
In our college, we do research, provide education, and work with partners to increase the benefits of all of this information. We work to democratize access to it and to help people make decisions based on it. We also work to decrease the risks it brings, including increased information overload, decreased privacy and autonomy, and an alarming rise in disinformation and misinformation. We innovate practices, policies, procedures, interventions, systems, and technologies. We’re practical in this way.
We innovate practices, policies, procedures, interventions, systems, and technologies. We’re practical in this way. The underlying reason for all that we do is to help people.
And the underlying reason for all that we do is to help people. Let’s make this more concrete by giving a few examples of the research we do. Some of us work with software application designers and engineers to understand how they think about privacy and how this impacts the systems they design. This research has led to development processes that respect users’ privacy.
Others in the college use data gathered by our devices to understand how information flows and people react in emergencies resulting in more effective emergency response systems and policies. Others are working on platforms for people to benefit from assistive technology, thereby reducing accessibility barriers to information. Others are working on providing public library-based services to help new companies launch and local economies flourish.
These are, of course, only a few of the many research efforts going on in the iSchool. Because of what we do and how widespread the importance of information has become, we partner with many other departments and colleges, sharing faculty with Computer Science, Criminology, Education, English, Geographical Sciences, Journalism, and Public Policy.
And, because of what we do, we are growing rapidly. We have one of the newest - and also largest - undergraduate programs at the university. We have three Masters programs, a Ph.D. program, and more programs in development – some in partnership with other departments and colleges. So, I’ve just given you a brief overview of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies: We, create, use, and critique technology in the context of people. We innovate practices, policies, procedures, interventions, and systems, all for people. We educate students to be skilled in technology and information for people. Because of what we do, we naturally seek partnerships. We harness the power of information to improve the lives of people.
Professor and Dean
University of Maryland
College of Information Studies