Special Topics Courses

This page contains descriptions for special topics offered at SILS (regularly offered courses are listed separately). Special topics courses are developed to cover emerging issues or specialized content not represented in the main curriculum. Not all courses are offered each semester—see the course schedule for availability.

Fall 2015

Spring 2015


Fall 2015

089-001 FYS: Social Movements and New Media (Tufekci) 3 credits
Movements ranging from uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond to “Occupy” protestors in the United States have been using new media technologies to coordinate, to organize, to intervene in the public sphere as well as to document, share, and shape their own stories. Using a range of tools from Facebook to Twitter, from satellite modems to landlines to ad-hoc mesh networks, these movements have made their mark in history.

The objective of this course is to enhance our conceptual and empirical understanding of the interaction between the new media ecology and social change. We will explore various approaches to studying social movements and social change and look at specific cases.

Governments and powerful institutions are also responding to the challenge posed by the emergence of the Internet as a mundane and global technology. From increased surveillance and filtering capacity, to delivering propaganda over the Internet to their own, from “hacking” of dissident websites to sophisticated methods of censorship, governments around the world are broadening their repertoire of social, technical and legal tools for control and suppression of --and through-- the Internet.

We will explore the integration of new media tools within these movements as well governmental and institutional responses to these developments. We will also discuss the rapidly changing and contested terrain for shaping the infrastructure of global connectivity. Materials for this class will include readings, videos (not to be viewed in class but as material to be viewed), and a variety of visiting speakers (both in person and via Skype).

690-036: Information Policy (Daniel) 3 credits
After some brief definitions and discussion of the terms policy, policy analysis, public and private goods, we will explore a number of specific information policies during the course, the specific set to be determined by the class participants.  Some candidate issues include intellectual property (copyright, ownership and licensing), Internet access (Internet governance, filtering, the digital divide), identify in cyberspace (big data and data mining, digital preservation, personal information management), privacy (social media, comparison of US vs European practices), security and secrecy (government spying and whistle-blowing, Freedom of Information, denial of service attacks, acceptable use policies), e-government (e-commerce and regulations, citizen access to services through the Internet), misinformation and disinformation (“truthiness” and trust and the role of the professional in determining quality of information content).  We will also examine through case study some nonprofit policy organizations that focus on information policy analysis and may also seek to influence policy in a particular direction.

 
This course is designed as a policy primer.  There are no prerequisites.  You will read and discuss literature on a number of policy issues but will not end the course as an expert, rather you will be more informed and able to educate yourself and others further on these centrally important, absorbing and volatile topics. 

690-163W: Information Analytics (Rajasekar) 3 credits
Pre-req: INLS 560 or equivalent. The data explosion experienced by computerization of every aspect of our lives from social media to internet of things requires a deeper look at information analytics. The course introduces proven and emerging analytical techniques that can be used to deal with mountains of mostly unstructured data. We will look at several analytical paradigms from Predictive Modeling to Data Mining, Text Analytics to Web Analytics, Statistical Analysis to novel paradigms in Map Reduce and Storm, and from Crowd Sourcing to Scientific Workflows.  Knowledge of programming is essential.

690-172: Usability Testing and Evaluation (Capra) 3 credits
This course will introduce central concepts in usability engineering, testing, and evaluation. These include: UX lifecycle, interaction models, contextual inquiry, modeling and task analysis, rapid evaluation and inspection techniques, UX goals and metrics, formal and informal evaluation techniques, usability moderation, test plans, testing environments, analysis, and reporting.

690-207: Community Archiving (Anthony) 3 credits
Prerequisite: INLS 556.  A number of archivists are advocating for a new, collaborative model of archiving that empowers communities to look after their own records “by partnering professional archival expertise with communities’ deep sense of commitment and pride in their own heritage and identity.”  This class will explore the many ideas and issues surrounding this new model by working with a local community group to develop a comprehensive strategy for collecting, describing and maintaining their historical records in both analog and digital formats. The work will be informed by discussion of relevant literature and examination of other community archiving projects.

690-220: Disaster Planning for Libraries (Flaherty) 1.5 credits, meets October 13-December 1
Disasters can come in a variety of forms (e.g. hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes, ect.) and strike at any time. Preparedness, prevention, and planning are all critical components of effective disaster responsiveness. In this course, students will learn about disaster prevention, recovery, training, and outreach as they apply to the library setting.

690-224: Visual Analytics (Gotz) 3 credits
This course will provide an overview of Visual Analytics, a topic that combines information visualization and data analysis to support analytical reasoning via highly interactive visual interfaces. The course will review foundational concepts, recent results, and commonly used technologies. The course is project-oriented and will require that students program their own web-based visualization systems using HTML and JavaScript. While no specific courses are considered pre-requisistes, students should be competent programmers. Prior experience with web programming (e.g., HTML and JavaScript) is strongly recommended.

690-228: Project Management (Nguyen) 1.5 credits, meets October 12-December 2
This course presents a practical, minimalistic approach to project management that will provide students with the necessary strategies and skills to effectively manage generic projects.  The course integrates project management theory, based on the Project Management Institute’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), and with exposure to project management best practice through required lectures, readings, case studies, and different organizational perspectives. Assessment, practice and development of project management skills will be accomplished through individual participation in class and individual assignments, and also through team assignments that include the development of written documents, diagrams, presentation and peer evaluations.

690-234: Hot Topics in Library Information Organization (White) 1.5 credits, meets October 13-December 2

This class will focus on aspects of practical information organization work not covered by foundation courses in information organization, metadata, and cataloging. The course aims to help future librarians think like information organization leaders by exploring what is currently being talked about by librarians and connecting that with intellectual underpinnings in ILS research. Graded course work involves daily attendance/participation, in-class activities, many reflection/reaction short essays, and a final paper/presentation.

690-240: Everyday Life Information Practices (Thomson) 1.5 credits, meets October 2-November 20) 
This course explores theoretical and empirical literature regarding the information practices of ordinary people in everyday life (i.e., “non-work”) contexts. It also touches upon the methodological approaches used in such research, as well as the deciphering of what is ‘informational’ in any setting. Topics considered include: (1) contextual elements (e.g., life worlds, stocks of knowledge, norms, values) shaping patterns of information practices in the everyday; (2) use of newspapers, radio, television, the Internet, and non-conventional media to meet information needs; (3) information practices arising from problem-driven/compromised and pleasurable/leisure-related everyday life situations (e.g., health, parenting, diversity, and hobby pursuits); (4) barriers to information access and information poverty; and (5) public libraries and other institutional providers of everyday life information; techniques for investigating and presenting information practices in/from ‘the field.’

690-241: National Archives: Politics, Memory, and Public History (Ahmed) 1.5 credits meets October12-December 2
Suggested prerequisite: INLS 556, Introduction to Archives and Records Management, or an equivalent course. This course explores the theoretical, social and material construction of national archives. The creation of public memory in national archives will be examined from an international perspective, looking at examples from several countries. Using case studies, it will take into consideration the role political ideas and movements  (anti-colonial, for example) have played in determining what is included in (and what is excluded from) national memories and archival collections. It will also discuss the critique of national archives launched by the community archiving movement.

890-235: Health Informatics Seminar (Farrag/C. Moore) 1 credit

 

Spring 2015

INLS 089-001 First Year Seminar: Social Movements and New Media (Tufekci)
 

Movements ranging from uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond to “Occupy” protestors in the United States have been using new media technologies to coordinate, to organize, to intervene in the public sphere as well as to document, share, and shape their own stories. Using a range of tools from Facebook to Twitter, from satellite modems to landlines to ad-hoc mesh networks, these movements have made their mark in history.

The objective of this course is to enhance our conceptual and empirical understanding of the interaction between the new media ecology and social change. We will explore various approaches to studying social movements and social change and look at specific cases.

Governments and powerful institutions are also responding to the challenge posed by the emergence of the Internet as a mundane and global technology. From increased surveillance and filtering capacity, to delivering propaganda over the Internet to their own, from “hacking” of dissident websites to sophisticated methods of censorship, governments around the world are broadening their repertoire of social, technical and legal tools for control and suppression of --and through-- the Internet.

We will explore the integration of new media tools within these movements as well governmental and institutional responses to these developments. We will also discuss the rapidly changing and contested terrain for shaping the infrastructure of global connectivity. Materials for this class will include readings, videos (not to be viewed in class but as material to be viewed), and a variety of visiting speakers (both in person and via Skype). (3 credits) 

INLS 089-002 First Year Seminar: Smart Cities (Rajasekar/Rademaker) 

A smart city is one where the needs of a populace meet the needs of environmental sustainability. The balance between the social and environmental issues is governed by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that power a smart city infrastructure. In this course, we learn about the influence of urban networks, smart city urban planning, energy as a catalyst of sustainable development, smart city infrastructure, sustainable transportation, flow of information and communications, smart grids, digital infrastructure and the role of data and information technology. We will discuss criteria for measuring the smartness of a city, including quality of life, citizen governance, and discuss issues that go towards the making of a future smart city. Several case studies will be presented with guest lecturers invited to present on critical thinking and practices in smart city development. (3 credits) 

690-163: Information Analytics (Rajasekar)
Pre-req: INLS 560 or equivalent. The data explosion experienced by computerization of every aspect of our lives from social media to internet of things requires a deeper look at information analytics. The course introduces proven and emerging analytical techniques that can be used to deal with mountains of mostly unstructured data. We will look at several analytical paradigms from Predictive Modeling to Data Mining, Text Analytics to Web Analytics, Statistical Analysis to novel paradigms in Map Reduce and Storm, and from Crowd Sourcing to Scientific Workflows.  Knowledge of programming is essential. (3 credits) 

690-187: Web Development (Hassell)
An introduction to front-end web development using the latest standards, HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is recommended. (1.5 credits) 

690-189: Social Media and Society (Tufekci)
This course examines the increasingly important technologies of connectivity from a theoretical and empirical perspective. We will explore the evolution, implications and complications of social media in multiple spheres of life including sociality, community, power and inequality, education, knowledge, and information. Our emphasis will be not on one current platform (such as Facebook or Twitter) or a even a particular device. Rather, we will study how different configurations of connectivity encourage or stifle different socio-cultural practices and values. This course will provide conceptual and methodological foundations for studying and evaluating current and future development in this area. (3 credits) 

690-212: Audio-Visual Archives Management (S. Wiess)
An introduction to the practice and curatorship of audio, film and video archives with an emphasis on the history of recording, best practices for preservation and access, copyright, and collection development.  Through selected readings, lecture, class discussion, assignments, and hands-on demonstrations, students will gain an understanding of the history of recording, format identification, philosophy of media preservation as well as copyright, and collection management. (1.5 credits) 

690-215: Leadership: Nature and Nurture (Lowry)
The student will gain insight into the nature of leadership and its organizational impact. A major goal is to begin to understand personal interest in leadership roles for library and information agencies through examining the origins of leadership theory from classic models arising in political and military practice to modern research revealing how leadership emerges in the larger cultural context.  (1.5 credits)  

690-216: Social Sciences Information (Bardeen)
Prerequisite: INLS 501. Survey of information and its needs in the social sciences, with an emphasis on information use and search strategies and on reference and other information resources. (1.5 credits) 

690-217: Humanities Information (Holloway)
Prerequisite: INLS 501. Survey of information and its needs in the humanities, with an emphasis on information use and search strategies and on reference and other information resources. (1.5 credits) 

690-232: Business Information (Ernsthausen/Drewry)
 

This class introduces students to important information sources  and strategies needed to respond quickly and capably to the needs of patrons looking for data or news about companies, industries and market segments, business deals, new products, or other information that helps them make real-life, business-related decisions.  We will spend time with free and fee based data resources in electronic and print formats from commercial, organizational, and governmental providers.  We will also identify and apply evaluation criteria for business resources and discuss ways of conveying the importance of resource evaluation to clients. We will discuss the differences and similarities between the needs of academic researchers, entrepreneurs and small business owners, corporations, non-profits, community patrons, news organizations, governments and NGOs.   We will discuss the differences and similarities between business services in special, academic, and public libraries.  

690-233: Issues in Cloud Computing (Hassell) 

Cloud computing claims to be a fundamentally new paradigm in which computing services and resources is migrating from personal computers sitting on a person's desk (or lap) to large, centrally managed datacenters.  We will evaluate this claim based on the basic paradigm of cloud computing.  Next we will examine the technical characteristics and the business reasons for cloud computing.  We will discuss common commercial and open source offerings.  Emphasis will be placed on cloud answers to common business computing issues, like scalability of processing and storage, security, relational and other database models.  Issues of privacy and security will also be addressed.
This will be a reading intensive course, with all material coming from open sources or from the university’s electronic holdings.