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.

Spring 2016:

089: First Year Seminar: Smart Cities (3 credits) 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)

490-172: Fundamentals of Programming Information Applications (3 credits) Capra

490-176: Human Factors in Systems Design (3 credits) Barlow
Designing useful, usable, and appealing software, mobile applications, and consumer products requires consideration of human factors of the user's interaction with the system. The focus is human engineering design based in human sensory, motor, and cognitive capabilties. Through examples drawn from a variety of domains, the class will cover: History of human factors; Human perceptual, cognitive, and motor abilities; problem solving when interacting with human-made systems; the influence of technology on decision making; The sources of human error; User engagement; How people fit into technologicial systems; and social interactions around technology. The objectives of the course are: 1)To provide students with an understanding of the fundamental human factors that must be taken into account in system design and 2) whethere working on websites, automobile interiors, mobile devices, games, office productivity software, and enterprise softwrae, demonstrate there are common human engineering principles that must be considered in all systems design. 

690-163: Database Systems III (1.5 credits, meets January 12- February 25) Rajasekar

690-170: Introduction to Legal Research (1.5 credits, meets January 12-February 25) Kimbrough/Street
This course offers students experience using and comparing a broad range of legal research tools. The course will introduce students to major legal publishers, databases, and vendors. Students will learn a complete method for conducting basic legal research. The course will introduce and explain primary legal materials, including statutes, court opinions, and administrative law, as well as a variety of secondary sources and practice materials. The course also covers free, low-cost, and cost efficient research. 

690-187: Issues in Cloud Computing
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

690-216: Social Sciences Information (1.5 credits, meets January 12-February 25)
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.

690-217: Humanities Information (1.5 credits, meets March 2-April 27)
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.

690-222: Seminar in Social Informatics (3 credits) Jarrahi

690-224: Law Librarianship (1.5 credits, meets March 1-April 26) Kimbrough/Street
This course provides students with an overview of law librarianship and administrative principles as applied to the functions, organization, and procedures of law libraries. The course will introduce students to the different types of law libraries, including academic, private, and government libraries, and will cover issues including governance, standards and policies in law libraries. Students will learn about the variety of roles taken on by law librarians in collection management, reference, digitization, and management. Drawing on recent law library scholarship as readings, students will be tasked with handling real-world decisions regarding collection development, negotiating with vendors over licensing agreements, dealing with cost-recovery for legal research tools, educating new attorneys on legal research, preserving print and digital content, and managing print and electronic collections.

690-230: Information Exchange/Seeking in Local/Place-Based Communities (1.5 credits, meets March 3-April 26) Gibson

690-242: Data Sharing Among Scientists (3 credits) Christian
This course will explore different issues related to data sharing among scientists. Students will look at different forms of data in different disciplines, and will learn the roles of data in scholarly research life cycle and research collaboration; relationships between data, data creators, data repositories, and data curators; basic principles of public policies for data and data management.

Fall 2015

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.

690-187: Information Assurance (Hassell) 1.5 credits, meets October 19-November 30
This course is a broad introduction to information assurance. It deals with aspects of data integrity, privacy, paper and human security issues, and security from several perspectives: legal issues, technical tools and methods, social and ethical concerns, and organizational policies, procedures, and standards. Students who complete this course will be able to identify security issues for corporations and non-profit organizations, and create appropriate policies and procedures documents for an organization.

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.

690-240: 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 (Travers) 1 credit