After satisfactory completion of 3 Community Informatics courses (12 credits), which can be a part of the Master of Library Science program. "LIS 518 CO: Community Informatics," is required and 2 others are selected from a recommended course list. This coursework will have introduced them to:
•ways that diverse communities work to address their problems,
•theories that adequately account for the complexity and diversity of distributed collective practice,
•tools to mediate work on concrete tasks within communities,
•effective processes for developing shared capacity in the form of knowledge, skills, and tools.
Students can participate in the CI program on either a full- or part-time basis, as an on-campus, or LEEP (online) student. All CI classes are also available to students not working towards the CI certificate.
With this foundation, recipients of LIS degrees with a CI certificate may work in a variety of settings such as public and school libraries, non-profit organizations, cultural heritage groups, and municipal governments as librarians, youth media instructors, and researchers, for example. Providing community information and referral is another job option. We especially encourage access to and participation in careers in library and information science for students traditionally underrepresented in graduate study and research.
Courseload Curriculum Financial Aid Admission Requirements
Community Informatics (CI) focuses on the space between two concepts, community and informatics. This stresses that reciprocity must characterize relationships that emerge out of these concepts, because the balance of power among groups is often unequal and resources are used differently. There is a critical need to understand not only how communities access, create, organize, and share information, but also the types and qualities of connections between and among communities. Community members spearhead both naming the issues of the community and the process leading to solutions. People involved in CI use insights from fields such as sociology, planning, computer science, critical theory, women's studies, library and information science, management information systems, and management studies to empower personal, social, cultural, and economic development of and within communities. We prioritize collaborations with marginalized communities to create solutions to the most serious crises threatening society as a whole: poverty, health, violence, food security, etc.
Students in CI work with community members, faculty, and other students to build innovative community technology centers and networks, software, and library services in local, national, and international communities. Coursework focuses on theory, research, and practice in community informatics, social entrepreneurship, and community library and information services. Students are prepared to apply what they have learned to the creation of information services across a wide range of community-based and public interest organizations.
The CI program has unique strengths and expertise that come from fifteen years of University-campus partnerships with people on independent study programs. More recently we have partnered with organizations in rural Illinois, West Africa and Andean Parliament. Hands-on engagement with these ongoing programs makes for a blended experience. A partnership between GSLIS and the Independent Study Community provides special opportunities for students to pursue their coursework on-site in an inner-city neighborhood famed for its innovative approach to community-based learning. The project-centered approach helps students apply what they are studying to real-world situations that involve community partners in meeting local needs. Students have the potential for sustained relationships with communities.
Central to the CI program and certificate is The Community Informatics Initiative (CII), one of the three GSLIS research and teaching centers. Faculty within GSLIS as well as other scholars across campus partner on research and teaching projects funded by the Illinois Informatics Institute. CII also sponsors workshops and symposia on campus and in Chicago.
The master's degree program requires 40 hours of graduate study, including two GSLIS core courses, "LIS 501: Information Organization and Access" and "LIS 502: Libraries, Information, and Society." Students pursuing the CI certificate take an additional three courses in any order. "LIS 518: Community Informatics," is required and 2 others are selected from a recommended course list. To complete the certificate, students choose electives that meet their interests and needs. Since each person’s background, goals and interests are different, other elective courses may be applied toward the certificate after approval. Contact Dean for more information.
See the master's degree program information for rules governing how the remaining hours in the master’s program may be earned. The CI faculty are willing to talk to prospective and current students about what courses will best meet student needs. Refer to the LEEP Online Education information for the specific requirements for the online degree program.
LIS 501 Information Organization and Access (4 hours)
LIS 502 Libraries, Information, and Society (2 or 4 hours)
Required CI Certificate Course
LIS 518 Community Informatics (4 hours)
Recommended CI Elective Courses (take at least 2)
LIS 418 Community Engagement
LIS 519 Social Science Research in LIS
LIS 451 Intro to Network Systems
LIS 490DD Digital Divide: Policy, Research and Community Empowerment
LIS490GIG Geographic Information Systems
LIS 590BTW Serving the Child in Schools and Community
LIS590CE Civic Entrepreneurship and Public Institutions
LIS 590CI Community Information Systems
LIS 590IBO, LIS590IBL Inquiry-Based Learning
LIS 590ITB Information Technology and the Black Experience
LIS 590ST Strategic Information Management
Students may also supplement their program of study by taking other LIS electives, or electives outside GSLIS.
Admission requirements for the CI program are the same as those for all master's degree program applicants. Please review the general MS program information as well as the admissions section of our website for minimum admission requirements and to learn how to apply. For further information, contact Dean.
Current Community Informatics Courses
Every semester CII puts out information on what upcoming courses are being offered in the program. Click the links below to see the most recent information:
CI Courses for Spring 2010
Other Courses of Interest
LIS 590 CA Community Archives (enrollment limit: 15)
Prerequisite LIS 581 or consent of Librarian on Site
Community Archives are a collection of material that documents one or many aspects of a community's heritage, collected and preserved by that community and its members. These materials tell the story of groups of people who have often been excluded from mainstream archives, which have tended to focus on official documents and the lives of elites. In this course we will investigate the role community archives play in supporting a sense of heritage and identity amongst members of a community, as well as how they serve to raise awareness of these neglected stories in the wider public. We will be working with local organizations that have agreed to take part in our course, and throughout the semester students will contribute to the work of their archives, by assisting in identifying records of long term value, documenting the experience of its members, providing the organization with practical and affordable solutions within a framework of best practice of archives and records management, and working collaboratively with the organizations to secure the long-term viability of their documentary heritage.
Interpreting Technoscience: Explorations in Identity, Culture and Democracy
Limited enrollment; permission of Dean required
This seminar will examine the ways techno science (the confluence of scientific practices and technological artifacts) influences and affects human identity, cultural knowledge, and democratic action. This focus will explore historical, contemporary, and emerging interpretations of techno science as a means to understanding connections between science, technology, and human existence.
SOC 396 LLSP 396 meets with SOC 596 AAS 590
Population Informatic Perspectives on Campus Satellites
This course has three main goals:
1.To help students develop a broad background in contemporary immigration issues
2.To give students an introduction to using census data, SPSS, and ArcGIS to analyze these issues
3.To improve the students’ research, analytic and writing skills
The first goal will be met by reading, analyzing, and discussing a set of common readings in a variety of classroom activities: lecture, discussion, and student presentations. The major themes to be explored include the relationship between the following topics: employment, occupation, industry, income, education, residential patterns, political districting, and access to digital tools. Students are expected to blog the assigned readings and to participate in all activities.
The second goal will be met by lectures, readings, assignments, and frequent class meetings in a computer lab in which each student will be able to use SPSS and ArcGIS to analyze various elements from a large census/GIS data set that has been prepared for this class.
The third goal will be met through the completion of sequence of assignments which include data analyses and the preparation of coherent written descriptions and assessments of these analyzes.