Taking the Technology Core Requirement: LIS 488 or LIS 489?

For the first time, students will have a choice between taking LIS 488 Tech. for Information Professionals or LIS 489 Technical Foundations for Information Science to fulfill their technology core requirement during the Spring 2013 semester. The new LIS 489 class was designed for students who have a basic understanding of the technology, and are interested in learning about the concepts and technologies of information science.

"Developing technology skills is as important as reading and writing in our current job market," says Dr. Gerald Benoit, who will be teaching the first LIS 489 class.

The main differences between the two classes is that LIS 489 will cover concepts in information science, such as information retrieval systems, data modeling, information visualization, scripts, and programming more thoroughly and in greater depth than in LIS 488. For example, where LIS 488 might cover the hex values for the digital representation of color on web pages, LIS 489 will cover color theory, using hex values as examples. However, LIS 489 is not only about information science theory. The course includes many hands-on assignments, such as using php or Java to create web pages. The equivalent in LIS 488 might be applying HTML tags. The LIS 488 class provides a theoretical framework for technology usage and introduces basic application exercises that will be useful to any librarian or archivist. The LIS 489 course is aimed at students who will be using technology in their daily professional lives and who want a theoretical underpinning in information science. LIS 489 is oriented to the larger information science and services frameworks, emphasizing how students might apply various technology skills to addressing human information and real-world professional needs and participate in the creation, evaluation, and use of information systems. All students are welcome to take LIS 489 to fulfill their technology requirements.

LIS 488 and LIS 489 lead to other GSLIS technology and information science courses, and either course is appropriate for students who would like to pursue a career in information science or technology. Yet LIS 488 may lead to courses with direct application in libraries and archives, such as LIS 458 Database Management, LIS 463 Library Automation Systems, or LIS 467 Web Development and Information Architecture. LIS 489 prepares students for courses focused on information science topics -- such as LIS 486 Systems Analysis, LIS 593D Information Visualization, and LIS 531Z Data Interoperability -- and courses in computer science. To help this latter group, Benoit has posted supplemental LIS 489 course information on his website for students to access, as well as numerous background resources about various technology topics, demonstration code, XML files, and multimedia.

For information about classes, email Dr. Gerald Benoit at gerald.benoit@simmons.edu, visit his website at http://web.simmons.edu/~benoit/ for links to the Information Science advising track and the course home pages, or go directly to the LIS 489 site (http://web.simmons.edu/~benoit/lis489/). Students may also talk to their advisors about which courses may be applicable.

Article by Jennifer Moyer

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