Introducing the Master of Information: New name reflects evolving library profession

- August 29, 2019

MI students Dan Phillips, Lydia Hunsberger and Crystal Vaughan at the Killam Library's data visualization wall. (Danny Abriel photo)
MI students Dan Phillips, Lydia Hunsberger and Crystal Vaughan at the Killam Library's data visualization wall. (Danny Abriel photo)

Students come to Dalhousie’s School of Information Management (SIM) for many reasons: to become a librarian, an archivist, an information architect, a museum collections specialist or a data management expert. They have one thing in common: a passion for connecting people with information.  

That’s why the school is changing the name of its MLIS (Master of Library and Information Studies) degree to the Master of Information.

“We want it to be more inclusive of all the career options possible through the degree,” says SIM director Sandra Toze. “It reflects the transitions within the library profession, as well as the emerging opportunities of digital transformation, data management, community engagement and human-centred design.”

The evolving information profession  

SIM is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and its degree program has evolved as digital information has become pervasive. The people at SIM are experts in making information accessible, in evaluating, preserving and sharing it — whether it’s helping a student find a source for a mid-term paper or presenting data to decision-makers in a way that helps them understand trends and take action.  

Dr. Toze explains that the new name will help recruit students and faculty who are interested in the competitive areas of data analytics and information systems. “The MI will provide a broad umbrella under which the program can grow in multiple directions.” 

Libraries at the core

Those looking to become librarians will still have a home in the MI program. The name change does not affect the program’s accreditation from the American Library Association. “We’re committed to educating librarians and will continue to work with all our professional librarian partners to ensure our curriculum and courses fit the needs of the profession,” says Dr. Toze.

The structure and content of the program, which includes a 100-hour practicum in a library or other information management environment, remains the same as well. Students can choose a concentration in librarianship or one of the emerging areas of the information profession, such as data management, which includes courses on data visualization and geospatial information management (GIS).

Rachel Fry (MI ‘19 - pictured above) was given the choice of an MI or MLIS designation when she graduated this year. She says she put a lot of thought into it, but in the end, it was an easy decision.  

"I wanted to keep my options open,” she says, having chosen the MI. “I like having a broad term to describe everything I learned in my degree. I still feel connected to the library world; I describe myself as a librarian, but this lets me expand the definition.”


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