Information Policy and Society
The IPS concentration will give students the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work in today’s information environments.
Information policy refers to all public laws, regulations, and policies that affect the creation, use, storage, and communication of information. Many stakeholders shape the information systems we live by, promoting—and sometimes imposing—their interests on end-users. Thus, information policies are made by interest groups that represent cultural, economic, technological, legal, religious, and political groups.
Information creation and use is directly affected by legal, political, and economic systems. Many of the stakeholders in the information ecosystem hold conflicting values and promote visions that are sometimes incompatible. In order to effectively lead our institutions, LIS professionals need to understand how tensions between opposing laws and policies are resolved on legal and pragmatic levels.
The study of information policy is the study of conflicting interests and worldviews. For example, we believe that free information and unrestricted access to ideas promote invention and creativity. At the same time, we understand that individual creators should be rewarded for their labor and investment. In this case, the Copyright Act, while protecting the livelihood of inventors and creators, also allows fair use so that others many benefit from the work and build on it.
The IPS concentration will give students the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work in today’s information environments. You will learn about the legal, economic, and social forces that affect how we create, use, re-use, repurpose, and share information. Students will gain expertise in the nature and use of information resources of the federal government and its agencies, as well as non-conventional NGO information opportunities such as bibliographic and statistical sources, online databases, technical report centers, public information facilities, and sources of technical assistance. You will be able to write policy briefs and reports for your institution, make recommendations for information policies, locate data from international organizations such as the World Bank, and much more.
Students taking the IPS concentration in the past (formally known as WISE) work in diverse and interesting settings. These include:
Head of Instruction at Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School
Deputy Director, Reference & Research Services for NYPL
Reporter for The Daily Beast
Legal Content Developer at online news site
Medical research hospital library
Academic librarians at U. of Texas, NYU, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), University of Southern California, Fairleigh Dickinson, City University of New York (CUNY)
and many more non-profits and social justice organizations.
Courses in the IPS concentration will help students
- Understand how the global digital information world interacts with business, law, policy, and politics.
- Investigate the range and scope of information policies as they affect information society today, among them freedom of information, intellectual property, privacy, and government information.
- Learn how tensions between conflicting laws and policies are resolved.
- Recognize macro- and micro-economics issues involved in the production, distribution, and use of information and services.
- Navigate the scholarly communication process in academic libraries, including policies regarding open-access publishing, authors’ rights, and grey literature.
- Gain knowledge and skills needed by information professionals working in diverse information environments, from corporate and law libraries to government agencies.
Courses in the IPS concentration include:
LIS 607 Digital Information Economics and Management
LIS 611 Information Policy
LIS 613 Government Information Sources
LIS 616 Business Economics & Statistical Sources
LIS 617 Legal Research Methods & Law
LIS 619 International Documents
LIS 631 Academic Libraries and Scholarly Communication
Recent student projects:
- [Group project] Students taking LIS 619 International Information Sources (Spring 2013)
- created short video tutorials for the United Nations library. The video tutorials are now incorporated in the UN Library Libguide. For example see: Finding letters from the Secretary General
- [Group project] Students taking LIS 613 Government Information Sources (Fall 2013) harvested federal government social media sites for preservation on The Internet Archive. See: End of Term Harvest
- [Research paper] Anderson, Davis Erin (2012). An imperfect decade: The culture wars and the National Endowment for the Arts. Documents to the People 40:4 22-26. [Written for LIS 613: Government Information Sources, Fall 2011]
- [Research paper] Chadwick, Rebecca (2012): Protecting Open Access to Taxpayer-Funded Research: The Rise and Defeat of the Research Works Act. The Serials Librarian, 63:3-4, 296-304. [Written for LIS 611: Information Policy, Spring 2012]
- [Research paper and Showcase presentation] The Gowanus Canal: A superfund site (Lauren Reinhalter). See: SILS showcase presentation
For more information contact: