U-Md. unveils iSchool lab wing

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony in College Park yesterday, the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies opened its new research facility on the second floor of the Hornbake Library.

Maryland's iSchool, as it's called, was created more than 40 years ago with the primary purpose of training librarians. Now the college is also serving as a research center for innovations in searching, retrieving, communicating, storing and managing information, with a special focus on digital technologies, said Jennifer Preece, dean of the College of Information Studies.

The new facility is equipped with a user-testing laboratory and space for the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory. It's also home to the Center for Information Policy and Electronic Government (CIPEG), as well as a new Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information.

One of CIPEG's major areas of research is e-government, and its implications for governments and citizens. The center also offers courses to government employees on security, privacy, records management, classification, access, and other legal and policy issues.

At the ceremony yesterday, students and faculty gave talks on topics ranging from 'The Virtual Bughouse Square: Web 2.0 and State Government Portals' to 'Can We Hack a Webkinz, Please?'

Other research topics recently explored by the iSchool's students and faculty include:
  • How social networking and community Web sites transform the way people communicate and react to information.
  • How libraries and government agencies can change their services to meet the needs of society.
  • How to better meet the information needs of older adults.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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