The School of Information

I’m now in my second semester of a master’s program at the U.C. Berkeley School of Information. This term, I’m taking a course called “Concepts of Information” with Geoff Nunberg (whom you may have heard as the linguist contributor on NPR’s Fresh Air) and Paul Duguid. Our first assignment was to write an elevator pitch for the I School—a short prepackaged description of what the program is about. I’ve attempted to explain to many interested friends and family members what I’m studying, so here’s what I wrote:

The School of Information grew out of the School of Library and Information Science. Berkeley dropped the “library” part and entered the 21st century with a focus on information, particularly information technology but also the social and legal issues surrounding information. We’re trying both to understand how people use information and to design and build useful, usable information systems. In that sense it’s very multi-disciplinary, drawing on theory and methodology from fields including computer science, sociology, business, economics, and law. Examples of areas in which I School students specialise include information retrieval, interface design, technology in developing regions, education, and technological standards and policy.

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