My Simmons

Master of Science Tracks

Simmons offers several opportunities to focus your studies on a particular area through the following topical tracks:

  • Information Organization
  • Preservation Management
  • Youth Services

All students, regardless of what track they choose, must complete the core courses. The “Key Courses” listed below for each track represent those highly recommended for that subject area. “Recommended electives” can increase the breadth of knowledge in the subject or service area.

Note: While all tracks are available to SLIS West students not all courses may be available at SLIS West or online. Depending on the track SLIS West Students may need to take classes in Boston. Please see the most recent Projected Two-Year Schedule of Courses to identify courses available online and to learn more about when courses are taught online or in person on the Boston campus. See SLIS West Academics for courses generally offered at SLIS West.

Information Organization

Information Organization is at the heart of library and information science. It is the infrastructure that supports activities and services we provide to our users and helps people find resources to meet their information needs. Information organization, in its many forms, is central to the work of information professionals in libraries, archives, museums, and other information settings.

Information organization is library and information science’s unique contribution to the world. Its roots can be traced back to ancient times, but information organization is always looking toward the future. While many of the basic tenets of information organization are universal, practices have been adapted by a myriad of different communities in order to meet the needs of widely varying users, changing information environments, and the diversity of resource types and formats emerging today.

Key Courses:

  • LIS 415: Information Organization
  • LIS 416: Descriptive Cataloging
  • LIS 417: Subject Cataloging and Classification
  • LIS 419: Indexing and Thesaurus Construction
  • LIS 440: Archival Access and Use (pre-requisite, LIS 438)
  • LIS 445: Metadata

Recommended Electives:

  • LIS 446: Art Documentation for Museums, Archives, and Libraries
  • LIS 453: Collection Development and Management
  • LIS 458: Database Management
  • LIS 462: Digital Libraries
  • LIS 467: Web Development and Information Architecture
  • LIS 471: Photographic Archives and Visual Information (pre-requisite, LIS 438)


With amount of information increasing at an unprecedented rate on the Internet, in print, and in electronic databases, there is an increased demand for skilled professionals who can access, organize, disseminate, and retrieve data. Categorizing information to make it accessible continues to be one of the great opportunities and challenges of the 21st century librarian. Possible career opportunities include:

  • Cataloger: Create description and access for library materials of all kinds; work with colleagues in the implementation and improvement of automated library systems, especially online public access catalogs. Settings: libraries of all kinds, library service companies.
  • Indexer/Taxonomist: Develop subject index and classification systems and taxonomies for books, journals, Web sites, and special collections. Settings: libraries of all kinds, publishers, information architecture firms, business and industry, personal libraries.
  • Metadata Specialist: Select and implement appropriate methods for describing and preserving objects in digital collections; consult to institution-wide digital projects. Settings: academic and research libraries, historical societies, museums.
  • Technical Services Archivist: Arrange, describe, and provide access to records; create finding aids and indexes. Settings: archives in institutions of all kinds, including government agencies, historical societies, academic institutions, and corporate settings.
Preservation Management

Preservation managers are responsible for the care of collections which may include paper-based materials, digital records, time-based media, and objects. These professionals focus on the aggregate care of collections. Their responsibilities may include environmental monitoring, disaster preparedness, collections maintenance, digitization and other reproduction strategies, user education, planning, and grant writing. Preservation managers work with conservators and experts in new and time-based media to assure the best treatment and reproduction strategies for their collections.

Simmons SLIS has the distinction of being the only LIS program in the country to have been offering preservation courses continuously since 1981. The preservation program combines hands-on practical experiences with the theoretical underpinnings of preservation and conservation. Simmons SLIS also draws on a strong pool of preservation professionals in the Boston area as adjunct faculty and internship supervisors. Our array of courses is unmatched with content that covers the continuum of analog to digital.

Key Courses:

It is recommended that students interested in the Preservation track take at least five of the fifteen courses listed below and must include LIS 439 or LIS 444 as one of the five. If this is not possible, students should work with their advisors to select the courses that best fit with their programs.

  • LIS 425: History of the Book
  • LIS 432: Cultural Heritage Informatics
  • LIS 439: Preservation Management
  • LIS 441: Appraisal of Archives and Manuscripts (Prerequisite: LIS 438)
  • LIS 447: Collection Maintenance
  • LIS 448: Digital Stewardship
  • LIS 449: Rare Books and Special Collections Librarianship
  • LIS 462: Digital Libraries
  • LIS 464: The Medieval Manuscript from Charlemagne to Gutenberg
  • LIS 471: Photographic Archives and Visual Information
  • LIS 472: Moving Image Archives
  • LIS 477: Digital Asset Management for Libraries, Archives and Museums
  • LIS 500: Independent Study
  • LIS 532Q: Museum Studies


Students following the Preservation track may be interested in working in archives, libraries, or other collecting institutions. They take courses that develop expertise in understanding the role of preservation in the storage and handling of collections, managing preservation programs, and the newly emerging challenges of preserving materials in digital form. They are also encouraged to take additional classes in the preservation challenges of specific materials, such as photographic materials, audio materials, and books. Students who graduate with courses in the Preservation track typically find employment in preservation management positions in libraries and archives or collection management in other cultural heritage institutions.

Youth Services

Youth Services librarians work with children and young adults, most often in public library settings. (Note, although many students are interested both in school librarianship and in youth services, they are two separate areas — the School Library Teacher concentration requires a specific course of study in order to obtain the certification necessary to work within a school system, where as the youth services area is more a recommended set of classes to take.)

Simmons SLIS has a long history of excellence in Youth Services and is currently ranked among the top ten in the country among LIS programs who offer courses in the area of Services to Children and Youth.

Key Courses:

  • LIS 412: Library Programs and Services for Young Adults
  • LIS 450: Public Libraries
  • LIS 481: Library Collections and Materials for Children
  • LIS 482: Library Programs and Services for Children
  • LIS 483: Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults

Recommended Electives:

  • LIS 408: User Instruction
  • LIS 410: Information Services for Diverse Users
  • LIS 420: Modern Publishing and Librarianship
  • LIS 422: Literacy and Services to Underserved Populations
  • LIS 423: Storytelling
  • LIS 453: Collection Development and Management
  • LIS 460: Technology and the School Library Media Center


As children’s literature has re-entered mainstream discussions of adult and youth reading, librarians, teachers, booksellers, and publishers are becoming more interested in critical and pragmatic discussions of diverse texts. SLIS offers specialized literature and services courses to those students interested in increasing their familiarity with these materials with an eye toward professional youth services in libraries.

  • Children’s Services Librarian: Stimulate children’s interest in reading through programming, such as story-time, reading challenges, after-school outreach programs, and special events.
  • Young Adult/Teen Services Librarian: Provide library services to tweens, preteens, and teenagers. Assist with school projects to performing program outreach, such as video games nights, poetry slams, and book clubs.