Master of Science Tracks

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

  • Information Organization
  • Management and Leadership
  • Preservation Management
  • User Services
  • 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 453: Collection Development and Management
  • LIS 456: Managing Records in Electronic Environments (pre-requisite, LIS 438)
  • 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)
  • LIS 487: Data Interoperability

Careers:

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, 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 sources, academic institutions, and corporate settings.
Management and Leadership

Simmons has long been associated with Management and Leadership in the masters program. Many Simmons SLIS graduates end up as managers and leaders both within their institutions and throughout the professional community.

Because management and leadership is a part of every area of the discipline, there is no set path to prepare. However, the courses listed provide a broad foundation from which to launch your career.

Key Courses:

  • LIS 404: Principles of Management
  • LIS 406: Organization/Management of School Library Media Centers (for SLTP students)
  • LIS 414: Special Libraries
  • LIS 442: Establishing Archives and Manuscript Programs (Prerequisites: LIS 438 and LIS 440)
  • LIS 450: Organization and Management of Public Libraries
  • LIS 451: Academic Libraries
  • LIS 465: Knowledge Management
  • LIS 475: Organizational/Information Ethics

Recommended Electives:

  • LIS 403: Evaluation of Information Services
  • LIS 410: Information Services for Diverse Users
  • LIS 453: Collection Development and Management
  • LIS 474: Competitive Intelligence
  • LIS 493: Intellectual Freedom and Censorship

Careers:

Today, there are a multitude of opportunities for librarians to establish themselves as key influencers in a variety of fields, including technology, education, law, medical, among others. Program graduates are equipped to demonstrate competency in a full range of leadership skills to make visionary decisions. As the next generation of library leaders, SLIS graduates are experienced in evaluating library services, as well as assessing the management and leadership of those services.

  • Department Director
  • Director of Acquisitions
  • Library Director
  • Library System Executive Director
  • Project Manager
  • Public Services Manager
  • Solo Librarian (special or corporate libraries)
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. Working closely with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and the North Bennet Street School, the Simmons SLIS 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 twelve courses listed below. If this is not possible, students should work with their advisors to select the courses that best fit with their programs.

  • LIS 439: Preservation Management
  • LIS 441: Appraisal of Archives and Manuscripts (Prerequisite: LIS 438)
  • LIS 447: Collection Maintenance
  • LIS 448: Digital Stewardship
  • LIS 425: History of the Book
  • LIS 432: Cultural Heritage Informatics
  • LIS 462: Digital Libraries
  • LIS 464: The Medieval Manuscript from Charlemagne to Gutenberg
  • LIS 471: Photographic Archives and Visual Information
  • LIS 500: Independent Study
  • LIS 503: Practicum for Cultural Heritage Informatics

Careers:

Students following the Preservation track may be interested in working in archives, libraries, or other collection 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 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.

User Services

User Services professionals generally work in front-line positions interacting directly with users, as well as designing and managing collections, programming, instruction, and other resources for their communities. Some typical titles include Instruction Librarian, Adult Services Librarian, First-Year Experience Librarian, Outreach or Communications Librarian, Reference Librarian, Public Services Librarian, and Liaison Librarian.

All types of information settings employ user services professionals.

This document outlines a suggested program of courses for students interested in becoming a User Services Professional in any setting, in addition to the core courses required of all MSLIS students.

Key Courses:

  • LIS 404: Principles of Management
  • LIS 408: User Instruction
  • LIS 410: Information Services for Diverse Users
  • LIS 430: Business Information Sources and Services
  • LIS 450: Public Libraries
  • LIS 451: Academic Libraries

Careers:

While some have suggested that the Internet is reducing the need for libraries, the reality is libraries are now needed more than ever in different ways. Although information is now at the fingertips, it is often unfiltered and unreliable. Questions have become more challenging to answer. Support is necessary to obtain the information patrons need. User services are evolving to meet the changing demands from providing subject specific consulting services to embedding librarians in the greater community.

User services provide the foundation necessary to assess, evaluate, and retrieve information based on patrons' needs. Whatever the setting—public, academic, corporate, or special library—the opportunities below show there is still a demand for such services.

  • Academic Librarian
  • Collection Development
  • Instructional Librarian
  • Medical Librarian
  • Public Librarian
  • Reference Librarian
  • Virtual Reference Specialist
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 Program 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 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

Careers:

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.
  • Youth 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.