School of Information and Library Science

107 Manning Hall, CB# 3360; (919) 962-8366;


Barbara Wildemuth, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


The School of Information and Library Science (SILS) was founded in 1931 and is one of the most highly regarded programs of its kind in the nation. The school first offered a minor in information systems in 1997 and initiated a major in information science in 2003. UNC–Chapel Hill is the only university in the state offering a bachelor's degree in information science and is one of only a small number of schools nationwide offering such a program.

Information science is the study of cognitive, social, technological, and organizational roles of information in all its forms. It rests on three foundational pillars: 1) content: the substance of the information being created, communicated, stored, and/or transformed; 2) people who interact with the content as creators of information, recipients of information, or intermediaries in the communication process; and 3) technology used to support the creation, communication, storage, or transformation of the content.

The bachelor of science in information science is designed to prepare its graduates for a variety of careers in the information industry, including information architecture, database design and implementation, Web design and implementation, and information consulting, as well as for graduate study. The minor in information systems provides students with an understanding of computing, multimedia, electronic information resources, and the Internet that complements their major field of study. Students concentrate their studies in the junior and senior years.

Admission to the School of Information and Library Science

Undergraduate students who have completed all prerequisite courses may apply for admission to the major program. Participation is limited, and admission is competitive. Criteria for admission include the candidate's academic record, work and extracurricular experience, and substantive thinking about the role of information in society (and, for applicants to the minor, in their major field). Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are sought for the minor. Prior computer experience is not a criterion for admission to the minor.

To apply for admission, students must complete an application through UNC–Chapel Hill's ApplyYourself application system. Information regarding the application process is available at Applicants are asked to provide the following materials:

Applications for the spring semester are available September 1 through October 1. Applications for the fall semester are available February 1 through March 1. Applications are accepted only during the application windows. No paper applications are accepted.

Questions can be addressed to the Undergraduate Student Services Manager, School of Information and Library Science, CB# 3360, 107 Manning Hall; or by sending e-mail to; or by calling (919) 962-8366.

Preparing for the Major in Information Science

Students are subject to the requirements in place when they are admitted to the School of Information and Library Science; consequently, the requirements described in this bulletin particularly apply to students admitted to the school during the 2015–2016 academic year.

First-year students and sophomores who plan to apply for the B.S.I.S. must complete the following prerequisites.

Information Science Major, B.S.

The information science major consists of 10 courses (30 credits). The courses required for completion of the B.S.I.S. are as follows:

The information science major integrates the study of the creation and management of information content, the characteristics and needs of the people who create and use information, and the technologies used to support the creation and manipulation of information. Graduating students will

B.S.I.S. students are encouraged to participate in internship or part-time employment opportunities in an information agency or an information technology company. To do so, they may enroll in INLS 393 Information Science Internship (Field Experience). During the internship, they will be supervised on site by an information professional and will work with a SILS faculty member as an advisor. Faculty-led seminars and a paper enhance the experience.

B.S.I.S. students are encouraged to consider pursuing a minor or double major (e.g., in business administration or computer science). The completion of a minor or second major must be certified by the college or school in which it is earned.

B.S.I.S. students are not allowed to complete more than 45 credits of their program (i.e., 45 of the 120 credits needed for graduation from UNC–Chapel Hill) in INLS courses. They may take a few additional INLS electives but are encouraged to acquire a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences.

All INLS courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Students may not select the Pass/D+/D/Fail option for any of the courses fulfilling requirements for the B.S.I.S. major or for any additional INLS electives, except for INLS 393 Information Science Internship. INLS 393 is only graded Pass/Fail. A minimum grade point average for graduation is 2.0.

Dual Bachelor's–Master's Degree Program

The dual bachelor's–master's program is intended to enable information science majors to obtain both their bachelor's and master's degrees by early planning of an undergraduate program that integrates well with the graduate degree requirements for either a master's in information science (M.S.I.S.) or a master's in library science (M.S.L.S).

Applying to the dual-degree program occurs in two steps. First, the student must apply to the B.S.I.S. program with intent to pursue the dual degree. When applying for the B.S.I.S., students are required to complete the "Intent to Pursue to the Dual Degree" form and submit it to the undergraduate student services manager by the B.S.I.S. application deadline. Second, the student must apply to the master's program in their sixth, seventh, or eighth semester of undergraduate study. For admission to study at the master's level in the fall semester, students should meet the application deadline in the prior spring, and for admission in the spring semester, the prior fall. In other words, students must apply in time to be continually enrolled, with no "gap" semester. The curriculum for the dual degree can be found on the SILS Web site (

Up to 12 credit hours of information science coursework taken while an undergraduate can be applied to the master's degree if the coursework is not also used to satisfy the graduation requirements for the bachelor's degree. The requirements for the master's degree can be found in the Graduate Record (

Students interested in the dual-degree program are strongly advised to consult the director of undergraduate studies at SILS in their sophomore year to discuss eligibility and an appropriate plan of study.

Information Systems Minor

The undergraduate minor in information systems provides students with an understanding of computing, networking, multimedia, electronic information resources, and the Internet and can be used to solve problems in a variety of contexts. The minor complements the student's major field of study by offering knowledge, skills, and experience using these information technologies. The undergraduate minor in information systems requires 15 credits of approved courses, in which students receive grades of C or better.


All majors are assigned a faculty advisor upon admission to SILS. Students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with their advisor and review their Tar Heel Tracker each semester. The department's director of undergraduate studies and undergraduate student services manager work with current and prospective majors by appointment. Further information on courses, undergraduate research opportunities, the honors program, careers, and graduate schools may be obtained from the SILS Web site.

Students who are double majoring are encouraged to meet periodically with an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences. It is the student's responsibility to make sure he or she is making good progress toward completing a second major outside of SILS. Information systems minors are not assigned a faculty advisor from SILS but should continue to meet with their assigned advisor in their major department.

Special Opportunities in SILS

Honors in Information Science

An honors program is available to information science majors who have demonstrated the ability to perform distinguished work. The honors thesis allows exceptional students in the undergraduate major to demonstrate the ability to treat a problem in a substantial and scholarly way. Students write an honors thesis on a topic related to information science and defend it before a faculty committee. They may graduate with honors or highest honors.

The honors program consists of two courses: INLS 691H Research Methods in Information Science and INLS 692H Honors Thesis in Information Science. These courses are in addition to the 30 hours required for the major. INLS 691H will be taken in the fall of the senior year. In this course, each student selects a research topic of interest, learns about research methods, and writes a research proposal. Assuming satisfactory completion of INLS 691H, students register for INLS 692H in the spring of their senior year. The student and advisor meet regularly to discuss the student's research and writing. The second reader for the thesis, identified jointly by the student and advisor, is chosen by the end of January. The director of the SILS honors program is the third reader. The thesis must be completed and circulated to the thesis committee by the end of March, and the oral defense of the thesis must take place in the middle of April (exact dates will be based on the registrar's calendar for the year). The final approved copies of the thesis must be submitted to the SILS office. The due date will be communicated to those in the honors program; it is always before the end of the semester.

Students may apply for the honors program in the spring of their junior year. The requirements for conducting an honors thesis in information science include having taken at least four INLS courses, including two numbered above 299, and having a total INLS grade point average of at least 3.5. The student should have an overall grade point average of at least 3.3. Enrolling in 692H is contingent on completing 691H with a grade of A- or higher.

Students who complete a high-quality thesis will graduate with honors; those whose thesis is exceptional will graduate with highest honors.


SILS maintains a combined specialized library and computer laboratory with ample seating for student collaborative work. The SILS Library is part of the UNC–Chapel Hill Academic Affairs Library System, and its collections are available for use in the library by all interested persons. The current collection consists of over 90,000 volumes and several hundred serials titles. The SILS computer laboratory is located in the school's Information Technology and Resource Center in Manning Hall and is available to students enrolled in SILS courses and programs. More than 40 PCs are available for student use, with space for use of student laptops in a wireless environment. A large selection of software is available, including data management, word processing, publishing, statistical analysis, Internet tools, graphics, development tools, multimedia, etc. Student assistants staff the help desk and are available to answer questions.

SILS students also have access to a small student lounge in Manning Hall.

Student Involvement

Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in Information Science Student Undergraduates Empowered (ISSUE). All of the school's standing committees have student representation, and all students are members of ISSUE. In addition, students may participate in professional associations in information and library science, including the student chapters of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), the American Library Association (ALA), Special Libraries Association (SLA), the Art and Museum Library and Information Student Society (AMLISS), the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and Checked Out: SILS LBGTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered, and queer).

Study Abroad

SILS has formal study abroad agreements with four schools: the Faculty of Information Studies at the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen, Denmark; Charles University in Prague, the Czech Republic; the Department of Library Science, Information Science, and Book Studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; and the University of Carlos III in Madrid, Spain. In addition, UNC–Chapel Hill has formal university ties with approximately 75 other universities–many of them with library and information science schools–where SILS students can spend a semester studying abroad. In most cases, a student pays UNC tuition and becomes a regular student in the overseas institution. Benefits include low cost for in-state students, full immersion in the host culture, and a range of subjects and courses from which to choose. Credit received for the classes appears as transfer credit on the student's transcript.

Undergraduate Awards

Two scholarships of $1,000 each are awarded to newly admitted undergraduates in the spring and fall. Undergraduates completing an honors thesis are eligible to apply for a Carnegie Grant. This award of up to $200 may be used to offset any costs that might occur during their research.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates enrolled in the honors program conduct research as part of the completion of their honors thesis. Students not in the honors program may also take advantage of a number of opportunities to participate in research with faculty members.

Career Opportunities

Career Services at SILS assists individuals in all aspects of career development, including assessing strengths and skill sets, developing a job search strategy, and connecting students and alumni with information professionals in their field.

As a professional school at UNC–Chapel Hill, we encourage students to use the technical and theoretical knowledge they gain in the classroom in professional settings. Many SILS students participate in field experiences (INLS 393) whereby they gain experience in a setting of the student's choosing.

Field experiences can be taken in any semester, including the summer, and can be in any information setting. Students must spend 135 hours at the site, attend field experience seminars, and produce a short paper for their field experience faculty advisor. Students are eligible for field experiences once they have completed their junior year and two INLS courses: 382 and 385.

SILS also works closely with University Career Services and its programs and services, including on-campus recruiting for both summer internships and professional positions. Students are encouraged to take advantage of both the offerings from Careerolina as well as targeted events for SILS students.



Stephanie W. Haas, Sandra Hughes-Hassell (Francis Carroll McColl Term Professor), Diane Kelly, Robert M. Losee, Gary Marchionini (Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor), Sarah C. Michalak (Associate Provost for Libraries), Reagan Moore, Barbara B. Moran (Louis Round Wilson Distinguished Professor), Javed Mostafa, Arcot Rajasekar, Helen R. Tibbo (Alumni Distinguished Professor), Barbara M. Wildemuth.

Associate Professors

Claudia Gollop, David Gotz, Bradley M. Hemminger, Christopher (Cal) Lee, Brian W. Sturm.

Assistant Professors

Jaime Arguello, Robert Capra, Mary Grace Flaherty, Amelia Gibson, Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi, Ryan B. Shaw, Zeynep Tufekci.

Clinical Professor

Paul Jones (Director, ibiblio).

Clinical Associate Professor

Cliff Missen (Director, WiderNet Project).

Clinical Assistant Professor

Ronald Bergquist.


Denise Anthony, Ericka Patillo.

Contact Information

Undergraduate Student Services Manager, School of Information and Library Science, CB# 3360, 107 Manning Hall, (919) 962-8366,


INLS–Information and Library Science

INLS 89 First-Year Seminar: Special Topics (3). Special topics course; content will vary each semester.

INLS 151 Retrieving and Analyzing Information (3). Introduction to and application of the processes that can be used in seeking information, evaluating the quality of the information retrieved, and synthesizing the information into a useful form.

INLS 161 Tools for Information Literacy (3). Tools and concepts for information literacy. Includes software use and maintenance, computer applications, and networked information systems.

INLS 201 Foundations of Information Science (3). Examines the evolution of information science; information representation, organization and management; search and retrieval; human information seeking and interaction; organizational behavior and communication; policy, ethics and scholarly communication.

INLS 202 Retrieval and Organizing Systems (3). Prerequisite, INLS 201. Introduction to foundational core concepts and core techniques in information organization, information retrieval, and data mining.

INLS 203Human Information Behavior (3). Prerequisite, INLS 201. Introduces key areas and concepts in information science, to include task modeling, information-seeking behavior, search behavior, human-computer interaction, usability, user interfaces, social media, and social media analysis.

INLS 318 Human Computer Interaction (3). Prerequisite, INLS 382. Design, implementation, and evaluation of interfaces for computer systems. User-based techniques, usability issues, and human factors.

INLS 382 Information Systems Analysis and Design (3). Pre- or corequisite, INLS 161. Analysis of organizational problems and how information systems can be designed to solve those problems. Application of database and interface design principles to the implementation of information systems.

INLS 384 Information and Computer Ethics (3). Prerequisite, INLS 201. Overview of ethical reasoning, followed by examination of ethical issues relevant to information science, including access to information and technology, societal impacts of technology, information privacy, surveillance and security, intellectual property, and professional ethics.

INLS 385 Information Use for Organizational Effectiveness (3). Basic concepts in the way that information, people, and technology interact to influence organizational effectiveness. Principles of problem solving, teamwork, leadership, and organizational change/innovation.

INLS 393 Information Science Internship (3). Permission of the school. Supervised observation and practice in information science. The internship typically takes place in an information agency or an information technology company. Faculty-led seminars and a paper enhance the experience. Pass/Fail only.

INLS 396 Independent Study in Information Systems (1–3). Study by an individual student on a special topic under the direction of a specific faculty member. A prospectus/plan for the work is required in advance of registration.

INLS 461 Information Tools (3). Tools and concepts for information literacy: client-server relationships, Web and Internet standards (including open source), underlying structure and use of specific software. Undergraduates may take either INLS 161 or INLS 461.

INLS 465 Understanding Information Technology for Managing Digital Collections (3). Prepares students to be conversant with information technologies that underlie digital collections in order to evaluate the work of developers, delegate tasks, write requests for proposals, and establish policies and procedures. Teaches students how to think about information technology systems and recognize and manage interdependencies between parts of the systems.

INLS 490 Selected Topics (1–3). Exploration of an introductory-level special topic not otherwise covered in the curriculum. Previous offerings of these courses do not predict their future availability; new courses may replace these.

INLS 500 Human Information Interactions (3). The behavioral and cognitive activities of those who interact with information, with emphasis on the role of information mediators. How information needs are recognized and resolved; use and dissemination of information.

INLS 501 Information Resources and Services (3). Analysis, use, and evaluation of information and reference systems, services, and tools for both printed and electronic delivery. Provides a foundation in electronic information search techniques, question negotiation, interviewing, and instruction.

INLS 502 User Education (3). Prerequisite, INLS 501. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Examines the history and context of LIS training programs. Pedagogy, teaching skills, methods of evaluation are addressed. Students may tailor learning projects to their own interests.

INLS 503 Communication Skills for Information Professionals (3). Through individual presentations, group exercises, and performance-centered feedback, this course seeks to improve students' ability to communicate their ideas clearly and present themselves positively in a professional setting.

INLS 509 Information Retrieval (COMP 487) (3). Study of information retrieval and question answering techniques, including document classification, retrieval and evaluation techniques, handling of large data collections, and the use of feedback.

INLS 512 Applications of Natural Language Processing (COMP 486) (3). Prerequisite, COMP 110, 116, or 121. Study of applications of natural language processing techniques and the representations and processes needed to support them. Topics include interfaces, text retrieval, machine translation, speech processing, and text generation.

INLS 513 Resource Selection and Evaluation (3). Identification, provision, and evaluation of resources to meet primary needs of clientele in different institutional environments.

INLS 515 Consumer Health Information (3). Examines concepts of health, health conditions, policy, and information collections and services from social and cultural perspectives. Analysis and design for provision and access to consumer health information services.

INLS 520 Organization of Information (3). Introduction to the problems and methods of organizing information, including information structures, knowledge schemata, data structures, terminological control, index language functions, and implications for searching.

INLS 523 Introduction to Database Concepts and Applications (3). Pre- or corequisite, INLS 161 or 461. Design and implementation of basic database systems. Semantic modeling, relational database theory, including normalization, indexing, and query construction, SQL.

INLS 525 Electronic Records Management (3). Explores relationships between new information and communication technologies and organizational efforts to define, identify, control, manage, and preserve records. Considers the importance of organizational, institutional and technological factors in determining appropriate recordkeeping strategies.

INLS 530 Young Adult Literature and Related Materials (3). A survey of print and nonprint library materials particularly suited to the needs of adolescents.

INLS 534 Youth and Technology in Libraries (3). This course encourages students to explore the array of technologies available to children and adolescents, the issues surrounding the use of technology, the role of care givers, and potential impacts on development.

INLS 540 Building a Personal Digital Library (3). Students will implement a personal digital LifeTime Library. Topics include creation of a personal digital library, organization of the material, creation of descriptive metadata, management, and sharing of the collection.

INLS 541 Information Visualization (3). An introduction to information visualization through reading current literature and studying exemplars. The course reviews information visualization techniques, provides a framework for identifying the need for information visualization, and emphasizes interactive electronic visualizations that use freely available tools. Students will construct several visualizations. No programming skills are required.

INLS 550 History of the Book and Other Information Formats (3). The history of the origin and development of the book in all its formats: clay tablets to electronic. Coverage includes scientific and other scholarly publications, religious works, popular literature, periodicals, and newspapers.

INLS 551 History of Libraries and Other Information-Related Cultural Institutions (3). The history of cultural institutions related to information from earliest times to the present day. Includes specific institutions, trends in service and facilities, and individuals important in the development of these institutions.

INLS 554 Cultural Institutions (3). Explores cultural institutions–libraries, museums, parks, zoological and botanical gardens, reconstructions, and other settings–as lifelong educational environments.

INLS 556 Introduction to Archives and Records Management (3). Survey of the principles, techniques, and issues in the acquisition, management, and administration of records, manuscripts, archives, and other cultural and documentary resources in paper, electronic, and other media formats.

INLS 558 Principles and Techniques of Storytelling (3). An overview of storytelling, its historical development, and the presentation and administration of storytelling programs. The class focuses on performance skills merged with theoretical issues.

INLS 560 Programming for Information Science (3). Introduction to programming and computational concepts. Students will learn to write programs using constructs such as iteration, flow control, variables, functions, and error handling. No programming experience required.

INLS 566 Information Assurance (3). Prerequisite, INLS 161 or 461. Aspects of data integrity, privacy, and security from several perspectives: legal issues, technical tools and methods, social and ethical concerns, and standards.

INLS 572 Web Development I (3). Prerequisite, INLS 161 or 461. Introduction to Internet concepts, applications, and services. Introduces the TCP/IP protocol suite along with clients and servers for Internet communication, browsing, and navigation. Examines policy, management, and implementation issues.

INLS 574 Introduction to Local Area Networks (3). Prerequisite, INLS 161 or 461. Introduction to local area network hardware, topologies, operating systems, and applications. Also discusses LAN management and the role of the network administrator.

INLS 576 Distributed Systems and Administration (3). Prerequisite, INLS 161 or 461. Distributed and client/server-based computing. Includes operating system basics, security concerns, and issues and trends in network administration.

INLS 578 Protocols and Network Management (3). Prerequisite, INLS 161 or 461. Network protocols and protocol stacks. Included are discussions of protocol classes, packet filtering, address filtering, network management, and hardware such as protocol analyzers, repeaters, routers, and bridges.

INLS 581 Research Methods Overview (3). An introduction to research methods used in information and library science, exploring the design, interpretation, analysis, and application of published research.

INLS 582 Systems Analysis (3). Introduction to the systems approach to the design and development of information systems. Methods and tools for the analysis and modeling of system functionality (e.g., structured analysis) and data represented in the system (e.g., object-oriented analysis) are studied. Undergraduates are encouraged to take INLS 382 instead of this course.

INLS 584 Information Ethics (3). An overview of ethical reasoning, followed by discussion of issues most salient to information professionals, e.g., intellectual property, privacy, access/censorship, effects of computerization, and ethical codes of conduct.

INLS 585 Management for Information Professionals (3). Introduction to management principles and practices for information professionals working in all types of organizations. Topics include planning, budgeting, organizational theory, staffing, leadership, organizational change and evaluation, and decision making.

INLS 609 Experimental Information Retrieval (3). Prerequisite, INLS 509. This course takes an in-depth look at experimental information retrieval systems that focus on different search tasks and are evaluated in community-wide evaluation forums such as TREC and INEX.

INLS 613 Text Mining (3). This course will allow the student to develop a general understanding of knowledge discovery and gain a specific understanding of text mining. Students will become familiar with both the theoretical and practical aspects of text mining and develop a proficiency with data modeling text.

INLS 620 Web Information Organization (3). Prerequisites, INLS 520 or 560. Similar programming background needed. Understand the Web as a platform for information organizing systems. Learn how the Web has been designed to be a service platform, data publishing platform, and application platform.

INLS 621 Personal Information Management (3). This course focuses on issues in personal information management research and practice, including information organization, human cognition and memory, task continuity across devices, preservation, and the role of technology in personal information management.

INLS 623 Database Systems II: Intermediate Databases (3). Prerequisites, INLS 382 or 582, and 523. Intermediate-level design and implementation of database systems, building on topics studied in INLS 523. Additional topics include MySQL, indexing, XML, and nontext databases.

INLS 624 Policy-Based Data Management (3). Prerequisite, INLS 461 or COMP 110 or 116. Students will develop policies for managing digital repositories and persistent archives. The rules will be implemented in the integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS), which organizes and distributes data into shareable collections.

INLS 626 Introduction to Big Data and NoSQL (1.5). Prerequisite, INLS 523. Information is being generated at an exponential scale in many areas, from astronomy to social networking and e-marketing. Processes for handling these data are data intensive, require heavy read/write workloads, and do not need the stringent ACID properties of relational databases. Several specific systems will be studied as examples.

INLS 672 Web Development II (3). Prerequisite, INLS 572. Study of design and implementation of applications using both client and server side configuration and programming. Example topics include PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Javascript.

INLS 690 Intermediate Selected Topics (1–3). Exploration of a special topic not otherwise covered in the curriculum, at an intermediate level. Previous offering of course does not predict future availability; new courses may replace these. Topic varies by instructor.

INLS 691H Research Methods in Information Science (3). Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Restricted to information science majors. An introduction to research methods used in information science. Includes the writing of a research proposal.

INLS 692H Honors Thesis in Information Science (3). Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Restricted to information science majors. Students in the SILS undergraduate honors program engage in independent research and write an honors thesis reporting the research under the supervision of a faculty member.

INLS 696 Study in Information and Library Science (1–3). Permission of the instructor. Study by an individual student on a special topic under the direction of a specific faculty member. Six credit maximum for master's students. Graduate faculty.

INLS 697 Information Science Capstone (3). Senior standing required. Information science major or minor. Contemporary topics of information science, information systems, information technology, information design, and information management. Assessment of future impact of new developments.