The University of Tennessee, Knoxville's School of Information Sciences in the College of Communication and Information has received two grants which total more than $850,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to train information science experts.
The larger of the two grants involves Chancellor's Professor Carol Tenopir as principal investigator along with co-principal investigators SIS Professor and Interim Director Dania Bilal and SIS Associate Professor Rachel Fleming-May. They have been awarded a two-year $811,501 grant from the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program. The grant will provide assistantships and co-curricular educational opportunities for master's degree students interested in becoming information professionals specializing in assessment and user experience.
"Information professionals are expected to test users' experience online to create user-friendly environments for a diverse range of users, but few programs prepare their graduate students for this work," said Tenopir. Students involved in this project will participate in hands-on mentored research experiences at UT user experience laboratories, UT Libraries, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, Information International Associates and the Tombras Group.
The second grant involves SIS Assistant Professor Devendra Potnis as principal investigator along with co-principal investigators CCI Associate Dean for Research and SIS Professor Suzie Allard and SIS Professor Ed Cortez. They have been awarded a one-year planning grant for Project MISSILE (Mobile Information Skills and Solutions in Library Education) totaling $40,121.
"In the last decade libraries have struggled to keep up with the growing popularity of mobile technologies," said Potnis. "As a result, this project will focus on developing interdisciplinary graduate coursework, which trains students to serve as mobile technology consultants for libraries."
CCI Dean Mike Wirth commended the six faculty members on preparing forward-looking projects.
"These projects allow us to provide an outstanding group of graduate students with cutting-edge information service and research skills that will benefit the communities they serve for many years to come. The great work of our faculty researchers continues to propel the University of Tennessee further toward its goal of becoming a top 25 public research university."
IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit the IMLS website.