School of Information Management & Systems.   Spring 2003.
245 Organization of Information in Collections.   Michael Buckland.

Why Take This Course?

Organizing information in purposeful ways is the most central concern of the Information Manager. MIMS graduates should expect that, out in the real world, they will need to create categories and classification schemes, make indexes, create thesauri, describe and represent objects, and so on. That is why all SIMS Masters' students are not only required to take 202 Information Organization and Retrieval but should also extend what they learned in 202 by taking 245 Organization of Information in Collections. With the consent of the instructor, 245 can be taken without 202 as a prerequisite.

As the enabling technologies (paper, card, printing, microform, digital computers, telecommunications) evolve, the constraints on what is economically feasible has changed in interesting ways and will continue to change during one's professional career. But the principles and problems of creating and arranging descriptions and representations of data, documents, and other potentially signifying objects are substantially independent of the technologies used to implement them. And if you deal with more than one information object, then you have a collection.

Management skills, programming skills, an understanding of societal and policy issues, and other elements in the SIMS curriculum are all important, but organizing information for specific purposes is a curricular ingredient that you are not likely to pick up from other departments.

245 also provides the basis for Ph.d field Field 2: Organization and representation of information and is directly relevant to Field 5: Information retrieval.

245 is designed to complement (and is scheduled in conjunction with) 240 Principles of Information Retrieval, which focuses on algorithms and procedures for finding what has been categorized, described and organized.

290 Classification and Bibliographic Representation, provides a technical introduction to library cataloging and classification those who want more depth in library cataloging and classification. It can be taken without 245, but is designed to be a supplement to 245.

Librarians need people with the strengths that SIMS provides. For students who take the right electives I have been writing letters to help explain to libraries that, with these electives, the MIMS degree should be acceptably equal to an accredited Masters degree (Text).