The iSchool movement began several decades ago in the United States when a number of schools that were offering degrees in the library and information sciences realized that their teaching and research programs had capacity to reach a broader audience of students and to prepare professionals for work beyond libraries.
The term “information professional” was being used to describe people who were working in settings that were emerging from the growing information, technology and knowledge economy. The need for research related to the increasing role that information was playing in the lives of people, communities and institutions was also apparent.
The original schools in the information school (iSchool) movement predicted an increasing need for schools that could respond to these research needs and to changes in society and the workplace. They began hiring additional faculty with relevant expertise and developing new academic and research programs.
From a small group of schools in the U.S. this movement now includes over 80 schools from all parts of the world. In all regions of the world, researchers in iSchools are focusing their attention on enhancing the lives of people, the productivity of companies, the innovation cycles of industries, the design of technologies, the policies that govern technology and information use, information services to communities, and much more.
Adapted with permission from an interview with University of Washington iSchool Dean Harry Bruce, appearing in the Aug. 24, 2017 issue of UW News. Bruce served as iCaucus Chair, 2010-2012.
For a more detailed summary, read the History of the iSchools by University of Pittsburgh iSchool Dean Ron Larsen, iCaucus Chair 2016-2018.