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Updated 8:30 AM April 16, 2007
 

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SI launches nation's first master's in social computing

School of Information (SI) faculty have been leaders in inventing and analyzing many of the techniques that have powered the rise of social computing, which involves using software and technology to create social interaction and communication through such means as e-mail, instant messaging and Weblogs, among others.

But developing an understanding of the underlying dynamics at play and the critical technology choices in the field has required a patchwork of academic courses at a select few institutions.

Now SI offers students the nation's first graduate-degree specialization in social computing through the Master of Science in Information.

The specialization is one of nine the school offers—six of which are newly launched—that prepare students for careers in long established and newly emerging fields.

"Our specializations give students more choice and more flexibility than ever before," says Judy Lawson, director of academic and career services. "They also respond to the needs of organizations in hot fields like social computing. Employers want graduates with a deep understanding of how to manage information and at the same time make it easily accessible to users. SI is staying ahead of the curve."

In addition to social computing, the school offers specializations in:

• Incentive-centered design—Designs systems or institutions to align individual incentives with overall organizational goals. It draws deeply from economics, psychology and sociology, with computer science as a unifying thread;

• Community informatics—Prepares students for positions as public interest information professionals and technical leaders for nonprofit organizations, government agencies, community development agencies and entrepreneurial social ventures;

• Information analysis and retrieval—Teaches how information is stored in computer systems, how it is searched and analyzed, and how humans access it;

• Preservation of information—Identifies preservation challenges and standards based preservation practices and responds to the urgent need for expertise in preservation, digital curation and Web archiving;

• Information policy—Prepares students to analyze and design information policy at both the organizational and general public policy level;

• Library and information services—Prepares students for all aspects of librarianship. Students may also choose a track for careers in K-12 school media.

• Archives and records management—Teaches concepts and techniques to manage historical materials as well as methods that can be applied in information systems design to support integrity, authenticity, access, and long-term preservation of records; and

• Human-computer interaction—Educates the professional who designs and develops technologies that fit the organization and work practices, the work to be done, and the user.

The multidisciplinary SI also offers dual master's degrees in business, law, medicine, nursing, public policy and social work, and a doctoral program in information.

For more information go to si.umich.edu/

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