Vision & Core Values

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Vision & Core Values
We believe information professionals — whether librarians, archivists, user experience designers, or data analysts — can make the world a better and fairer place.

Vision

The University of Texas at Austin School of Information is a premier research and education program for the 21st century field of information.

We are bridgers:

Connecting people to information, connecting the past to the present and to the future, and connecting different disciplines.

We are changing the future by engaging the present and preserving the past. Research and teaching at the iSchool changes the ways that we interact with information and technology, changes how information can make the world a better and fairer place, and changes the ways we protect and preserve our collective memory.

Core Values

At the School of Information, we are committed to making a positive difference in people’s lives through excellence in research, teaching, and public engagement. Our core values underpin our efforts to shape the field of information for human and social benefit by:

  • Discovering new and vital knowledge about information
  • Educating the next generation of leaders in the information professions
  • Developing new scholars who will advance knowledge
  • Improving society through service and collaboration
  • Applying human-centered values to all our work

Our Values

Information Serves Humanity

We understand that information technologies must serve the needs of people, and that access to reliable information is essential to a functioning civil society.

A People-First Perspective

Information systems must be designed to augment and enhance human and organizational capabilities; doing so requires bringing people into the process from the start.

Technology for Social Good

All emerging technologies raise ethical and social issues that require study, research, and intervention.

An Interdisciplinary Approach

Multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches offer the best hope for building information systems and shaping information practices that will serve the public interest.

Grand Challenges

We live in the Information Age, offering unprecedented opportunities but also unmatched threats and challenges. Rigorous research is required to ensure that we understand the scope of the emerging challenges, and build our responses using the best data and evidence available.

Examples of some of the big questions being addressed at the School of Information include:

Ethical Technologies & Human-Centered User Experiences
  • How can we design information technologies, large and small, that have human values and social justice embedded in their design?
  • How can we advance our understanding of how we experience information with research that uses cutting edge behavioral, psychological, social, and neurological methods?
  • What are the best practices that will improve user experiences and user interfaces?
  • How can emerging technologies such as AI / artificial intelligence be designed to serve the public good?
Managing an Exponentially Growing Amount of Information
  • The amount of data produced in the world doubles approximately every 15 months, and while computing technology has largely kept up with these staggering increases in the amount of information available, fundamental human perception and cognition have not changed in the tens of thousands of years.
  • If human beings cannot gain access to information and process it, even the best practices of indexing, categorizing, organizing, curating, archiving, preserving, and conserving it are of no value. Our research is driven by concerns with how to create, store, and present information in a way such that human beings might gain access to it, process it, and experience it.
Innovating Memory Institutions
  • What are the innovations in memory institutions such as libraries, museums, and archives that will ensure that we all have access to knowledge, information, and data that enhances our lives, our families, and our communities?
  • What emerging skills and knowledge do information professionals such as librarians, archivists, and curators need to stay at the forefront of their professions, and how can we ensure our students and alumni are among the most advanced professionals and leaders in their fields?
Preserving Our Collective Memory
  • What information will we leave to the future? Will we bequeath them a rich record of the human endeavor, carefully archived, conserved, and made available?
  • We might also leave a vast trove of data, but one which is so full of misinformation, incomplete or misleading data, and so little interoperability that it becomes too difficult or impossible to use. Or will we leave almost no record, as the digital traces stored today are lost when systems are upgraded, formats change, and the ability to use legacy information artifacts degrades?

 

The future requires us to address these challenges head-on today, and we are doing so at The University of Texas at Austin School of Information.

iSchool Research     Our Programs

iSchool Partnerships

ischools organization

iSchools Organization

The iSchools organization was founded in 2005 by a collective of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st Century.

Texas Computing

Texas Computing

Texas Computing brings together exceptional faculty, unique interdisciplinary programs, and a large talented pool of students to create opportunities for learning and research unrivaled in the world.

Good Systems

Bridging Barriers > Good Systems

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we live and work — often, for the better — but it has the potential to be harmful in ways we fail to predict. Designing AI technologies that benefit society is our grand challenge.

Public Interest Technology

New America's Public Interest Technology

New America’s Public Interest Technology team connects technologists to public interest organizations. We aim to improve services to vulnerable communities and strengthen local organizations that serve them.