From FIS to iSchool
June 28, 2008
Faculty Name Change Signals New Direction
Effective June 30, 2008, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information Studies will be known as the Faculty of Information.
“Although it is superficially minor, we view this change as a significant and exciting development,” says Brian Cantwell Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Information. “The faculty is poised for a new period of excellence and growth, which will be reflected in the new name.”
The change occurs at a time when the faculty is celebrating its 80th academic year. In shortened form, the Faculty will be known as the “iSchool”, or as “Information,” becoming the only information school in Canada. The faculty name is in keeping with the other 18 ischools in North America, and with other faculties and departments on the U of T campus.
“Like ‘Law’ and ‘Medicine’, the faculty will be named for the subject matter we study, as opposed to the study of that subject matter,” says Dean Cantwell Smith. “This new name will communicate the mission of the faculty more clearly and directly.”
On July 2, 2008, the Faculty of Information website will change to http://www.ischool.utoronto.ca.
The faculty started out at U of T in 1928 as the Library School, and in 1972, became the Faculty of Library Science. Ten years later, the name was changed to the Faculty of Library and Information Science. Recognizing the changing role of the profession, in 1994 the faculty changed its name to the Faculty of Information Studies. Fourteen years later, this latest name change is the result of the program’s continuing evolution.
Over the years, the faculty has expanded it focus to include a broad range of fields of study such as library and information science; archives and records management; critical information studies; information management and knowledge management; information, media, and design; museum studies; and the epistemological and ontological foundations of information.
The faculty is also entering a period of leadership change. Dean Cantwell Smith’s five-year term comes to a close at the end of June. Vice-dean Jens-Erik Mai will serve as acting dean from July 1 through December 31, 2008. On January 1, 2009, Seamus Ross will begin a seven-year term as the new Dean. Ross is currently professor of humanities informatics and digital curation at the University of Glasgow.