Message from the Head of Department

Head Of the Department of Information Science:  Prof Ina Fourie 

  

Welcome to our Department of Information Science.

The information explosion together with developments in technology have led to the convergence of traditional communication media and turned the Information Era into a web of integrated communication connections and opportunities to access and share information. This integration of paper publications, broadcast media and the web, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, have given rise to a whole new generation of opportunities and careers and necessitates the training of information intermediaries and content producers. You can become part of this highly competitive and futuristic environment by enrolling for one of our exciting degrees. Become an information specialist, competitive intelligence professional, knowledge manager, multimedia developer or publisher. You can also explore many other opportunities that will open up from postgraduate studies at the honours, masters and doctoral level where we aim for research that might make a difference in society, addressing global challenges and dynamic technological developments.

  1. BIS (Information Science) – Develop skills in the management, organisation and retrieval of the most important resource of an enterprise – information and knowledge.
  2. BIS (Multimedia) – Prepare for the development of IT solutions requiring both creativity and logical thinking. Multimedia consolidates technology, art and design.
  3. BIS (Publishing) – Participate in training aimed at a new generation of publishers who create information products to fulfil the leisure, learning and instructional needs of readers both locally and internationally.

All our programmes are also available at postgraduate level (honours, masters and doctoral). We have dedicated staff who, through on-going research and local and international collaboration, keep abreast of new developments in our specialised fields of study.

The Department is one of the three departments in the School of Information Technology (SIT). The other two departments are Computer Science and Informatics; see http://www.up.ac.za/school-of-information-technology. SIT was established in 1998 and has since 2000 been housed in the Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT). The three departments joined forces in 1999 to offer a joint coursework Master's programme, the M.IT, currently known as the M.IT Stream A, to distinguish it from the Carnegie-funded M.IT Stream B, as well as a four-year Bachelor's programme, the B.IT. More recently the M.IT Stream B programme (targeting the next generation library and information professionals (LIS)), became a self-sustaining postgraduate programme. The Department is also involved in the M.IT Stream C programme specialising in Data Science.

Our Department was awarded a grant by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to offer a Master's programme for qualified librarians from academic libraries from specified sub-Saharan African countries, for the period 2011 – 2014, focussing on knowledge and skills in ICTs, viz. the M.IT Stream B programme. Since 2015 this became a self-sustaining programme. It makes use of a blended and hybrid teaching model, using technology-mediated lectures through audio-conferencing and the University of Pretoria (UP) learning management system. The Department was also awarded a second grant by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to offer eight four-week residential continuing professional development (CPD) programmes for qualified librarians from specified countries in sub-Saharan Africa, for the period 2014 – 2016, focussing on hands-on ICT skills. The training tookplace in Pretoria.

In addition our Department also hosts a research centre, the African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE) headed by Dr Coetzee Bester and an enthusiastic team of colleagues. In 2007, a group of international academics in the fields of Information Science, Information Technology, Philosophy and Politics came together to form an academic network to do research on Information Ethics. This network is now known as the African Network on Information Ethics (ANIE). ANIE identified a gap in the academic representation of the African continent on the global stage, specifically pertaining to Information Ethics, and therefore started organising events to stimulate research on Information Ethics in Africa. The result of these activities and international collaboration has led to a partnership with the South African National Department of Communications (the DoC), the United Nations Education, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) and various universities across Africa. This collaboration contributed to the establishment of the African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE), funded through a grant from the DoC for the period 2011 – 2017. Since 2018 the ACEIE was involved with and supported by the UNESCO IFAP activities in 22 African countries, all the BRICS countries as well as some focused activities in the Global-South region.  

We organise our research in four research focus areas, viz.: Information and knowledge management and competitive intelligence; Information behaviour, organisation and retrieval; the Meta-context of information; and Publishing studies. Our staff are very active researchers, publishing widely in international and local accredited journals, presenting many papers at international and local conferences, and producing many other research outputs of a high international standard such as a textbook on navigating information literacy and various internationally published titles for the scholarly and professional communities. Staff regularly travel abroad for research visits. . Through our research and teaching we have built up a wide international network of collaborators. Staff serve on the editorial boards of many international and national journals and are active in the management structures of a number of local and international scholarly organisations.

Come and join this exciting new world of Information Science in all its facets where we are focusing on academic and research capacity building and nurturing innovative and creative minds keen to address 21st century challenges.

 

 

 

Published by Koos de Beer

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