Foundations of Information Science

UNC School of Information and Library Science, INLS 201, Fall 2017

Midterm paper

Due October 12.

The midterm paper is the first part of the final paper for this course.

The point of the final paper is

  1. to give you the opportunity to investigate something you’re interested in, and how it relates to information science, and

  2. to help you figure out what you need to know (what to major in? what classes to take? who to talk to?) in order to follow your interests further.

For example: suppose you’re interested in sports. Can you connect this interest to information science? Yes, you can: most sports rely on various different forms and systems of documentation to exist. The more professionalized a sport is, the more dependent on standardized documentation it is. Furthermore, the ways sports are consumed by fans and spectators are highly dependent on information technology.

There are a number of perspectives from which one might be interested in this topic:

One might be interested in it as a research topic: for example, one might ask “How do different technologies for following and watching sports affect fan experiences?” and carry out a study intended to answer that. Or you might take a historical view: “How have changes in information and communications technologies affected the development of baseball in the U.S.?”

Or one might be interested in it as a business opportunity: “How can I create a business that successfully meets a need for affordable sports content consumption on mobile devices?”

Or you might be interested it it as a catalyst for change: “College sports are broken; we need to do X to fix them, and information technology might / might not help: here’s why.”

These are far from the only possible perspectives from which to approach a topic; you can probably come up with more yourself.

So, in addition to having some topic you’re interested in, you also need to have a particular way you’re approaching the topic—again, based on your interests.

Your final paper will serve as your plan to pursue those interests.

And your midterm paper will lay the groundwork for that plan, including:

  1. a short description of your topic, and how you’re approaching it, and
  2. a review of what others have done related to your topic. This should also include any readings we’ve done for class that relate in any way to your topic.

Submit this assignment.

Final paper

Due December 5.

Five pages (single spaced) on the topic of your choice.

Submit this assignment.