Pintar and Hopping’s new book explores the basics of information science

Judith Pintar
Judith Pintar, Teaching Associate Professor
David Hopping
David Hopping, Teaching Assistant Professor and Workforce Development/Continuing Education Director

Teaching Associate Professor Judith Pintar and Teaching Assistant Professor David Hopping have written a new book, Information Science: The Basics, which was recently published by Routledge.

"We centered the book around the core vision of the iSchool movement, which is to view information science as simultaneously a humanities, social science, and STEM field that takes as its central area of concern the spaces (physical, digital and metaphorical) where society, technology and information interact," Pintar said. "The book situates information science within the foundational history of library and information science (LIS), addressing the wide range of professions that have emerged from LIS. In addition to core topics, like knowledge organization and information retrieval, it surveys fields ranging from data storytelling, to universal design, to artificial intelligence and other emerging professional areas for which our programs provide training."

Information Science: The Basics is not intended to be a textbook, but the authors hope that it will be useful in the classroom. Routledge Publishing asked Pintar to write the book because of her history in designing and teaching the iSchool's introductory course. The volume is part of the company's book series, "The Basics," which provides a wide variety of academic books for general audiences. Pintar invited Hopping to serve as co-author because of their complementary interests and common background as "sociologists of science, technology, and information."

The book is organized by following key concepts, technologies and professions associated with each step in the information life cycle: from collecting and organizing information; through utilizing, governing, and studying information; to designing, curating, and archiving information. Each chapter addresses critical contexts and information challenges of the contemporary world, including digital equity, censorship, algorithmic bias, disinformation, the global surveillance industry, and challenges arising from accelerating breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

"Information technologies are being developed and released into the world more quickly than the effects of their implementation can be anticipated, or negative consequences ameliorated," Pintar said. "Information science as a discipline can guide the development of information technology in a more human-centered way. This contribution increases in importance as the effect of information technologies reach into every corner of human life."

The final chapter, in summarizing arguments made throughout its chapters, asks if it is possible to imagine an information future that is more accessible, inclusive, responsive, restorative, diverse, ethical, secure, discerning, transformative, collaborative, and equitable. "The book suggests that the challenge is not only imagining such a future but acting in ways that bring it about," Pintar said.

At the iSchool, Pintar directs the Game Studies and Design Program, and Hopping directs the Workforce Development/Continuing Education program. Pintar's research and teaching interests include narrative design, game studies, and gameful pedagogies, which she pursues through the Extended Literatures & Literacies Lab (EL3). Hopping's research and teaching  interests include web design and information architecture, social and community informatics, and social network analysis.

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