research group members meet in a conference room

We're leaders in information research and scholarship

The iSchool is at the forefront of innovation, distinguished by leading academic programs and groundbreaking research. Our faculty enjoy a track record of success, securing grants from some of the nation's most prestigious funders. We collaborate with scholars around the world on interdisciplinary projects, and our vibrant research centers serve as incubators for emerging areas of research.

Our work pushes the boundaries of possibility.

iSchool researchers develop progressive information solutions to society's current challenges. Drawing on the resources of the University of Illinois, a preeminent public research university, as well as on collaborations with international scholars and corporate sector partners, our faculty and staff focus on a variety of areas including data science, information retrieval, librarianship, and much more. 

Stephen Downie

At the iSchool, the quality of research conducted as well as the range of topics covered is astounding. Our groundbreaking research contributes to our School’s first-place ranking among LIS programs in the United States and is truly world class.

J. Stephen Downie, Professor and Associate Dean for Research

Collaborators in leading-edge research

Our current grants include projects funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, National Science Foundation, Meta, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, IBM, and National Institutes of Health.

Our research collaborators at the University of Illinois include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University Library, Research Park, and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. Our international research collaborators include institutions in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

  • Our faculty and staff are principal investigators on a portfolio of 56 projects totaling $30.1 million
  • and co-investigators or partners on 10 projects totaling $75.5 million

Research centers and partnerships

Our research centers reflect the interdisciplinary nature of our work and provide opportunities for student engagement with real-world impact. Our research partnerships bring together experts to address current challenges in the field, developing creative and forward-thinking solutions.

The Center for Children's Books

open book with Center for Children's Books

Sara Schwebel, Director

The Center for Children's Books (CCB) is a crossroads for critical inquiry, professional training, and educational outreach related to youth-focused resources, literature, and librarianship. The CCB supports its mission by providing space, staff, and other support to affiliates; housing collections and other research tools; and sponsoring outreach, scholarly conferences, and instructional activities. Affiliates include School and University faculty and academic staff; The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB); and the School's School Librarian Licensure Program. In partnership with the BCCB, the Center aims to inspire and inform adults who connect young people with resources in person, in print, and online. The Center sponsors activities and hosts interdisciplinary research projects involving both theory and practice. In its dual role as research collection and educational community, the Center has a national impact on the future of reading and readers. In celebration of its 75th anniversary in 2021, the Center published a digital exhibit highlighting defining moments from its past.

Center for Health Informatics


Ian Brooks, Director

The Illinois Center for Health Informatics (CHI), a partnership between the Grainger College of Engineering and the iSchool, promotes positive local and global health outcomes through research innovation. It is a home for multidisciplinary research teams to work with the broader health community to enhance impact on health through the advanced management, analysis, and representation of data and information. CHI collaborates with the WHO, PAHO, Mayo Clinic, and other state and local organizations. Key projects include pandemic and infodemic response, digital health fact sheets, spread of clinical innovations, and informatics support.

Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship

Bertram Ludäscher, Director

The Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS) studies the information lifecycle in the contexts of science and scholarship, contributing to our understanding of how data curation, information modeling, and data analytics can enable scientists and scholars to leverage digital information resources. CIRSS members have expertise in data science, digital preservation, interview methods, information retrieval, data and text mining, knowledge discovery, ubiquitous systems, collaborative systems, socio-technical systems, author disambiguation, persuasive technologies, reading behaviors, information modeling, scientific publishing, institutional repository development, cultural heritage collections, gaming, social networking and digital music retrieval and evaluation.

HathiTrust Research Center

HathiTrust Research Center

J. Stephen Downie, Co-director

The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) is a collaborative research center launched jointly by Indiana University and the University of Illinois, along with the HathiTrust Digital Library, to facilitate nonprofit and educational uses of the HathiTrust Digital Library by enabling computational analysis of public domain works and, on limited terms, in-copyright works from its collection. By deploying software tools and cyberinfrastructure based on cutting-edge data science techniques, HTRC helps meet the technical challenges researchers face when dealing with massive amounts of digital text in the growing record of human knowledge.

Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub

Midwest Big Data Hub

Catherine Blake, Principal Investigator

The Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH) is a network of experts and resources in twelve states who catalyze data science efforts to collect, manage, and leverage complex information to improve life in the Midwest. Funded by the National Science Foundation, MBDH priority areas include advanced materials and manufacturing; water quality; big data in health; digital agriculture; and smart, connected, and resilient communities.