University of Sheffield Information School

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University of Sheffield Information School


The Information School or iSchool of the University of Sheffield, in SheffieldSouth YorkshireEngland, was founded in 1963 as the University’s Postgraduate School of Librarianship and became in 2010 the first UK iSchool. Other names were the Postgraduate School of Librarianship and Information Science (PGSLIS, 1967-81) and Department of Information Studies(1981-2011). As of 2015, it employs 28 academic staff, 12 administrative/support staff, 7 affiliated research staff, and has about 50 research students. The current head of school is Professor Peter Bath.

The department opened in 1964 as a library school, becoming only the second university-based department in the UK.Since then, like many information science departments it has grown to encompass teaching and research in cheminformatics, educational informatics, health informatics, information retrievalinformation systems, knowledge and information management, as well as libraries and information society. Such is the status of the school, that it has twice been honoured with a special issue of the Journal of Information Science devoted entirely to the department, its staff and its research outputs.

The school has ranked highest or joint highest in its subject rating in every Research Assessment Exercise since the running of the first exercise in 1986. In this UK-government sponsored assessment of research outputs, no other department in its subject field (or its University) achieved this consistency; few departments of any subject area in UK universities managed such a high level of continuous research output (see the following links to the 1992, 1996, 2001 RAE results). In 2008, rankings of departments was left to news organizations; the Times Higher Education placed Sheffield at No. 1 again.

In 2008, an analysis of citations showed four of the ten most cited UK information studies academics were working in the Sheffield department. It is also the first UK-based (and 2nd European) department to be become an iSchool.