Information Studies


INSTG027 Using Technology in Information Organisations

This course provides an introduction to basic concepts in computing and IT both generally and in the context of information work. It intends to develop a thorough understanding of how computer systems work, and the advantages and limitations of computer systems; to recognise the implications of using such systems, and to emphasise that whilst computers can be useful tools, they are not a solution to information problems in themselves; to give students sufficient confidence to talk to computer specialists and recognize the difference between hype and well-founded knowledge; to emphasise that every automated system must be designed with the needs of its users always in mind; to establish a basic understanding of and competency with the use of mainstream internet-related technologies (including the design of web pages), spreadsheets and database tools.

Learning outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, you will have an understanding of: basic principles of computing and how computer systems work; basic concepts of data representation and structure; database types and basic mechanisms for information retrieval from databases; data capture and digitisation techniques; fundamental considerations of HCI and system design; basic concepts relating to the assessment and evaluation of systems for infomation creation, storage, management and use; basic network technologies and markup languages; spreadsheet and database usage.

This module takes place on Tuesday mornings (with practicals on Tuesday or Wedenesday mornings) in term 1.

Outline timetable:
Week 1 Introduction - Jargon, systems thinking
Week 2 How computers work 1 - Processors, hardware
Week 3 How computers work 2 - Software, data representation and structure, operating systems
Week 4 No classes (Internet Librarian conference)
Week 5 Networks 1 - technology of networking, markup languages
Week 6 Reading Week
Week 7 Networks 2 - Internet use and provision
Week 8 Databases - types of database, database indexing and retrieval
Week 9 Imaging and Digitisation - image formats, image management, OCR
Week 10 Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
Week 11 System considerations: system selection, virus protection, artificial intelligence

Preliminary reading:
Brookshear, G. Computer Science: an overview, 11th ed. Addison-Wesley, 2011
Kroski, E (series ed). The Tech Set (10 vols). London, Facet, 2010
Miller, J. Internet technologies and information services. London : Libraries Unlimited, 2009
Harris, A. HTML, XHTML and CSS All-in-One For Dummies 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2011
Brophy, P. The library in the twenty-first century 2nd ed. London : Facet, 2007

Assessment: Assessment by coursework only
Compulsory for:
Optional for:
MA ECP, MSc IS, MA ARM. This module is also available for short course students
There are no formal prerequisites for this module, but participants are assumed to have keyboarding skills and a basic level of computer experience with a PC environment. If in doubt, you are advised to discuss this with the course lecturer before beginning this module
Taught by:
Andy Dawson
Further information for students currently taking this module