become the dean at Berkeley. In addition John King like communication studies and technical commu-left UC Irvine to become Atkins’s successor as the nication. But in many of these schools and depart-dean at Michigan, and Mike Eisenberg left Syracuse ments, HCI is marginalized or a fringe activity, and
to become the founding dean of the Information much HCI education and research may gravitate to
School at the University of Washington. Social and iSchools in the future.
intellectual networks grew dense.
The iCaucus formed, and the iConference series Whither iSchools?
was initiated as part of the now annual gathering of Sustainable, or a passing fad? Considering the
deans. Participation in the iConference program has staggering growth in our ability to inexpensively
been restricted to faculty and graduate students of collect, transmit, transform, visualize, and store
participating iSchools, but attendance is open. information, the study of information is prob-
The first iConference, held at Penn State in ably in its infancy. It seems to us that this is an
2005, engendered a lively discussion of the iSchool appropriate blend of intellectual traditions that
vision. The second, at Michigan in 2006, focused fits with what’s happening in the broader culture.
more on research. The third, held in early 2008 at Most iSchools have a reasonable mix of basic
UCLA, introduced a broad range of venues: peer- and applied research, occupying Donald Stokes’s
reviewed papers, panels, posters, and roundtables, “Pasteur’s Quadrant” . In all academic evolutions,
where everyone sat down and joined in discuss- there are legacy organizations and there is some
ing a topic. The next two are scheduled for North resistance to change, but the gathering momen-
 This history draws
on a November 26,
2008 personal communication from John
King and on Ron
Larsen: “The iSchools.”
In The Encyclopedia of
Library and Information
Science. Edited by M.
Bates, London: Taylor &
Francis, in press.
Carolina this year and Illinois in 2010. These meet- tum and energy in the iSchool movement cannot
ings have attracted some curiosity-driven partici- be denied. Graduates of iSchools are faring well in
pation from outside the iSchools. Attendance has the job market, landing a variety of kinds of jobs in
been healthy: The two-day UCLA meeting drew academics, nonprofits, government, and industry.
more than 100 students and 160 faculty, with nine iSchool faculty are contributing research that is
non-academic participants. Although there were respected in their home disciplines as well as in the
some plenary events, sessions typically had 10 information sphere. Our advice is, watch this space!
 Stokes, D. E,
parallel activities, each of which attracted a small
interactive group. Many deans and senior faculty A Tip of the Hat…
attended, but it was a youthful crowd overall, with Many people assisted us with this, especially in construct-
even gender representation. ing the timeline. We are especially indebted to Toni Carbo,
D.C.: Brookings Institute
Press, 1997. Stokes
Between the first and the third iConference, the Don Marchand, John King, Ron Larsen, Mike Eisenberg,
criticizes the traditional
linear model of the rela-
iSchools hired many new assistant professors. They Harry Bruce, Jenny Preece, Herman Totten, Bob Allen,
came from different home disciplines, but their Diane Barlow, Judy Olson, Kevin Crowston, Margaret
tionship between basic
and applied research,
and instead we should
first job is in information, they strongly identify Spillett, Christine Borgman, Anne Gilliland, Bob Frost, C.
as two independent
with it, and they attract good, enthusiastic grad Olivia Frost, Blaise Cronin, and Michael Buckland.
dimensions. To him,
students. The first faculty worked out pidgin lan-
Pasteur represents an
instance of being high
guages to speak across disciplinary boundaries; by
analogy to linguistic creolization, these younger
ABOUT THE AUTHORS After spending 33
on both the search for
years at the University of Michigan, Gary Olson fundamental knowl-
recently moved to the University of California,
edge (basic) and the
researchers seem to be creating new complete lan-
solving of practical
Irvine, where he is Donald Bren Professor of
problems (applied). In
guages and cultures. Information and Computer Sciences. His interests
other words, these two
are in computer supported cooperative work, with a
dimensions are not in
To focus more narrowly, what are the implica-
focus on what makes some geographically distributed teams
tions for the field of HCI? In a word, enormous.
effective. He recently co-edited Scientific Research on the Internet,
Most iSchools have an HCI component, and in
published in 2008 by MIT Press.
many cases it is the most vibrant HCI activity at
Jonathan Grudin is a principal researcher in the
their university. There is a natural fit between the
Adaptive Systems and Interaction group at
core of HCI and the iSchool’s charter of consider-
March + April 2009
ing people, information, and technology in more
fruitful ways. To be sure, often HCI also exists
organizationally elsewhere in iSchool universities:
in computer science, engineering, social or behav-
Microsoft Research. His Web page is http://
ioral sciences, business schools, and in programs