Physical Spaces


Opened in March 2014 and funded by gift from SLIS donor allowing for upscale, flexible, and modular furnishings, including chairs and tables on wheels. The Collaboratory has six iMacs, one wall-mounted TV with webcam/conferencing capabilities, two flatbed scanners, and a printing station. The Collaboratory is used by SLIS faculty seeking hands-on space for classes working on creating exhibits, collaborative group work, hands-on activities, and by SLIS student groups for meetings and events involving video conferencing needs and as a practice space for working on oral presentations.

Media Lab

Supports audio and video production for SLIS. There are drop-in hours for multimedia curriculum support as well as assistance with podcasting and oral history projects. SLIScast was funded by a PTRC grant and has recorded over 300 podcasts to date, released under the Creative Commons 2.5 license and transcribed for ADA compliance. They are available through iTunes Podcast Directory and iTunesU. Expanded to a fully functioning Media Lab in 2009. The Media Lab also records select course presentations and events. All recordings are available on the SLIS Technology YouTube channel.

Usability Lab

The Simmons Usability Lab, established in September 2008 at the School of Library and Information Science, centers its purpose on fostering collaborative research and experiential learning, and providing services to communities with usability needs. Located on the second floor of the Palace Road Building, the SLIS Usability Lab is an innovative, state-of-the-practice usability testing facility that offers faculty and students a testing environment to support user-centered curricula. In the Usability Lab, faculty and students conduct user behavior research, usability testing/evaluation, and eye tracking with specialized computer software, web interfaces, and information systems.

In addition to improving and enhancing the student research experience in SLIS courses that focus on user information seeking behavior and the principles of information systems design and evaluation, the Usability Lab gives SLIS faculty opportunities to develop new courses and initiate cross-discipline collaborative course offering with departments such as psychology, communication, education, and computer science. The Lab has also been used for testing, implementing, and extending new collaborative research efforts to information communities in the greater Boston Area.

The Director of the Usability Lab, Dr. Rong Tang, has been involved in multiple cross-institutional collaborative usability research projects including Harvard Catalyst, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Library Innovation Lab, Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and EBSCO User Research. Tang is currently a consultant helping to establish the Harvard Library Usability Research Center.

For more information on the Usability Lab, including reservations for testing sessions or to receive training, please visit the Usability Lab.

Research Groups

Community Informatics @ SLIS 

Community Informatics @ SLIS features news and information about the people and research projects focused on community informatics at the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College. Community Informatics is a growing interdisciplinary field of research and practice focused on advancing our understanding of the ways in which local communities use information and communication technology in support of community-defined development goals. From the study of public computing centers in community-based organizations to the design and implementation of community wireless networks, community informatics researchers and practitioners actively engage in projects that promote human and civil rights, self-determination, sustainable development, and social inclusion in the digital age.

The Human Information Behavior (HIB) Research Group

The HIB Research Group conducts innovative research in the area of Human Information Behavior (HIB) and the related areas of User Experience (UX), Knowledge Management (KM), Personal Information Management (PIM), and Scholarly Communication (SC). 

The group includes Associate Professor Rong Tang, Associate Professor Naresh Agarwal, Assistant Professor Chaoqun Ni, and Assistant Professor Kyong Eun Oh. They employ a variety of research methods, including but not limited to, survey research, observation, diary studies, and think­-aloud, use of the Usability Lab, as well as conceptual and theoretical inquiry. The HIB Research Group promotes, facilitates, and showcases individual and collaborative projects in HIB, the identified related areas, and the intersections among the areas.

Simmons Institute for Critical Information Literacy & Instruction (SICILI) 

Simmons Institute for Critical Information Literacy & Instruction examines information and related literacies (media, health, visual, digital, etc.) from a critical standpoint, questioning how literacy and literacies are defined, how they are taught and assessed, and the role of libraries and information organizations in supporting and promoting information literacy development. The researchers have a strong interest in social justice aspects of information literacy, which include questions of physical, social, and cognitive access to information, and information literacy as a human right, as well as related questions around intellectual freedom and censorship. Current projects include examining information literacy in K-16 settings with a specific focus on the high school to college transition; the role of creativity and play in information literacy learning and instruction; and examinations of authority, credibility, and conflict of interest in scientific publishing.

Simmons Language Lab (SLANG)

Simmons Language Lab is a collaborative center for work on computational linguistics at Simmons College. Ongoing research attempts to bridge the gap between human understanding and machine processing of natural language. In SLANG, Assistant Professor Amber Stubbs and Director of Computer Science and Informatics Program Nanette Veilleux conduct research on both written and spoken text, including syntactic and semantic annotations, automated text processing, and studies in speech prosody.

Simmons Metadata Inquires Lab (SMIL)

SMIL faculty—Assistant Professors Katherine Wisser, Amber Stubbs, and Kyong Eun Oh—support existing and strategize on new metadata related endeavors including personal, collaborative, and student research initiatives at Simmons College.

The intention of SMIL is to create and perpetuate a supportive environment for research activities that are relevant to, or may benefit from, a metadata perspective. (