Please see below for some of our current academic initiatives. Please also see our Faculty pages for more information about individual faculty members.

On this page:

Digital Curriculum Laboratory

Jeannette Bastian, Martha Mahard, and Ross Harvey

The Digital Curriculum Laboratory (DCL) will be a virtual space that contains a variety of digital content, provides an array of tools for describing, preserving and managing this content, and builds an evolving set of instructional learning modules. For the SLIS Archives and Preservation concentration it will be a teaching tool to facilitate experiential student learning in an online environment.

The work of archivists and preservationists is increasingly concerned with digital information, both digitized and ‘born digital', challenging educators to design ways of providing ‘hands on' teaching tools and pedagogy in virtual environments. A virtual laboratory that contains a variety of digital content, will provide an array of tools for describing, preserving and managing this content, and build an evolving set of instructional learning modules that will prepare students for today's jobs in the archives and preservation environment. This laboratory will facilitate scenario building, problem solving and tool utilization by making it possible for students to experience a variety of online archival and preservation procedures and techniques. Importantly, students will have opportunities to experiment with and evaluate new applications and evolving standards. The laboratory will be open-ended to accommodate new techniques and technology as they develop.

Please read more about our Archives Management concentration.

Digital Libraries Class Creates Online Scrapbook

Candy Schwartz

Each fall for the past several years, students in Candy Schwartz's Digital Libraries class (LIS 462) have worked together to recreate a scrapbook online in digital form. The scrapbooks, chosen from the Simmons Archives, show a slice of life at Simmons during the early 20th century. Digitizing the scrapbooks makes them available to a wide audience of researchers and others in the Simmons community, and gives students in LIS 462 class invaluable experience in building a digital library from start to finish. The series, known as the Notable Women of Simmons College, can be found online at

The 2010 scrapbook, which launched online on December 10th, was based on materials donated by Daisie (Miller) Helyar. Daisie studied Library Science and graduated from Simmons in 1910, and in her scrapbook she collects report cards, photographs, theater programs, Valentines, letters, and newspaper clippings about such events as an outbreak of scarlet fever.

We invite you to flip through pages, look at individual items up close, and learn about Simmons during Daisie's era — all without having to leave your bedroom or office. Visit Daisie at

Ph.D. / Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions Concentration (MLIP)—Targeting Public Library Leadership

Jennifer Andrews, Peter Hernon, Candy Schwartz

In 2005, Simmons SLIS received a multi-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop a Ph.D. program focused on managerial leadership in the information professions (MLIP). The program, which combines onsite education and distance education delivered in multiple ways, is intended for practitioners who work full time and wish to continue in their careers while achieving a doctorate.

The public library leadership project, which was funded by IMLS in June 2008, is focused on developing outstanding public library leaders who are credentialed in conducting high quality original research. Program graduates demonstrate competency in a full range of leadership skills along with a keen understanding of the value of original research (and the accompanying research skills) in making wise and visionary decisions while leading public library and information centers. In addition to developing the next generation library leaders, this project generates new knowledge and strengthens ongoing research capacity in the field by developing library leaders who are experienced in evaluating public library services, including evaluation of the management and leadership of those services. This project also serves to enhance the curricula within graduate schools of library and information science (LIS) by generating a significant volume of relevant case studies, scenario plans, research reviews and issue briefs that can be used by LIS educators to strengthen student learning experiences in master's level courses on management and leadership.

Please read more about the Ph.D./MLIP concentration.

Usability Lab

Rong Tang

The Simmons SLIS Usability Lab, established in September 2008, 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 studies and usability testing/evaluation of specialized computer software, web interfaces, and library information systems.

In addition to improving and enhancing the student research experience in SLIS courses that center 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 initiatives in blended learning across campus, and could help the library in designing information literacy initiatives.

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, and Harvard Library Innovation Lab. And her collaborative effort with Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is currently under way.

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