New partner in CCC: The Royal School of Library and Information Science – University of Copenhagen

15 November 2012

New partner in CCC: The Royal School of Library and Information Science

Although the official approval is still pending, it is very likely that The Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS) will merge with the University of Copenhagen at the beginning of the new year. RSLIS will become a department at the Faculty of Humanities and a partner in CCC. In this interview, Per Hasle, Rector of RSLIS, expresses his enthusiasm about the merger. 
Per Hasle recognizes the close parallels between CCC and RSLIS, and this explains his high expectations for RSLIS’s future collaboration with the other partners of the Centre: he is confident that there are excellent opportunities for synergy between CCC and RSLIS.

Why a merger at all?

After having struggled for a while, RSLIS has successfully been renewed and rebranded. The institution is no longer connected to only the library system, and many graduates are able to find work in the world of IT.

Per Hasle

Per Hasle

Obviously Per Hasle is pleased, but he is also aware of the need to think ahead, We have made a complete turnaround! Since 2009, RSLIS has experienced a 100 % increase in applicants. The merger talks were carried out amidst this wave of success, but it is important to remain prudent: RSLIS is a small institution, and we will profit from being able to offer a bigger range of courses and becoming a part of a bigger research community.

Parallels and differences

Per Hasle recognizes the close similarities between CCC and RSLIS, CCC is interdisciplinary – and based on a humanistic-communication theory component, on the one hand, and a component of computer science, on the other hand. RSLIS has a similar built-in interdisciplinary dichotomy with two components: one humanistic-social-science component, on the one hand – that is what we call cultural communication – and an information science component on the other hand. A further parallel between CCC and RSLIS is the fact that none of us want the two components to exist in isolation; it is vitally important to make them work together. 

Despite the close similarities, Per Hasle does identify certain differences, Information science has a kinship to computer science, but it is not computer science. In the same way, cultural communication shares a certain kinship with communication studies, but it is not a part of this field. That is exactly why I see CCC and RSLIS as being wonderfully complementary.

Areas of collaboration

RSLIS, Copenhagen

RSLIS, Copenhagen

According to Per Hasle, RSLIS has a lot to offer in a future collaboration with the other partners. He points out that RSLIS is the one and only big player in Denmark when it comes to information science. He emphasises information behaviour, information architecture, information retrieval, interaction design and information competences as areas where RSLIS has expertise and is capable of approaching issues from a unique angle. 

With regard to educational collaboration, a working group is currently looking into which modules from Communication and IT at UCPH it will make sense to offer as elective modules at RSLIS, and vice versa. Information behaviour, Per Hasle points out, is a good example. Both Information behaviour and communication studies can create a basis for good IT-design, but Information behaviour does it in its own unique way. In this case, it would be an obviously good idea for students from Communication and IT to supplement their studies with courses at RSLIS.

Regarding research, Per Hasle sees many concrete areas for future collaboration. He goes into detail with one of them, Centre for Language Technology and RSLIS both deal with meta data, classification and ontology. Centre for Language Technology examines these areas from a linguistic perspective; we do it from an information science perspective. These areas are obvious fields for joint research – connecting the two approaches will strengthen both the research in itself as well as its operational value.

Soon after the merger has taken place, RSLIS and CCC have planned a workshop to give the researchers an opportunity to present their research to each other – and maybe even lay the foundation for future collaborative research projects.

Per Hasle ends the interview by summing up: I believe CCC and RSLIS will be seeing a lot of each other.
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