Web Programming


Web Programming and Information Architecture — MLIS Career Pathway

This career pathway concentrates on the theories, basic concepts and tools, and supporting techniques related to the design, building, and management of information systems and Web applications.

These include:

  • Design and development of user-centered information systems in a variety of information environments
  • User interactions with information structures
  • Computer/network mediated interaction with users
  • Web applications
  • Web site design, content creation, and administration
  • Web programming languages

This is not a computer science pathway:

  • Computer Science is concerned with the optimal design and implementation of software. For example, a database course in a computer science curriculum focuses on the development of database software, examining such theoretical issues as the most efficient algorithms for locking mechanisms and deadlock detection.
  • People with an MLIS degree focusing in this area concentrate on the most efficient use of the finished package. A database course in an MLIS program examines the importance of organizing the data so that, from a user perspective, database access will be the most efficient.

This MLIS pathway is:

  • Less technical and less theoretical than e.g. Computer Science;
  • Much less math-based, and
  • More focused on end users and tailoring systems to satisfy the needs of end users.

Students in this career path will focus on the following:

  • Developing skills and expertise to improve the user’s experience when interacting with information systems via web interfaces.
  • Tailoring technologies to various information communities. Work in information systems and design requires more than just the acquisition of a practical skill set.
  • Understanding users’ information needs and the information-seeking behaviors of the audience.
  • Understanding how to work with a development group.

Employment Opportunities

Opportunities exist in all types of libraries as well as information agencies, library automation system vendors, and Web design companies. Sometimes the whole job will focus on technology; sometimes part of the job will consist of designing, building, and maintaining Web content. Students who concentrate in this specialization may work as:

  • Systems librarians
  • Database coordinators
  • Database developers
  • Data mining and analytics consultants
  • Emerging technologies librarians
  • Information architects
  • Intelligence analysts
  • Knowledge integration librarians
  • Project managers
  • Reference tool developers
  • Systems analysts
  • Technology coordinators and trainers
  • Usability/usage analysts
  • User experience designers
  • Virtual services managers
  • Web 2.0 developers
  • Web content managers
  • Web designers
  • Web project managers
  • Web technologists

MLIS Skills at Work

The MLIS Skills at Work includes important trends and data that are needed to prepare for career advancement within the information professions. The following information within the report relates directly to the Web Programming and Information Architecture career path. However, slides #12, #13, and #14 showcase/highlight the skills most valuable to employers.

  • See the MLIS Skills at Work report, slides #5 through #8 for more detailed information about hiring trends and slide #21 for representative job titles
  • See slide #33 to view sample job titles, job duties, job skills, and technology/standards for web programming and information architecture

Core Theory and Knowledge

  • Analyze and determine library computing requirements, develop new means of delivering service, coordinate and implement new electronic services, and support ongoing services
  • Communicate ideas to peers as well as clientele without the overuse of technical jargon
  • Identify specific needs for technologies in information search and management
  • Match needs in specific situations with the functions and applications of emerging technologies
  • Utilize data mining software tools for usage and analytics research
  • Understand computing fundamentals (data structures, operating systems, usability issues, Web site design and creation, Web programming/scripting languages)
  • Understand the principles of user-centric design and style, as well as how to choose appropriate interaction methods for particular circumstances and populations
  • Understand the fundamentals of cybersecurity and privacy
  • Master the tools and concepts necessary to work with a team

MLIS Requirements

The MLIS program requires 43 units for graduation. Within those units, six courses (16 units) are required of all MLIS students and must be taken as part of all career pathways: INFO 203, INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, INFO 285, and either INFO 289 or INFO 299. Beyond those six courses, a student is free to select electives reflecting individual interests and aspirations. See: MLIS Information.

If you are interested in this career pathway, you may choose to select from the Foundation or Recommended course electives listed below. Foundation courses form the foundational knowledge and skills for this pathway. If you can only select a few electives, then choose from the Foundation courses. The Recommended courses are very relevant, but not as foundational to this career pathway.

The Career Pathway described here is provided solely for advising purposes. No special designation appears on your transcript or diploma. All graduating students receive an MLIS degree.

Required Courses:

Note: For this career path, INFO 202 is the most important course. If you are not comfortable with the material and format of INFO 202, then this is not the career for you.

Foundation Courses:

Very important course for many other technology courses:

Back End

Select at least two of the following:

Select one or two programming languages (all are INFO 246) [See current topics. Select class number then topics]:

  • Building Web Applications with PHP and JavaScript
  • MySQL
  • Python

Select one on security/privacy:

  • INFO 287 Cybersecurity [See current topics. Select class number then topics]

Front End

Select at least one of the following:

Project Management

Select at least one from the following:

  • INFO 282 Seminar in Library Management [See current topics. Select class number then topics] Topics: Project Management, “Workflow assessment and design in collaboration with technology teams.”

Data Analysis

Select at least one from the following:

  • INFO 246:[See current topics. Select class number then topics]
    • Information Visualization
    • Text/Data Mining
    • Big Data Analytics and Management


  • INFO 294 Professional Experience: Internships (1,2,3, or 4 units)

Recommended Courses:

Effective leadership and management (of people and information) is critically important for all types of work environments and clients. We recommend that students also consider selecting courses from the Leadership and Management career path to complement or supplement core skills in other areas.

Areas of Emphasis within the Web Programming and Information Architecture Pathway

While all students earn an MLIS degree from the iSchool (no special designation appears on academic transcripts or diplomas), students may include Area of Emphasis information about their skill sets on resumes and in cover letters. The iSchool faculty (with input from the Information Intermediation & Instruction Program Advisory Committee) developed the recommended courses below for these Areas of Emphasis.

Managing Databases & the ILS

This is about access to collections via technology. Libraries and information centers are increasingly relying on databases and the integrated library system (ILS) to efficiently store, manage, and retrieve vast amounts of information. The ILS is no longer limited to traditional library cataloging and circulation functions. It has expanded to incorporate digital resources such as e-books, digital artifacts and social media integration. These courses address these concepts and students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle all aspects of database management and the ILS effectively.

Website Development & Social Media Management

This is about presence on the Web. Website development and social media management skills enable information professionals to expand access to information and reach diverse user groups. With websites, libraries can offer 24/7 access to digital resources, ensuring that users can find information anytime, anywhere. Social media platforms allow libraries to disseminate valuable content, curate collections, and engage with specific user communities. By focusing on this area, LIS students can contribute to equitable information access and promote their libraries’ resources and services to a wider audience.

User Experience

This is about understanding users and how to effectively create information experiences of all kinds. These courses equip students with the knowledge and tools necessary to understand user needs, apply effective design principles, and create engaging and intuitive user interfaces. By emphasizing user experience, students are well-prepared to meet the demands of the digital age and contribute to the development of user-friendly and meaningful solutions in various information settings.


Faculty pathway advisors are available to help guide you and answer questions about planning a career in their area of expertise.

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