School of Information Studies (iSchool) Assistant Professor Rachel Ivy Clarke has been honored with the Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Award given by the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). 

The award recognizes dissertations that deal with substantive issues related to library and information science. 

Clarke’s dissertation is titled “It’s Not -Rocket- Library Science: Design Epistemology and American Librarianship.” She completed her Ph.D. studies at the University of Washington’s Information School in Seattle.

“Librarianship is typically framed as a social science,” explained Clarke, “but in my dissertation, I argue that librarianship is really more of a design discipline, as librarians make things – things like classification schemes, cataloging projects, events, and reader advisory services, to name just a few.”

Reconceptualizing librarianship as a design discipline offers opportunities for empowering and supporting the continued relevance of libraries in the 21st century. A change in how librarianship is perceived could have implications for how librarians are taught, how their job roles are defined, and how research in the field of librarianship is conducted, Clarke believes.

“I carry this world view into my classes with me,” said Clarke, “so this was one of the things that attracted me to the iSchool at Syracuse, where I have an opportunity to do a lot of hands-on making in my classes.”

In Clarke’s IST 616 course, Information Resources: Organization and Access, one of the projects her students are charged with is making a faceted classification scheme. Clarke makes the process very collaborative, exploring prototypes, and soliciting and evaluating peer feedback.

“I am very proud of Rachel, and glad to see her work recognized by ALISE,” said iSchool Dean Elizabeth Liddy. “Her important ongoing research will help to shape how librarianship – and all it encompasses – from teaching librarians to how library services are defined, is perceived and represented in the future.

Clarke will receive $500 and conference registration for the 2018 ALISE annual conference in Denver, Colorado in February, where she will present a summary of her work.

Clarke was also recognized earlier this year with the iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award, presented by the iSchools Organization