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SLIS Opens Center for the Study of Information and Religion

Posted Dec, 16, 2009

Two professors in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University have created a center to study how people use information in their religious behaviors and thinking.

Don Wicks, Ph.D., of Ravenna, and Dan Roland, Ph.D., of Kent, opened the Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR) in May 2009, but the official inaugural event was hosted earlier this month.

CSIR strives to facilitate research within the library and information science field that is focused on the various institutions and agents of religion and their effect on social knowledge through the use, dissemination and diffusion of information.

“School director Richard Rubin, Ph.D., suggested that we think about a Center in this area of study since both of us are former clergy who did our dissertations on some aspect of information seeking and clergy,” Wicks said.

The Center has three main goals: 1) Investigate the importance of information in the religious world; 2) Understand the relationship between the information-seeking behavior of clergy and the body of knowledge which exists to serve their information needs; and 3) Advance the understanding of the role of information in religious practice. CSIR will also assist SLIS faculty with their research interests for such areas as research on community informatics and information seeking, the study of Web sites of religious institutions and as a resource for study of the depiction of religion in children’s literature.

Currently, CSIR is working on an annotated bibliography of online data sources for research in the area of religion. The bibliography is funded by a publication grant from the American Theological Library Association and will be available on the Center’s Web site early in 2010.

“This Center will facilitate such research on religion and library and information science, encourage interdisciplinary research and draw national and international attention to Kent State as the home for research in the area of information and religion.”

For more information on CSIR, visit

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The School of Library and Information Science is one of four schools that comprise the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University. The mission of the College of Communication and Information is to educate students to meet their individual goals as well as the needs of society. Education at the undergraduate and graduate levels promotes the development and application of theoretical foundations and creative experiences through interaction with a dedicated faculty of scholars and professionals.

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Kramer,, 330-672-1960
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595