Living in Smart and Connected Communities

To create livable, sustainable and equitable environments, connected communities integrate people, data sources, physical devices, infrastructure and anchor institutions such as Universities, schools, libraries hospitals and municipal governments. Citizen scientists and data sensors feed scientists information about the conditions in our cities and towns, opening an app on our phone lets us access government services from a park bench, and our professional and educational communities are increasingly virtual. These new abilities to connect offer solutions to an array of problems from protecting native wildlife to preventing traffic jams. Connected communities allow people to pool knowledge without regard to physical boundaries and provide more people access learning opportunities than ever before. In this changing environment, new technologies, systems, and tools are needed to facilitate communication and make data usable.

iSchool researchers work with communities to improve connections, identify issues of concern and develop solutions. Our researchers improve data quality and participation in citizen science and other crowdsourcing activities. Advances in public libraries are improving their capabilities as information educators and facilitators equipped to help citizens navigate the changing landscape of information. iSchool researchers advise government leaders about information policies in smart and connected communities, research the most effective ways to create and use online communities, and study digital and virtual capabilities in education.


The iSchool’s expertise in smart and connected communities can assist in:

  • Creating and managing effective online communities for crowdsourcing in diverse areas such as citizen science and open source software development
  • Understanding the changing role of the public library in the 21st century
  • Developing policies that ensure that smart and connected communities are useful and equitable
  • Exploring the ethical and privacy concerns raised by ubiquitous data collection and highly connected communities

Projects in this area include

  • Crowd problem solving in MathOverflow
  • Libraries and E-Government project through IPAC
  • Science Everywhere: Engaging entire neighborhoods in science learning through technology

iSchool experts include

  • Jennifer Golbeck
  • Benjamin Bederson
  • John Carlo Bertot
  • Brian Butler
  • Vedat Diker
  • Venessa Friaz
  • Jennifer Golbeck
  • Ursula Gorham
  • Jennifer Preece
  • Paul Jaeger
  • Vera Rhodes
  • Katie Shilton
  • Mega Subramaniam
  • Yla Tausczik
  • Jessica Vitak
  • Ping Wang
  • Andrea Wiggins
  • Susan Winter
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
Room 4105 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
4130 Campus Drive
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 405.2038
Fax: (301) 314.9145
Contact the iSchool