INFO 247-01
Vocabulary Design
Fall 2015 Greensheet

Dr. Anita Coleman
Other contact information: Blackboard IM, Twitter (chariscol)
Office location: Virtual
Office Hours: Friday 12 noon - 4 pm

Greensheet Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information

Courses will be available beginning August 20, 6 am PDT unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open on the first day that the class meets. Course sites will close on February 28, 2016.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.


No textbooks are required to be "purchased" for this course. Weekly readings, however, will be assigned from two books and so I'd like you to think of these as your textbooks for the course:

  1. 1. ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 (R2010) Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies.  You may download this text as a free pdf copy from the NISO website (link given at end) or purchase the printed copy for $79 + shipping and handling. 

    Link to download free pdf:
    Link to buy (optional) paper copy:
  2. Cleveland, Donald B., and Cleveland, Ana D. Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting. 4th edition. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited, 2013. This e-book will be available via the library for multiple user checkout.  You are welcome to purchase a copy from Amazon or other.

Course Description

Survey of principles and practices used to index information-bearing objects such as documents or images. Includes term assignment, review of existing vocabularies, thesaurus design, metadata structures, and automatic and natural language processes.

Course Requirements

Course work will consist of lectures, textbook and other readings, online discussions, assignments, and a final project. 

Assignments have been designed to help you learn and apply the knowledge gained through specific tasks such as writing abstracts, indexing diverse information resources, and constructing a mini-thesaurus.  Additionally, the development and maintenance of vocabulary tools does not happen in a vacuum since information is created by individuals and communities and the interactions between them. Online discussions will thus be an important part of the assignments for this course. The assignments include: 

  • Online discussion - Students are expected to provide a succinct, substantive and consructive response to the discussion topics, read the postings of others, and interact with them by engaging with the ideas expressed in ways that contribute and further the discussion. Supports CLO #1, CLO #2
  • Assignment 1: Abstract writing - Write and abstract for an assigned article and compare. Supports CLO #1, CLO #6
  • Assignment 2: Journal indexing  -  Index a journal article with the use of a thesaurus. Supports CLO #1, CLO #3  
  • Assignment 3:  Book indexing - Create a back of the book index for a children's book. Supports CLO #1, CLO #3
  • Assignment 4: Image indexing - Analyze concept-based and content-based image indexing in the context of a specific digital image collection. Supports CLO #1, CLO #3, CLO #5
  •  Assignment 5: Facet analysis - Extract indexing terms from subject statements and organize these terms into facets. Supports CLO #2, CLO #5
  • Assignment 6: Relationship analysis - Establish the thesaural relationships between the indexing terms. Supports CLO #2, CLO #5
  • Assignment 7: Final term selection - Change the form of indexing terms and add scope notes and notes. Supports CLO #2, CLO #4, CLO #5
  • Final project: Thesaurus construction
  • Design and construct a mini-thesaurus in a given domain, including domain analysis, term extraction, facet analysis, relationship analysis, and final term selection. Supports CLO #2, CLO #4, CLO #5

Course Calendar
Please be aware this calendar is “subject to change with fair notice.”

Week Topic Assignment Due
Aug 20 Introduction to the course Discussions due on Sundays
Aug 25 Controlled vs. free indexing languages   
Sept. 1 Abstracting Assignment 1 due - Sept 8
Sept 8 Journal indexing  Assignment 2 due - Sept 15
Sept 15 Book indexing Assignment 3 due - Sept 22
Sept 22 Image indexing Assignment 4 due - Oct 6
Sept 29 Domain analysis   
Oct 6 Term extraction  
Oct 13 Facet analysis Assignment 5 due - Oct 20
Oct 20 Relationship analysis  
Oct 27 Final term selection Assignment 6 due - Nov 3
Nov 3 Thesaurus software Assignment 7 due - Nov 10
Nov 10 Q & A  
Nov 17 Application and evaluation  
Nov 24 Knowledge organization systems  
Dec 1 Wrap-up Final project due - Dec 8

Each course week (except Week 1) starts on Tuesday at 12:00 am Pacific Time and ends the following Monday at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. All assignments are due at 11:59 pm Pacific Time on the due date. 


Assignment Weight
Online discussion  15%
Assignment 1: Abstract writing 10%
Assignment 2: Journal indexing 10%
Assignment 3: Book indexing 10%
Assignment 4: Image indexing 5%
Assignment 5: Facet analysis 5%
Assignment 6: Relationship analysis 5%
Assignment 7: Final term selection 5%
Final project: Thesaurus construction 35%
TOTAL 100%

Late assignments, unless previously communicated to the instructor and excused or is an emergency, will incur a penalty of ten percentage points a day.  

Other Relevant Information
I reserve the right to tweak this syllabus and make minor changes depending on class enrollment and engagement within the first month of the courses in order to provide the most optimal learning experience. Thank you.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 202

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply principles of indexing, abstracting, and subject analysis.
  2. Apply the principles of thesaurus structure and use to create a NISO Z39.19-compliant thesaurus.
  3. Differentiate between the design of a single document index and the design of multi-document indexes.
  4. Analyze the information needs of a specific community and design a metadata structure and appropriate vocabularies/taxonomies for a collection useful to that community.
  5. Identify thesaurus applications in new indexing environments such as subject gateways, portals, and digital libraries.
  6. Identify and evaluate the socio-technical dimensions of knowledge organization.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 247 supports the following core competencies:

  1. E Design, query, and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  2. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information such as classification and controlled vocabulary systems, cataloging systems, metadata schemas or other systems for making information accessible to a particular clientele.


No Textbooks For This Course.

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.