INFO 281-01
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Metadata
Fall 2017 Syllabus

Professor David de Lorenzo
Other contact information: 510-346-1904
Office location:
 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Office Hours: By appointment only 

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 23rd, 6 am PT 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.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

You are required to purchase the Miller textbook and all other readings will be available in Canvas.

Course Description

Principles and applications of metadata for resource representation and retrieval using various schemes. Includes metadata creation, management, and dissemination, especially for digital libraries. This course provides students opportunities to learn, evaluate, and apply principles of metadata for a variety of digital resources. Topics covered include metadata terminology, content and encoding schemes, applications of metadata standards for different purposes and environments, especially for digital libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage and scholarly digital repositories, and various approaches to metadata creation, storage, management, and dissemination, including harvesting and aggregating. This course will allow students to deepen their knowledge of organization of information, digital libraries and museums, institutional repositories, content management, and information architecture.

Course Requirements


  • Online discussion for each Theme (CLO#1-2) (10%)
  • Exercise One: Dublin Core Encoding (CLO #4-5) (15%)
  • Exercise Two: MODS Encoding (CLO #4-5) (15%) 
  • Exercise Three: EAD Encoding (CLO #4-5) (15%)
  • Exercise Four: Creation/Editing Tool (CLO #4-5) (15%)
  • Exercise Five: Crosswalk Mapping (CLO #4-5) (15%)
  • Final Assignment: Literature Review on a Metadata Topic  (CLO#1-2) (15%)

Course topics include:

  • Metadata vocabularies
  • Documentation, data dictionaries, and application profiles
  • Encoding schemes and markup languages:
    • Dublin Core
    • Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS)
    • Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)
    • Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
  • Interoperability, Shareability, and Quality
  • Harvesting, crosswalking, and mapping
  • Application Tools 
  • Metadata Encoding Transmission Standards (METS)
  • Resource Description Framework, Linked Open Data, Semantic Web
  • Metadata project planning

Course Overview

  First day of classes (introductions)
THEME ONE Intro to Metadata, Sharing, and Current Standards
THEME TWO Intro to Resource Description, Vocabularies, Discovery and Interoperability
THEME THREE XML Schemas, Tag Libraries, DTDs, etc.
see Canvas Dublin Core Encoding Assignment DUE
see Canvas MODS Assignment DUE
see Canvas EAD Assignment DUE
THEME SIX METS and Application Tools
see Canvas Creation/Editing tool Assignment DUE
THEME SEVEN Metadata Project Management
see Canvas Crosswalk Assignment DUE
THEME EIGHT RDF, Linked Data & Semantic Web
see Canvas Literature Review Assignment DUE


Late Assignments Policy
There will be a late penalty of one point per day for assignments turned in after the due date without prior approval. If your life circumstances require you to seek an extension, please do so at least several days before the assignment is due. No extensions will be granted for discussion posts.

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 281 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Articulate major issues and problems related to metadata.
  2. Apply current metadata terminology and concepts, including major content and encoding schemes for digital libraries.
  3. Analyze and critically apply different approaches to metadata creation, storage, management, and dissemination within different information communities for different purposes.
  4. Critically analyze and compare different metadata standards and their applicability to different contexts, and apply basic metadata quality metrics to assess the relative quality of different types of descriptive metadata.
  5. Create descriptive metadata for digital resources, and design and plan metadata database templates for digital resource projects.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. E Design, query, and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. 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.


Required Textbooks:

  • Miller, S. J. (2011). Metadata for digital collections. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555707467arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Zeng, M.L., & Qing, J. (2008). Metadata. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555706355arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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