LIBR 281-10
Seminar in Contemporary Issues: Metadata
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Mary K. Bolin
Phone: (402)472-4281
Office Location: 322B Love Library, University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Lincoln NE 68588-4100
Office Hours: by appointment via email, chat, Elluminate

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course is taught online using Angel. The Angel access code for this course for will be sent to those enrolled in the class a few days before the start of the semester. The Angel site for the course will be open for self-enrollment at that time.

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 Prerequisites

  • LIBR 200. Information and Society
  • LIBR 202. Information Retrieval
  • LIBR 204. Information Organizations and Management
  • LIBR 248. Beginning Cataloging (or permission from instructor)
  • General familiarity with digital resources; basic understanding of HTML or XML is recommended but not required

LIBR 281-10 (Metadata) supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information
  • understand the system of standards and methods used to control and create information structures and apply basic principles involved in the organization and representation of knowledge

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to

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

Course Requirements


  • Assignment 1 (30%): Metadata survey paper
  • Assignment 2 (30%): Metadata research paper
  • Assignment 3 (30%): Presentation of research paper
  • Participation, online discussion, short exercises, etc. (10%)

Schedule of Topics

  • Week 1, August 26-September 2 Introduction to Metadata
  • Week 2, September 3-8 Dublin Core
  • Week 3, September 9-15 More Dublin Core; Encoding Schemes and Markup Languages
  • Week 4, September 16-22 Metadata vocabularies
  • Week 5, September 23-29 Interoperability, harvesting, and aggregating
  • Week 6, September 30-October 6 MODS, METS, PREMIS
  • Week 7, October 7-13 Metadata for libraries
  • Week 8, October 14-20 Crosswalks and mapping
  • Week 9, October 21-27 Text encoding
  • Week 10, October 28-November 3 Art and architecture, museums, and visual resources
  • Week 11, November 4-10 Metadata project planning
  • Week 12, November 11-17 Documentation, data dictionaries, and application profiles
  • Week 13, November 18-24 Metadata repositories
  • Week 14, November 25-December 2 Quality and sharing
  • Week 15, December 3-8 Course review and wrap-up

Textbooks and Readings

There is no text to purchase. All readings will be freely-available Web sources or will be available through Angel.

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.

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