LIBR 247-10
Vocabulary Design
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Shimelis G. Assefa
Other contact information:<>
Office location:
University of Denver, Johnson-McFarlane Hall, Room 108, Denver, CO 80208.
Virtual Office Hours: E-mail, Tel (720) 375-6522, Live Chat via Angel, and scheduled conferencing via Elluminate. Elluminate session dates are on 1/31, 2/28, 3/28, and 4/25 from 9:30 to 11:30 am (PST).

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Students must self-enroll in the ANGEL site for this course.

Course Description

Principles and practices for the creation of subject vocabularies for the organization and retrieval of information-bearing objects. 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 Prerequisites: LIBR 202 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon a successful completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Understand the theories and principles of indexing.
  • Gain adequate knowledge to construct and maintain controlled vocabularies.
  • Explain the different types of controlled vocabularies and their applications.
  • Create subject access for different resources.
  • Design a vocabulary structure that supports information organization and information retrieval.
  • Identify the types of software available for vocabulary design.
  • Use and evaluate standard vocabulary sources.

LIBR 247 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • 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;
  • use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information;
  • design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems.

These additional SLIS Core Competencies are also supported by this section:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • Use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations.

Course Requirements

Complete LIBR 203: Online Social Networking: Technology and Tools
This is a mandatory 1 unit course that introduces students to the various e-learning tools used in the SLIS program, including Blackboard, Elluminate and Second Life. This course must be completed by all new SLIS students within the first 4 weeks of their first semester. If you have questions about this course, e-mail Debbie Faires or Dale David.

For more information, see

Assignments include the following categories. Descriptions of assignments are available in Angel under “Course Information.”

  • Weekly discussion postings and participation in the Elluminate sessions
  • Reading Summary via Blog
  • Subject Indexing
  • Image Indexing
  • Thesaurus Construction Via Wiki
  • Midterm
  • Final Exam
Assignments Points %age
Discussion Forum 100 15
Subject Indexing 100 10
Image Indexing 100 15
Thesaurus Construction 200 30
Reading Summary 100 10
Midterm exam 100 10
Final exam 100 10


800 100

Course Calendar
(Please Note : Descriptions of individual assignments are available in Angel under Lessons > Assignments. There is always flexibility in assignment due dates if personal or professional responsibilities will not allow a student to complete tasks by the due dates)

Week 1 (1/22) Introduction to the course, Introduction to controlled vocabularies, and Knowledge organization in general.


  • ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005, Chapters 1;
  • Cleveland & Cleveland, Chapter 1; Lancaster, Chapter 1
  • First Assignment: Ice Breaker – Starts 1/22; Due date 2/1

Week 2 (1/29) Indexing principles and practices, manual and automatic indexing.


  • Cleveland & Cleveland, Chapters 5, 6;
  • Lancaster, Chapters 2, 3, 15.
  • Assignment: Discussion Forum #1- Starts 1/29; Due date  2/15

Week 3 (2/5) Controlled vocabulary and natural language.


  • ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005, Chapters 5;
  • Cleveland & Cleveland, Chapter 4;
  • Lancaster, Chapters 2, 14.

Week 4 (2/12) Pre-coordinate and post-coordinate indexing languages


  • Lancaster, Chapter 4;
  • More Readings in Angel under Lessons > Class Resources
  • Assignment: Discussion forum #2 - Starts 2/12; Due date 3/1

Week 5 (2/19) Consistency and quality of indexing, and enhancing the Indexing process.


  • Lancaster, Chapters 5,6, 11.
  • Assignment: Subject Indexing - Starts 2/19; Due date 3/8

Week 6 (2/26) Thesaurus construction and maintenance.


  • ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005, Chapter 11
  • Assignment: Discussion Forum #3 - Starts 2/26; Due date 3/15

Week 7 (3/5) Relations and relation types.


  • ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005, Chapter 8;
  • More readings are available in Angel under Lessons > Class Resources
  • Assignment: Image Indexing – Starts 3/5; Due date 3/22

Week 8 (3/12) Taxonomy and Ontology.

  • Readings for this topic are available in Angel
  • Assignment: Thesaurus Construction - Starts 3/12; Due date 5/10

Week 9 (3/19) Guidelines and Standards for Indexing.

  • Readings for this topic are available in Angel.

  • Midterm – Opens 3/21 ; Closes 3/22

3/23 – 3/27 – Spring Recess, No Class

March 31, Cesar Chavez Day

Week 10 (4/2) Classification systems, UDC, DDC, LC, Colon; Faceted classification.

  • Readings for this topic are available in Angel.
  • Assignment: Discussion Forum #4 - Starts 4/2; Due date 4/19

Week 11 (4/9) Information architecture.

  • Readings for this topic are available in Angel under Lessons > Class Resources.
  • Assignment: Reading Summary - Starts 4/9; Due date 4/26

Week 12 (4/16) Website indexing


  • Cleveland & Cleveland, Chapter 15;
  • Lancaster, Chapter 16.

Week 13 (4/23) Folksonomies, Social tagging.

  • Readings for this topic are available in Angel under Lessons > Class Resources.
  • Assignment: Discussion Forum #5 - Starts 4/23; Due date 5/10

Week 14 (4/30) Software for creating controlled vocabularies.

  • Readings for this topic are available in Angel under Lessons > Class Resources.

Week 15 (5/7) Evaluation of indexing practices.


  • Lancaster, Chapter 9;
  • Cleveland, Chapter 12.
  • Final Exam – Opens 5/9; Closes 5/10

Textbooks & Readings

Required Textbooks:

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Cleveland, Donald B., & Cleveland, Ana D. (2001). Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1563086417. arrow 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;
    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.