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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Contemporary Issues - Metadata
INFO 281

  • Fall 2023
  • Sections 01, 11
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 12/06/2023
  • Modified 07/10/2023

Canvas Information

This course will be available on Canvas beginning August 21st, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

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

Course Description and Requisites

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 with opportunities to learn, evaluate, and apply principles of metadata for a variety of digital surrogates of primary analog 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 the organization of information, digital libraries and museums, institutional repositories, content management, and information architecture.


INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content.

Classroom Protocols


Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Program Information

Course Workload

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 Goals

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes) Supported

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.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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.

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

  • Miller, S. J. (2011). Metadata for digital collections. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555707467

Course Requirements and Assignments

  • Online discussion for each Theme (CLO#1-3) (10%)
  • Exercise One: Dublin Core Encoding (CLO #4-5) (20%)
  • Exercise Two: MODS Encoding (CLO #4-5) (20%) 
  • Exercise Three: EAD Encoding (CLO #4-5) (15%)
  • Exercise Four: Creation/Editing Tool (CLO #4-5) (15%)
  • Exercise Five: Crosswalk Mapping (CLO #4-5) (20%)

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

Grading Information

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

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

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA) level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, or 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 (PDF), relevant university policy concerning all courses, such as student responsibilities, academic integrity, accommodations, dropping and adding, consent for recording of class, etc. and available student services (e.g. learning assistance, counseling, and other resources) are listed on the Syllabus Information web page. Make sure to visit this page to review and be aware of these university policies and resources.

Course Schedule

Course Overview

 Assignments Discussion Entries are DUE on Sunday every two weeks starting 4th Sunday in August 
THEME ONE Intro to Metadata, Sharing, and Current Standards
THEME TWO Intro to Resource Description, Vocabularies, Discovery, and Interoperability
see Canvas Crosswalk Assignment DUE 3rd Sunday of September at 11:59 pm
THEME THREE XML Schemas, Tag Libraries, DTDs, etc.
see Canvas Dublin Core Encoding Assignment DUE 1st Sunday of October at 11:59 pm
see Canvas MODS Assignment DUE 4th Sunday of October at 11:59 pm
see Canvas EAD Assignment DUE 2nd Sunday of November at 11:59 pm
THEME SIX METS and Application Tools
THEME SEVEN Metadata Project Management
see Canvas Creation/Editing tool Assignment DUE 1st Sunday of December at 11:59 pm
THEME EIGHT RDF, Linked Data & Semantic Web

Due Dates
Due dates for assignments are established at the discretion of the instructor. Students should refer to the class Canvas site for up-to-date information.


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 attempt to do so several days before the assignment is due.