School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 502: Organization of Information
Course Outline

Fall 2017

Calendar Description:

An introduction to the organization of knowledge and information focusing on theory and principles for application in a variety of settings. Required course

Objectives and Contents:

  • To provide students with an understanding of concepts of knowledge, information and its transmission.
  • To provide students with an understanding of analytical principles for the organization of the intellectual content of information records.
  • To acquaint students with methods of creating and providing access to records.

This course surveys theory, principles and applications of organization of information. The structure of the course begins with theoretical background of knowledge, information and communication. The course covers principles of organizing information as established in the literature of information storage and retrieval and examines specific applications of these principles in the field of LIS and closely related areas. Theory and practice are addressed together. Management and automation issues are integrated into each topic as appropriate. Attention to different library and information contexts is stressed. The course is an introductory course for understanding principles and surveying applications, NOT a skills acquisition course.

Student Learning Outcomes:

1. Students will be able to analyze and synthesize the concepts of knowledge, Information and communication through the completion of a reflective paper.

2. After being introduced to the principles and practices of the organization and representation of information, students will critically examine, assess and make  recommendations as to how these
concepts and principles are applied in various information environments, including the Web.

3. Students will acquire and apply descriptive and evaluative skills and methods to organize information and to create metadata records for a variety of information resources.

4. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the key concepts and principles of information organization.


Theories of knowledge, information and communication, Metadata, vocabulary, Relevance, Specificity and exhaustivity, OPACs, interfaces, controlled vocabularies, authority control


Instruction will combine lecture, discussion and application in class. Students will prepare for and follow up on ideas presented in class through readings and exercises.

Course relationships:

Pre- or co-requisite: LIS 501. This course is a pre-requisite for LIS 517, LIS 526, LIS 531, LIS 532, LIS 533, LIS 534, LIS 535, and LIS536.

Required Texts:

Taylor, Arlene G. and Daniel N. Joudrey. (2009) The Organization of Information. Third Edition. Libraries Unlimited. Additional readings will be provided as well.

In addition to the above textbook, journal articles and Internet websites are among the readings for this course. Details of these articles are found in the course schedule page. 

Assignments and weighting


Due Date

Grade Weighting

Reflective paper



Information organization on websites

October 26


Comparative examination of metadata records

November 15


Blog participation

Throughout the term


Class participation paragraph

Dec 6


Final exam

Dec 7



Grading Statement:

Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade.

Inclusive Language & Equity: 
The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of equality and respect for all people within the university community, and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Academic Integrity:
The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy.

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.