School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 532 Outline

LIS 532: Metadata

Course Outline
Winter 2017

Instructor: Sharon Farnel
5-25F Cameron Library
Office hours
: By appointment
Class times: Tuesdays 1:00–3:50 p.m. in in 3-01 Rutherford South

Calendar Description:
This course introduces students to the concept, development, applications and evaluation of metadata in various digital information contexts. Through a combination of practical exercises, students will critically examine metadata issues, standards, and best practices, and will evaluate the role of metadata in online discovery and access systems.

Course Objectives:

  • to develop familiarity with the practical and theoretical aspects of description of and access to resources in the current digital information environment

  • to develop metadata for various information packages

  • to critically examine metadata issues, standards and practices

  • to develop a critical understanding of classification systems and standards

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • apply standards and best practices used for creating and encoding metadata in North American libraries

  • critically analyze and evaluate the underlying principles applied in describing and classifying information objects through metadata and classification systems

  • draw upon best practices in metadata application to assess and critique metadata creation and implementation in the context of web-based search and retrieval systems

  • provide criticism of current standards for description and access, and offer constructive suggestions for their enhancement


  • Descriptive cataloguing of resources using RDA (Resource Description and Access)

  • Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)

  • Subject access to resources using controlled vocabularies (e.g., Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Canadian Subject Headings (CSH), and Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM))

  • Specialized metadata by discipline, format, and community (e.g.,, RAD)

  • Encoding of metadata records using MARC21 and XML

  • Metadata standards for digital libraries (e.g., Dublin Core (DC) and Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS))


A combination of lectures, in-class labs/exercises, and discussion will be used throughout the course.

Course Relationships:

Prerequisites: LIS 501, 502

Required Texts:
RDA: Resource Description and Access (available through RDA Toolkit)

Weekly readings as listed in the schedule.

Assignments and Weighting:

Individual Project 1: Subject headings                                     January 31       20%

Individual Project 2: RDA                                                         February 14     20%

Individual Project 3: Encoding                                                  March 7           20%

Group Project: Subject treatment in LCSH and CSH               March 28         15%

Individual Project 4: Discovery/access system assessment    April 18           15%

Class participation                                                                    April 18           10%

School of Library and Information Studies 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.

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 (online at 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.

Inclusive Language and Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of 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 background. 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.

Recording of Lectures:

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

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