School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 502 Outline


Course Outline
Winter 2018

Instructor: Dr. Lei Zhang
Office Hours: Email or Adobe Connect by appointment

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.

Course Objectives:

  • 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.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to analyze and synthesize the concepts of knowledge, information, and communication.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the key concepts and principles of information organization.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will appreciate the functions of librarians and information specialists within the larger global societal framework, and the factors influencing the creation, dissemination, and use of knowledge and information and the responsibility to serve all client groups.
  • Students will possess the skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to evaluate and improve library and information systems and services.
  • Students will be able to analyze and synthesize the concepts of knowledge, information, and communication; and to critically examine, assess, and make recommendations as to how these concepts and principles are applied in various information environments, including the Web.
  • Students will be able to create and manage user-centered information services and systems to meet the information needs of shifting and distinct communities of users.
  • Students will understand current information technology as an integral part of the operations and services of libraries and information agencies.



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.



Lectures, readings, online discussions, and group and individual projects.


Course Relationships:

Pre- or co-requisite: LIS 501.



Book chapters, journal articles, conference papers, websites are provided in eClass.


Assignments and Weighting:




Discussion & Participation


Project 1: Comparative examination of metadata records


Project 2: Information organization on websites


Project 3: Digital collection





Late Assignment Policy:

All assignments should be submitted to eClass by the date and time indicated on the assignment instructions. Late assignments will be subject to a penalty of 10% per day (including weekends). If an extension is required in cases of illness or emergency, please email the instructor in advance to make those arrangements.


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. Grades are calculated in accordance with the SLIS Grading Procedure.


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 stands 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 Behavior (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 offense 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 or chronic health condition affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.


Recording of Lectures:

Audio or video recording, digital or otherwise, of lectures, labs, seminars or any other teaching environment by students is allowed only with the prior written consent of the instructor or as a part of an approved accommodation plan. Student or instructor content, digital or otherwise, created and/or used within the context of the course is to be used solely for personal study, and is not to be used or distributed for any other purpose without prior written consent from the content author(s).

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