INF 7900: Digital Libraries

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): INF 6010, INF 6080, INF 6120, and INF 6210

Rationale for inclusion in curriculum

This course provides students with an understanding of the theoretical and practical principles of digital libraries. Students examine critical issues surrounding the development of digital libraries and their contents. Topics examined include users and user services, collection development, project management, information organization, metadata, information systems, digital preservation, digital library evaluation, digital librarianship, and recent research and development. The goals of this course are 1) to increase the students’ awareness and understanding of the multiplicity of digital library issues, and 2) to develop their knowledge further through the practical skills learned while preparing material for inclusion into a digital library.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  1. Comprehend the fundamental principles and processes of digital libraries.
  2. Describe digital libraries, and understand the terminology of digital libraries.
  3. Comprehend the selection process and the importance of project management.
  4. Understand copyright law as it applies to digital libraries.
  5. Identify and apply metadata elements and schema to specific materials.
  6. Comprehend and use basic mark-up languages.
  7. Utilize digitization standards in the production of digital objects.
  8. Describe digital preservation strategies based on the content and structure of the library.
  9. Evaluate a digital library with regard to its content, usability, performance, and services.


  1. Digital library definition.
  2. Collection development practices including selection, project management, and digitization processes.
  3. Information organization and representation in the digital library.
  4. Metadata standards, development and practices.
  5. Evaluation of digital libraries’ information retrieval performance, collection content and usability.
  6. Digital library users and user services.
  7. Issues and challenges of digital preservation.
  8. External influences on the development of digital libraries: copyright, economic issues and social aspects.
  9. Future digital libraries: research and development.
  10. Skills, knowledge and practice of digital librarians.

Course methodology

Class presentations and discussions, assigned readings, small group teamwork, written assignments, and exercises.

Bases for evaluation of student performance

Quality assignments submitted on or before due date, including exercises, written assignments, presentations, group project, weekly discussions, and class participation.


To be determined

Approved: 3/12

Updated: 8/13