INF 7910: Metadata in Theory and Practice

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 metadata used to provide access to digital objects in the online setting. Students examine critical issues surrounding the development and application of metadata for particular domains and settings. The goals of this course are: 1) to increase the students’ awareness and understanding of metadata schemas and the multiplicity of standards, and 2) to deepen their knowledge through the development of application profiles, data mapping across several schemas, the choice, selection and use of authority controls, and XML encoding in setting-specific situations.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Comprehend the fundamental principles, practices and types of metadata.
  2. Define metadata, and understand the terminology of metadata.
  3. Comprehend and identify domain specific metadata schemas.
  4. Apply standard metadata element sets and schemas to records or collections.
  5. Develop and document modified metadata element sets and schema in various setting-specific records or collections.
  6. Comprehend and use basic mark-up languages.
  7. Understand, develop and implement authority controls for a collection.


  1. Metadata definition and basic concepts.
  2. Overview of common schemas and their elements.
  3. Purpose and types of controlled vocabularies.
  4. Providing access to images and sound.
  5. Formal classification schemes and folksonomies.
  6. Dublin Core for resource description, identification, responsibility, content and relationship.
  7. Encoding using XML.
  8. Metadata schemas: MODS, VRA & EAD.
  9. Metadata exchange and quality.
  10. Designing and documenting metadata schema.
  11. Linked data and the semantic web.

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