INF 7910: Metadata in Theory and Practice

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

Through this course students develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical principles of metadata. 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 students’ awareness and understanding of metadata schemas and the multiplicity of standards, and 2) to  develop students’ practical skills through the creation of application profiles, data mapping across several schemas, the choice, selection and use of authority controls, XML encoding in setting-specific situations, and the creation of RDF statements.


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.



The following topics will be covered in this course:

1.            Metadata definition and fundamental concepts.

2.            Overview of common schemas and their elements.

3.            Purpose, types and use of controlled vocabularies.

4.            Providing access to still and moving 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 assessment.

10.         Designing and documenting metadata schema.

11.         Linked data and the semantic web.


Course methodology

•             Class presentations and discussions,

•             Lectures

•             Exercises

•             Experiential projects

•             Readings


Bases for evaluation of student performance

•             Class participation

•             Assignments

•             Quizzes and exercises

•             Student projects



Miller, S. J. (2022). Metadata for digital collections: A how-to-do-it manual (2nd ed.). ALA / Neal-Schuman.  White papers, journal articles, professional workshop videos.



Updated: 4/2024