Metadata Standards and Web Services in Libraries, Archives and Museums

Metadata Standards and web services in libraries, archives and museumsThe worksheets and sample coursepacket linked to on this page are intended to serve as companion materials to the book Metadata Standards and Web Services in Libraries, Archives and Museums.

The text, the active learning worksheets and the course design grew from many iterations of information organization and information technology courses. Many thanks to the colleagues and students at the University of Maryland for your input and feedback.

The following suggested course packet and worksheets are structured around a semester-based weekly course program. Each worksheet contains suggested readings and hands-on activities intended to provide practical experience to reinforce technical and theoretical content in the book and other suggested course readings. Each worksheet includes an answer key.


Class 1:  Information infrastructures and institutions

Introduce the structure for the semester grounded in a broad orientation to how information institutions work. Explore definitions and examples of information institutions including libraries, archives, schools and museums LASM. Explore the roles that these institutions play in society (e.g. memory, community, education, commerce).

Class 2:  Information systems as boundary objects

Expand on the organizational orientation from class 1 and discuss social and cultural roles of LASM institutions. Explore concrete examples of information, cultural heritage and memory institutions and define concepts and ideas to give students a holistic understanding of “information infrastructure” field. Introduce course model (e.g. Metadata >> System >> User) and explore connections with other core courses. Explore theoretical foundation of the process of representation.

Class 3:  Acquiring and managing resources

Explore resource acquisition and management work in LASM institutions. Introduce technical service disciplines and illustrate connections with other functional areas in information institutions by reinforcing role of core courses. For each LASM institution type explore the notion of resource operations in light of changing information institution models. At the end of the class students will understand the role of each of the activities in LASM institutions 1) Publication models (formal, in-formal), 2) Acquisition of materials (published, manuscripts, grey literature), 3) Management of formats (physical and digital), 4) Materials processing and management, 5) Appraisal, access and preservation, 6) Alternative acquisition, management and dissemination strategies.

This optional worksheet designed to be included in class 3 covers advanced JavaScript topics.

Class 4:  Introduction to metadata

Introduce metadata model (cataloging model, metadata schema, data representation model, data encoding/serialization). Discuss different types of metadata (e.g. descriptive, administrative, technical) and situate metadata within the broader context of information system design.

Class 5:  Methods of description, representation and classification

Discuss cataloging methods and different forms of metadata in information institutions. Introduce concept of metadata schemas and role that metadata standards play in enabling creation of digital documents and representations. Reinforce specific cataloging standards/approaches (e.g. RDA, DACS, ISAD/G) and introduce metadata schema (e.g. MARC, DC, EAD). Reinforce context of these standards in broader metadata and information system design models. Draw connections to other types of information systems. Explore and apply classification structures. Explore information seeking processes and the connection between categorization and cognition.

Class 6:  Metadata schema, vocabularies and encoding

Expand on concepts in metadata schema including the notion of application profiles, abstract models (e.g. Dublin Core Abstract Model) and Resource Description Framework. Broaden student understanding of vocabularies by introducing new serialization standards (e.g. XML, JSON).

Class 7:  Database design

Introduce relational database design concepts and techniques. Reframe student understanding of information systems by introducing web-based information system design (e.g. Model – View – Controller). Topics covered include entity relationship modeling, database creation, database querying and information filtering.

Class 8:  Selected topic deep dive

Designed to be a ‘catch-up’ week, class 8 includes an optional deep-dive activity into MARC for students who want to become more acquainted with that standard.

Class 9:  Search and retrieval in information systems

Explore methods for automatic indexing and ranking of information resources. Introduce foundation of web search techniques, full text searching of scanned books and image searching.

Class 10:  Creation of metadata rich web services

Explore services that support access to physical and digital objects. Introduce broad types of information services including user-focused services (library catalog) and system-focused web-services (interoperability, harvesting, transformation) (ONIX, OAI/PHM).

Class 11:  Metadata rich web services

Continue exploration of web services by exploring Open Refine and text manipulation and analysis techniques.

Class 12:  Building blocks of the web

Revisit web-publishing document standards (e.g. HTML, CSS, JavaScript). Acquaint students at a high level with web publishing approaches and reinforce concepts around web-based scripting and programming languages. For classes especially focused on metadata issues this introduction to the eXtensible Stylesheet Language could be an appropriate overview for programming concepts.

Class 13:  Emerging topics – Exploration of data management

In this class we are exploring the broad area of Research Data Management in order to better understand how issues of organization and information technology have an impact in an emerging area of interest in libraries, archives, schools and museums. Students will explore a real-world data management guide and try their hand at data management tools.

Class 14:  Next steps in information infrastructures
Review course content and bridge student knowledge of information infrastructures, systems and services to other parts of the curriculum. Discuss professional paths for different areas of interest. Connect learning by re-visiting institutional, data life-cycle and information system models.

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