INLS 720: Metadata

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"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from."

 -- Admiral Grace Hopper

Course description

INLS 720, Metadata Architectures and Applications, explores the role of metadata in our evolving information ecosystem(s); an emphasis is placed on metadata the digital environment. The course examines the development and use of metadata schemas in distinct information communities (e.g., digital libraries, museums, and archives; scientific data centers; governmental organizations; educational and learning environments; commerce enterprises; and personal information systems -- to name only a few). Among selected topics covered are interoperability, metadata models, ontologies, metadata for the semantic web, metadata generation, metadata and search engines, metadata quality, and the evaluation of metadata schemas and tools. The course introduces enabling technologies used to create machine-understandable metadata (e.g., XML and RDF). In class exercises and assignments provide practical experience.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will:

  • Understand the role of metadata for organizing resources, and for facilitating resource discovery, particularly in the digital environment.
  • Understand the range of functions metadata supports, including resource preservation, management, authentication, use, and other activities.
  • Gain familiarity with a wide range of metadata standards, and understand the different applications and functions for these standards.
  • Acquire basic skills for developing and implementing a metadata schema.
  • Evaluate metadata and metadata applications.
  • Consider a theoretical context for metadata and the future of metadata.


Jeffrey Pomerantz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

School of Information and Library Science

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

CB 3360, 100 Manning Hall

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360

v: 919-962-8064

f: 919-962-8071

pomerantz at unc dot edu



A note about office hours: I live in Seattle, WA & will therefore not be holding in person office hours in Chapel Hill. I will hold virtual office hours using Google Hangouts. And I am reachable by all of the fine media listed above. Contact me via any means you prefer. I'm happy to schedule a phonecall if you require a longer conversation.
Curriculum vitae

Course management

I will hold virtual office hours throughout the semester, using Google Hangouts. During the first 2 weeks of the semester we will have 2 Hangouts per week. After that we will decide if they're popular enough to maintain 2 per week, or if we should scale it back to 1 per week.


This course will blend synchronous and asynchronous elements of online teaching and learning. Here is my plan for which components of the course will be in which mode.


  • Content delivery via video micro-lectures
  • Discussion in threaded forums


  • Virtual office hours

Minimum technology requirements

In order to participate fully in this course, you will need to have access to a computer, with:

  • High-speed internet access
  • A webcam
  • A microphone

Textbook & reading

All readings will be assigned on the course Schedule. Readings will be available on the free web, on the course Sakai site, as an e-journal, via the Library's e-reserves, or via this wiki. Readings are also listed in my course Pinboard feed.


Create Dublin Core Records

Investigate DCMI Communities & Task Groups

Create Microdata

Environmental Scanning

Invent a Metadata Schema

Grading rubric & other policies

See my course grading rubric.

See my course policies.

See the Online Class Statement.

Assignments constitute the following percentage of your final grade:

  • Create Dublin Core Records = 15%
  • Investigate DCMI Communities & Task Groups = 10%
  • Create Microdata = 20%
  • Environmental Scanning = 15% (5 reports at 3 points per)
  • Invent a Metadata Schema = 25%
  • Participation = 15% (This is a greater percentage of the final grade than I usually assign to participation, but participation is more important in an online course.)


See the Schedule from Fall 2013. Note: this is the schedule as it stands at the start of the semester, & may not reflect subsequent changes.

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