LIBR 512 (3) Indexing


MLIS and Dual MAS/MLIS: Completion of MLIS Core or permission of the iSchool Graduate Advisor

MAS: completion of MAS core and permission of the iSchool Graduate Adviser. Knowledge of basic web design is highly recommended.

GOAL: The goal of this course is to provide students with knowledge of the theory and practice of indexing of traditional, electronic and object-based documents.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the benefits and problems of indexing systems based on pre-coordination, post-coordination or a combination of the two, with particular emphasis on computer-based retrieval systems [1.2, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4]*
  • Understand the basic types of indexing languages, with particular emphasis on the relative benefits and weaknesses inherent in controlled, uncontrolled, and natural languages, as well as the implications of each in manual and computer-based retrieval systems [1.2]*
  • Understand the use of natural and free indexing and their place in the indexing process of information storage and retrieval systems, particularly as enhancements to various types of controlled vocabulary languages and indexing [1.2]*
  • Understand the construction and use of thesauri and other controlled vocabulary mechanisms, with particular emphasis on the use of international thesauri standards [1.1, 1.2]*
  • Understand, analyze and discuss issues associated with indexing electronic information such as found on the World Wide Web [1.3]*
  • Understand the basic types of indexes, including a consideration of international standards [1.2]*
  • Understand and effectively apply basic principles of back-of-the-book indexing, including both manual and automated approaches and international standards [1.2]*
  • Create controlled vocabulary indexing languages that are compliant with international standards [1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 5.1]*
  • Index web sites that are compliant with recognized standards and guidelines in conjunction with HTML or similar scripting languages [1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 3.1]*
  • Effectively use thesaurus creation software in conjunction with international controlled vocabulary standards [1.3]*
  • Effectively use back-of-the-book and WWW indexing software [1.3]*

* Course objectives are stated in terms of student learning outcomes and reference the iSchool Statement on Graduate Competencies.


  • Pre-coordination & post-coordination
  • Indexing languages
  • Thesauri
  • Types of indexes
  • Controlled vocabulary indexing [open system]
  • Back-of-the-book indexing [closed system]
  • WWW indexing [both open & closed system]
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