LIBR 514L (3) Metadata [cross-listed with ARST 556L]


MAS students: Completion of the MAS Core courses, plus permission of the instructor.

MLIS and Dual students: Some electives can be taken in conjunction with the MLIS Core courses; consult with the MLIS Program Chair for recommendations.

Goal: This course will give students a broad introduction to descriptive, structural, administrative, and use metadata covering metadata collection and generation, schema design and revision, and querying and analysis. This course will have a substantial practice component through lab sessions. Labs in this course will focus on the management of metadata within digital repository environments while class lectures and student research will cover a range of standards, applications, and contexts.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Apply theories of information and documents to describe items, collections, and datasets through metadata; [1.2]*
  2. Describe existing metadata standards in terms of scope, application, governance, and maintenance; [1.1]
  3. Understand the role that metadata plays in libraries, archives, and record management; [1.1, 1.4]
  4. Analyze and assess proposed and deployed metadata schemas for suitability, feasibility, and risk; [1.1]
  5. Design metadata schemas and application profiles around particular resources and contexts; [1.1,1.3]
  6. Manage metadata schemas and metadata records within a digital repository environment; [1.2]
  7. Express metadata in linked open data triples; [1.2]
  8. Query and analyze metadata datasets to assess collections and find relationships; [1.2]
  9. Assess and compare metadata models across various platforms; [1.1, 1.4]
  10. Understand critical perspectives on metadata including bias, labour, surveillance, and professionalization; [1.4, 4.1]
  11. Communicate the relevance of metadata principles and practices to real world situations; [1.3, 2.1]
  12. Create and follow through on plans for professional development and practice in the domain of metadata that are accountable to the philosophy, principles and ethics of the professions. [5.1, 5.3]

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


  • Metadata for items, collections/fonds, and datasets
  • Metadata in library, archival institutional, and record management professional contexts
  • Metadata functions:
    • Access
    • Control
    • Authentication
    • Description
    • Preservation
    • Relationships
    • Monitoring & Surveillance
  • Metadata generation & collection
    • Traditional processes
    • Automated processes
    • Crowd processes
  • Metadata principles:
    • Entities, attributes, and relations
    • Structures & encoding
    • Interoperability, extensibility, modularity, & hospitality
  • Schema design & revision and application profiles
  • Standards: URI, DC, XML, RDF, MODS, EAD, & more!
  • Open and linked metadata & triples
  • Normalizing, translating, & transforming metadata
  • Querying & analyzing metadata records
  • Sustainability and long-term issues
  • Labour & accountability in metadata
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