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LIS 538: Digital Libraries (IT)

Course Outline - Winter 2018

Instructor: Dr. Adam Worrall
Phone: (780) 492-0179
Office Hours: 3-15 Rutherford South
Mon 2:30-3:30pm
Wed 10:30-11:30am

Calendar Description:

An introduction to the concept, development, types and trends of digital libraries. This course will focus on the creation, organization, access, use and evaluation of digital libraries with a view to socioeconomic and cultural issues.

Course Objectives:

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Student Learning Outcomes:


Week Content Due
1 (Jan 11) Introduction to digital libraries
2 (Jan 18) History, definitions, and types of digital libraries
3 (Jan 25) Digital library architecture and technology
4 (Feb 1) Digital content and collections
5 (Feb 8) Digitization A1
6 (Feb 15) Digital repositories
7 (Feb 22) NO CLASS - Winter Term Reading Week
8 (Mar 1) Digital library evaluation A2
9 (Mar 8) Information organization and representation
10 (Mar 15) Digital library software (lab) A3
11 (Mar 22) Digital preservation
12 (Mar 29) Digital library interfaces and usability
13 (Apr 5) Digital library building
14 (Apr 12) Information access and retrieval; wrapping up A4


Written and oral introductions to / lectures on topics, readings, class and small group discussions, in-class and computer-based small group activities, and computer demonstrations will be used throughout the course. Where and when possible, guest speakers and/or special presentations will also be included.

Course Relationships:

Prerequisites: LIS 501, 502, 503, and 505, or consent of instructor.

Required Texts:

There are no required textbooks for this class. Copies of required readings from scholarly journals, books, and conference proceedings will be provided by the instructor or available via U of A Libraries.

Assignments and Weighting:

All assignments are due at 12 noon on the date given.

Assessment Due Weighting
A1: Critical Paper on Digital Libraries (individual) Feb 8 40 pts (20%)
A2: Digital Repository Exploration (individual) Mar 1 20 pts (10%)
A3: Evaluation of an Operational Digital Library (group) Mar 15 40 pts (20%)
A4: Building a Digital Library (group project) Apr 12 70 pts (35%)
Discussion and Participation \ Throughout\ 20 pts (10%) \ \
Self-Assessment Apr 13 10 pts (5%)
TOTAL: 200 pts (100%)

Late Assignment Policy

Assignments must be handed in by the date specified unless you have made prior arrangements with the instructor. Late assignments will not earn full credit; ten percent (10%) will be deducted for every day (24 hours, including weekends) an assignment is late to a maximum of three days. Assignments submitted more than three days (72 hours) after the due date will not be accepted. In most cases unexpected downtime for cloud services, including Google Apps at the University of Alberta, is not an accepted excuse for a late assignment submission. Exceptions to this policy will be rare and given at the instructor’s discretion. If you require an extension due to constraints, emergencies, or crises that will result in you submitting an assignment late or incomplete, please email the instructor as soon as possible and in advance to make those arrangements.

School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:

Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade. Grades are calculated in accordance with the SLIS Grading Procedure (

Academic Integrity: The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these stands regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behavior (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy.

Inclusive Language and Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of respect for all people within the university community and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation and ethnic background. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability or chronic health condition affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Recording of Lectures:

Audio or video recording, digital or otherwise, of lectures, labs, seminars or any other teaching environment by students is allowed only with the prior written consent of the instructor or as a part of an approved accommodation plan. Student or instructor content, digital or otherwise, created and/or used within the context of the course is to be used solely for personal study, and is not to be used or distributed for any other purpose without prior written consent from the content author(s).

Policy about academic regulations can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.

SLIS is mindful that the University of Alberta was established on Treaty #6 territory.