Basic information

Instructor: Melanie Feinberg
Class location: UTA 1.212
Course unique ID: 28010
Date and time: Tuesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Instructor information

Office: UTA 5.446
Office phone: 512-471-8487
Office hours: Mondays 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. or by appointment

Course description

This course comprises a critical, comparative examination of the concept of description and its institutionalization, in the form of metadata standards, rules, and formats, in three primary contexts: libraries, archives, and museums. We will investigate the conceptual foundations and goals of description in each context and the structures (guidelines, technologies) that have been developed to facilitate institutional goals.

We will also explore emerging challenges to traditional models of description, including new forms of complex, dynamic entities (for example, continually updated documents, such as blogs), new technologies for searching, browsing, and describing (such as user-generated descriptive tags), and new ways of viewing the descriptive enterprise (via critical theory, for example).

The course will not emphasize the practice of creating descriptive metadata in any current environment (that is, you will not learn how to create library catalog records or archival finding aids according to existing content and technical standards). Instead, the course will focus on understanding and interrogating the conceptual foundations of existing standards and guidelines for such descriptions. We will emphasize rigorous and spirited analysis of these descriptive paradigms and their continued utility in a rapidly changing information landscape.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 512-471-6259.