Date Theme Readings

Week 1
January 19

Introduction to the course and the topic.

What is information organization?

What are systems for organizing information?

Borges, 1962

Borges, 1964

Yoon, 2009

Rosenfeld and Morville (Ch. 5)

Week 2
January 26

Reflective essay #1 due Monday, January 25, at noon

Language, cognition, and categorization


Lakoff (ch. 1-4)

Winograd and Flores (ch. 5)

Week 3
February 2

Reflective essay #2 due Monday, February 1, at noon


By Friday, February 5, via e-mail, submit an idea for the set of entities that you want to represent in your descriptive schema assignment.


Classification as social infrastructure


Descriptive schema examples

Game: The Hairy Truth

Bowker and Star
(introduction through ch. 3, 1-133)

Week 4
February 9

Reflective essay #3 due Monday, February 8, at noon


Description, structure, and interpretation



Baxandall (introduction)

White (Ch. 1)


Week 5
February 16

Entities (objects, resources)

What kinds of things are we organizing?

Documents, works, texts: when is an entity "almost the same" as something else?


Entities in the bibliographic universe: slides


Identifying works: game




Wilson (ch. 1)

IFLA (Read about Group 1 entities only: pages 13-14, 17-24, 31-49)


Mimmo, et al


Carlyle and Fusco

Week 6
February 23

Attributes and values

What are our dimensions for description?


Slides: attributes and values



Wilson (ch. 2)

Hillman (sections 1, 3, 4 only)


Week 7
March 2

Control of values

The equivalence relationship: when are two values functionally the same?

Authority control: the power of the library catalog


Slides: controlled vocabularies




Taylor (ch. 8)

Rosenfeld and Morville (ch. 9)

Week 8
March 9

Descriptive schema assignment due


Subjects: a type of value of particular interest in information science

Indexing (or classifying): specifying a document’s subject


Slides: subject analysis

Game: Subject analysis extravaganza

Game: Subject classification, part 1

Wilson (ch. 5)

Taylor (ch. 9)


ISO 5963-1985


Hjorland (1992)

March 16

Spring break


Week 9
March 23

By Friday, March 26, via e-mail, submit an idea for the subject you want to represent in your classification assignment.

Subject languages (a set of values to control subject assignment)

Classifications, thesauri, taxonomies, subject heading lists, oh my!

Relationships between subject categories: hierarchical and associative

How do we go about identifying the concepts to include in a classification? And what do we do when we find them?


Slides: subject language scope

Slides: subject language structure

Game: subject classification, part 2

Ranganathan (ch. 1-5)

Svenonius (ch. 8 and 9)


Hjorland and Albrechtsen


Week 10
March 30

Faceted classification

Classification with multiple parallel hierarchies; synthetic classes

Slides: faceted classification

Game: Facet fun


Hunter (ch. 1-5)

Vickery (ch. A-M only)

Yee, Swearingen, and Hearst


Broughton (Read pp. 67-83 only)

Week 11
April 6

Standards for implementation of organizational systems: element sets, rules for specifying elements, and encodings for formatting and packaging the elements.

Slides: standards

Game: Chaos and control

Elings and Waibel

RDA draft (skim a few chapters)

Week 12
April 13


Extra office hours on April 15 (3 to 5 p.m.), 16 ( 12 to 4 p.m.), and 19 (12 to 4 p.m.).

Sign up for a 15-minute slot (not required but encouraged)

No class this week; Melanie out of town. No office hours April 12.

Catch up and work on classification assignment.

Optional interoperability readings

Duval, et al

Heery and Patel

Week 13
April 20

Bring a draft of your classification assignment to class, for peer feedback sessions

Universality or diversity as classification design principles



Week 14
April 27

Subject classification due

Social media and social classification: how can we best enable productive dialogue?

Game: Organize the organization


chapters 2-5 plus epilogue 25-142; 293-321

Week 15
May 4

Final reflective essay due

Summation: classification as a mode of seeing Doty