INF 385T - Creating and Using Digital Media CollectionsSchool of Information - The University of Texas at Austin
Spring, 2007

Course Description

The recent explosion in popularity of web sites such as YouTube, MySpace, and GoogleVideo demonstrate that advances in technology are making online access to multimedia increasingly practical. Although these sites only provide users with relatively limited ways of interacting with multimedia, there are many possibilities for greatly enhancing the potential value of online multimedia collections, particularly for learning and research. Oral history collections, for example, can be excellent resources for many users if they can be more easily accessed and explored. Using several different media collections, this course will explore technologies and techniques for enhancing digital media resources and enriching digital media collections, with particular emphasis on video collections and their associated metadata and transcripts.

Topics will include digitization, workflow, and project management; video encoding for online access and preservation; transcription of audio and video materials; cataloging, indexing, and tagging digital media resources and collections; distribution and access issues; and other associated topics. Completion of INF 385R "Survey of Digitization" is recommended.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students should accomplish the following course objectives:

Required Books

There are two required texts for this course:

MacKay, Nancy. (2006). Curating Oral Histories: From Interview to Archive. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. [ISBN: 1-59874-058-X]

Morville, Peter. (2005). Ambient Findability. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media. [ISBN: 0596007655]

There are also required and recommended supplementary readings, and other relevant Web resources, listed on the Resources page.

Course Expectations

Students are expected to attend all class sessions. You do not have to tell me if you must miss a class but be aware that it is difficult to actively participate in class if you aren't there, and part of your final course grade is based on class participation.

This is not a lecture course so active participation is particularly important. The course will provide many opportunities for participation through discussion of required readings, in-class activities, and class projects. It is important that you do the readings each week before class so that you can participate in, and get the most out of, the discussions.

Assignments and Grading

There are three assignments in this course. These assignments are intended to provide a way for you to gain practical experience with topics covered in class, and to share what you've learned with the rest of the class. The assignments involve both investigating existing digital media collections and working to help create several working prototypes of digital media collections featuring digital video based interviews. Each assignment is worth a specific number of points, as will be noted in the assignment details. Your cumulative score on all assignments will help determine your final grade for the course, with each assignment weighted like so:

Assignment 1 - Investigating an Oral History Collection (group presentation) 15%
Assignment 2 - Processing Digital Video Interviews (individual) 40%
Assignment 3 - Final Paper or Project (individual or group) 40%

Thus, the three assignments total 95% of your final grade. Another 5% of your final grade is based on class participation and other indicators of level of effort.

Assignment 1 will be due on varying class meeting dates that depend on the group you are in. Assignments 2 will be due on dates during the semester that we agree on later in the semester. Assignment 3 is due on the last meeting day of the course, and this assignment will only be accepted late if the instructor grants permission, at least 24 hours before the due date, for the student to turn the assignment in late, on an agreed-upon date. Except in extreme circumstances, this assignment will be docked several points for each day it is late.

Disability Accommodations

Any student with a documented disability (physical or cognitive) who requires academic accommodations should contact the Services for Students with Disabilities area of the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259 (voice) or 471-4641 (TTY for users who are deaf or hard of hearing) as soon as possible to request an official letter outlining authorized accommodations.

Course Schedule

See the Schedule page for a detailed list of the topics that will be covered each week during the course, as well as any readings or assignments that should be done.

©Gary Geisler
Last revised April 2, 2007