Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information

Metadata is an unsung hero of the modern world, the plumbing that makes the information age possible. This course describes how Metadata is used as an information tool for the Web, for databases, and for the software and computing applications around us.

About The Course

If you use nearly any digital technology, you make use of metadata. Use an ATM today? You interacted with metadata about your account. Searched for songs in iTunes or Spotify? You used metadata about those songs. We use and even create metadata constantly, but we rarely realize it. Metadata -- or data about data -- describes real and digital objects, so that those objects may be organized now and found later.

Metadata is a tool that enables the information age functions performed by humans as well as those performed by computers. Metadata is important to many fields, particularly Computer Science; but this course is not purely a Computer Science course. This course approaches Metadata from the perspective of Information Science, which is a broad interdisciplinary field that studies how people create and manage information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will there be a required textbook?

No. Readings will be selected from freely available articles, web content and open access scholarly literature.

Will a Statement of Accomplishment be awarded?

Students who complete all graded assignments and achieve at least 80% overall will receive a Statement of Accomplishment.

What’s the time commitment for this course?

Watching the videos, completing the readings, and completing the graded weekly assignments will require a minimum time commitment of approximately 4-6 hours per week.

Recommended Background

Knowledge of HTML or HTML5 is a prerequisite for this course. If you are unsure if you meet this prerequsite, we recommend that you score at least 15 out of 20 on the W3Schools’ HTML Quiz. If you find that you do not have this level of knowledge of HTML, many free online resources are available, including:
  • W3Schools’ HTML Tutorial
  • Codecademy’s Web Fundamentals Track