LIS 60637
Kent State University iSchool

Metadata Architectures and Implementations

Instructor: Marcia Lei Zeng, Ph.D., Professor

Textbook's Open Website (off Blackboard):

Updated: 2019-09-02

Course Description

Metadata is a critical mechanism in digital information management and services. It has broad applications in many domains hence numerous international and community standards have been developed and implemented. This course introduces concepts, principles, functional requirements, and practices of metadata, with an emphasis on metadata implementations in library, archive, and museum (LAM) communities. Combined with extensive hands-on practices, the course covers the application as well as the design of metadata element sets and schemas, data exchange formats, and value vocabularies. It examines the practices and issues of metadata services, interoperability, quality control and evaluation, as well as trends and practices in Linked Data development.


After completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. describe the principles, concepts, and types of metadata;
  2. self-explore various metadata standards in specific domains and write professional level fact sheets to introduce and explain these standards;
  3. apply selected metadata standards to the creation of metadata descriptions, with or without computer programs;
  4. develop metadata element sets or application profiles through designing, evaluating, and modifying metadata elements according to local needs;
  5. create and implement controlled vocabularies for metadata value spaces;
  6. analyze and discuss different issues in the applications of metadata standards in a larger context of a project, community, and society; reflect these understandings in the group project and the individual's final project.


Zeng, Marcia Lei and Jian Qin. 2016. Metadata. 2nd. -Chicago: ALA & Neal-Schuman. ISBN: 978-1-55570-965-5;
-London: FACET Publishing ISBN:978-1-78330-052-5

Sample text (includes a major portion of Chapter 1) is available online.

Textbook Reference Website:
Or go to: for the 2nd. ed.

Metadata course assignment roadmap
Please move the mouse pointer over the image to see the schedule.


Course Outline and Materials

15 Learning Modules

Tentative Learning Modules (Please check each learning module on BL for details)



Additional Refs.

& tools


 About the course  

0a. Introduce yourself to the class  
What to do: Post your intro to the class General Discussion Board.

0b. Sign-in sheet 
What to submit: Sign-in sheet.

Wk 1


Metadata basics

Metadata types and functions

A typology of metadata standards

Metadata descriptions - examples

Reading: Chapter 1
Additional Refs:
. Chapter 1 on website
. Appendixes on website
Try Tool: FOAF-a-Matic.

1a. Quiz for Chapter 1 (open book)

1c. Group discussions:
What to do: Compare and analyze a variety of metadata instances; Post your findings in group discussion space.

Wk 2

Metadata vocabularies


  • Standards for data structures
  • Components and structure

Element Sets

  • Case: Dublin Core

Reading: Chapter 2.1

Standard: [Dublin Core (DC) ]


Additional Refs:

  • Darwin Core schema [XML] & p. 439, Chapter 10.3.3.
  • Value vocabularies for date, language, media type [Appendixes]

2a: DC fact sheet
What to submit: a fact sheet.

2b: Creating metadata descriptions using DC 1.1
What to submit: 2 records.
 Tool: DC template.

2c.  Group discussions:
What to do: Examine output formats: (text; HTML; XML; RDF TTL) and share your notes.  

Wk 3

(cont.) Metadata vocabularies  

Element Sets

  • Case: VRA Core 4.0
  • Examples of metadata descriptions using VRA Core

XML coding tutorial

Reading: Chapter 2.2

Standard: [VRA Core 4.0]


Additional Refs:

3a. VRA Core 4.0 fact sheet & examples
What to submit: a fact sheet.

3b.  Creating metadata descriptions using VRA Core 4.0 
What to submit: 2 records.
Tool: a VRA template (WORD file).
Tool: Oxygen XML Editor .

3c. Group discussions
What to post: Your experience with VRA Core.

Wk  4

(cont.) Metadata vocabularies

Application Profiles (AP)

  • Concept of AP
  • Examples

Ontologies as metadata vocabularies


A vocabulary that you choose to study

Reading: Chapter 2.2; 2.3



Additional Refs:

4a. Fact sheet & example(s) of a selected standard (Pick one standard from Chapter 10.3-10.8)
What to submit: a fact sheet, one example of a metadata description record with explanations.

4c. Group discussions
What to post: A fact sheet with examples (same as 4b).

Wk 5

(cont.) Metadata vocabularies  

RDF Vocabularies for Metadata Terms 

  • RDF Primer
  • RDFa Basics
    • RDFa embedded in a webpage

Case: DCMI Metadata Terms

Reading: Chapter 2.4

Standard: [DCMI Terms] & User Guide

Additional Refs:

Try tools:

5a. Set up your WorldCat account by following the instructions (for next week’s ContentDM use)
What to submit: Your WorldCat account name, if it is different from what I set up for you.

5b.  Create structured data for an online biography in RDFa

5c. Group discussions
Study one of the fact sheets shared by a group member last week, and post your study notes.

Wk 6

Metadata Descriptions (“records”)

Basic units

Knowing the difference

Level of granularity

Sources of metadata

Case: METS

Reading: Chapter 3.1-3.6

Standard:  [METS]
Additional Refs:

6a. Using ContentDM
Tool: ContentDM
What to submit: 2 records.

6c. Group discussions
What to post: Introduce one of the ContentDM collections.

Wk 7

(cont.)  Metadata Descriptions

Metadata Storage and Expression

Internal storage
-Case: IBM websites

External storage
-Case: DBpedia 

Expression Metadata
--Encoding formats: HTML, XML, RDF/XML, and other RDF Serialization Formats

Reading: Chapter 3.7

Standards: Chapter 10.1.2
[MODS, MARC family]

W3C Standards: [HTML5; XML; RDF concepts and Abstract Syntax ; RDF/XML syntax]

Additional Refs:

7a. Using Oxygen XML Editor
Tool: Oxygen XML Editor

7c. Group discussions
What to post: My experience with XML so far.

Wk 8

Metadata Structures and Semantics

Modeling metadata

Developing a Metadata Element Set / an Application Profile

1, Post cards,
2, Adoptable Pets Registry, or
3, Smart phones

Case:  International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF)

Reading: Chapter 4.1-4.3

Standard: International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) APIs 
Additional Refs:

  • Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles

8a. Developing an element set/ Application Profile (part I)
What to submit: Draft of desired metadata elements for the collection 

8c. Group discussions
What to post: My tips and questions.

Wk 9

(cont.) Metadata Structures and Semantics

Value spaces and value vocabularies


Best practice guides

Reading: Chapter 4.4—4.7

Standards of value vocabs
-see Appendixes on textbook’s website

9a. Developing an element set / Application Profile (part II)
What to submit: Final specification.
Tool: ContentDM

9b.  Creating metadata descriptions using your own AP
What to submit: 2 records

9c. Group discussions
What to post: Share your final specification and 2 records (same as 9a and 9b).

Wk 10

Metadata Schemas 


Schema encoding

Examples of XML schemas for metadata standards / application profiles

Reading: Chapter 5

Additional Refs:
Readings: Chapter 10.

10.a. A metadata schema ready for implementation
Option 1: Create an XML schema using oXygen and test it.
What to submit: (1) The XML schema you created (xml file or screenshots)
(2) A metadata XML record you created (file or screenshots)

Option 2: Implement your AP on ContentDM and test it.
What to submit: (1) A link to, or screenshots of, your ContentDM field properties page. (2) Link(s) to your ContentDM record(s).

Option 3: Create an ontology using Protégé and test it.
What to submit: (1) The ontology you created (zip file or screenshots)
(2) An instance you created (include in the zip file or give screenshots)

10c. Group discussions
What to post: My experience developing a metadata schema.

Wk 11 

Metadata Services 




Ensuring optimal metadata discovery

Case: Linked Open Vocabularies (LOV)

Reading: Chapter 6.

Additional Refs:

. Community standard: OAI-PMH

. FAIR Principles

. W3C Recommendation: Data on the Web Best Practices

11a. Explore metadata services, including a registry, two repositories, and a portal. 
What to submit: Your report   

11c.  Group discussions  
What to post: My observations of the metadata services I explored.  

Wk 12

Metadata as Linked data

Linked Data in the practices of LAMs


Case: LOD Cloud, DBpedia

Cases of LODLAM

  • Category1: Bibliographic data
  • Category2: Special collections archives
  • Category3: Thesauri, name authorities, and other KOS

[Your Final project starts]

Reading: Chapter 6.4 &

W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group Final Report


Additional Refs:

(extra points) 12a. Read W3C report

(extra points) 12b. (up to 4 cases)
Tasks: Obtain datasets by querying DBpedia, Getty LOD Vocabs, Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE), and WorldCat. Visualize datasets.

Tools: DBpedia query forming template; DBpedia Sparql Endpoint; Getty Vocab Sparql Endpoint; OCRE Sparql Endpoint; Gephi visualization platform. Google Fusion Table.

12c.  Group discussions
What to post: My thoughts about metadata as LOD.

Wk 13

Metadata Quality

Criteria for measuring quality

Evaluation methodology

Reading: Chapter 7
Additional Refs:

. Europeana Metadata Quality Dashboard


13c. Group discussions
What to post: (1) Your final project plan; (2) Give comments and suggestions to other classmates' plans.

Wk 14

Metadata Interoperability

Metadata interoperability

  • Schema level
  • Description/record level
  • Repository level

Alignment approaches for LOD

Case: International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF)

Reading: Chapter 8

FAIR Principles
Standard: International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) APIs 
Additional Refs:

13a+14a. Crosswalking and data converting; Strategies for interoperability

14b. Learning OpenRefine

14c.  Group discussions
What to post: My tips after the analysis (for 13a +14a).

Wk 15

Metadata Research Landscape, Activities, & Trends

Summary and Conclusion

[Final project completes]

Reading: Chapter 9


Additional Refs:

15a. Final project
What to submit: Final project.

15b. Project showcase
What to post: A presentation of your final project. Post in the class General Discussion Board.

15c.  Group discussions
What to post: Ten things I have learned in this course.


Readings for each chapter: find on each chapter's page at textbook's website

Appendix A. Metadata Standards -- Metadata schemas, application profiles, and registries
Appendix B. Value Encoding Schemes and Content Standards
Glossary (see textbook, also available on Blackboard Learn)
Bibliography (see textbook)

NOTICE OF MY COPYRIGHT AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. Any intellectual property displayed or distributed to students during this course (including but not limited to powerpoints, notes, quizzes, examinations) by the professor/lecturer/instructor remains the intellectual property of the professor/lecturer/instructor. This means that the student may not distribute, publish or provide such intellectual property to any other person or entity for any reason, commercial or otherwise, without the express written permission of the professor/lecturer/instructor.

To fellow professional instructors: If you would like to view my course materials, please contact me. The publisher also has access to a whole set of practices and assignments that we designed for instructors. Contact ALA Publishing (USA) or Facet Publishing (UK & outside of USA)