Syllabus: Information Representation

Contact Information

Course Materials

Course Description

This course will focus on the principles and techniques of organizing and representing information including encoding standards, metadata, verbal subject analysis, and classification, in relation to system design. It will also focus on visual means of representing information such as charts, diagrams, tables, etc. (Prerequisites: LIS3267 and LIS3602)

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

Course Policies

Professor's responsibilities to you:

  1. I will edit and proofread any reasonably polished paper if you hand it to me at least three days before the assignment is due. If the assignment is due on Thursday, I must have your draft on Monday; if the assignment is due on Tuesday, I must have your draft on Saturday.
  2. I will be available to meet with you by appointment in the evening and/or on the weekend if that is what works with your schedule.
  3. I will respond to academic emails from students within 24 hours (unless I have given prior notice that I will be “offline”).
  4. I will come to class on time and prepared, provide you my full attention for the entire class period, and dismiss you on time.

Attendance: You must attend every scheduled class meeting (see Grading/Evaluation below for how this affects your grade for the course). If you will not be able to attend a specific class meeting, you must let me know ahead of time. This is imperative, and you will see it as a “recurring theme” in this syllabus. If you let me know ahead of time, things can go pretty well; if you let me know afterwards, things will not go well at all.

Gradable work: Please read this in detail, as it's very important.

Each assignment that you hand in (with the exception of in-class assignments) must adhere to ALL of the rules in this section in order for you to receive a grade on the assignment. If you hand in an assignment that is not “gradable work,” that is, if it fails to adhere to ANY one of these rules, it will not be graded. It will be returned to you ungraded, and resubmissions are at the discretion of the instructor.

Late work: Late work will not receive full credit, and grade penalties are both severe and at the instructor'’s discretion. If you will be handing in an assignment late, let me know BEFORE the due date so that we can arrange a new due date. If this is impossible, get in touch with me as soon as possible afterward. Again: if you let me know ahead of time, things can go pretty well; if you let me know afterwards, things will not go well at all.

Communication: I use a course mailing list that sends email to your FSU account. For most of you this is a garnet account. You are responsible for receiving, reading, and acting appropriately upon any email I send to the list. This means you need to check your FSU email OR make sure that it is forwarding correctly and consistently to the email account you do use.

Please see Dr. K's email statement for further information on how to communicate effectively via email.

Reminder: see the end of this syllabus for further comments about the Academic Honor Code and Americans with Disabilities Act.


Semester total: 100 points.

Final point tallies and their associated letter grades:

98-100 A+ (an A+ will not show up on your grade report, but I will provide you with documentation)
93-97 A
89-92 A-
86-88 B+
81-85 B
77-80 B-
74-76 C+
68-73 C
65-67 C-
62-64 D+
57-61 D
55-57 D-
0-54 F

You have the opportunity to earn points in these ways:

Total: 8.4+14+2+57.6+18=100

You will find more information about how to earn full credit for each assignment in the next section, Assignments/Responsibilities, and on the Assignments page.


Note about the reading assignments: You will read the assigned readings for a given week before we meet on Tuesday of that week (for example, you will complete the assigned readings for Week 2 before you come to class on January 13). You will find this helpful because you will be prepared to earn higher marks on the class participation, individual assignments, and group in-class cumulative assessments if you have read the readings carefully and on time.

Class attendance (8.4 points total, .3 points per class session). You must come to every class session on time and stay there, awake and attentive, until class is over.

Class participation (14 points total, .5 points per class session). Please notice that this means if you come to class but do not participate, you cannot earn an A in this course. While you are with us, awake and alert, for 1.25 hours each Tuesday and Thursday, you will find it more fun if you contribute to the ongoing knowledge-building of the class. In order for your participation to count, it must be: relevant to the class, relevant to the topic being discussed, enough so that we know you are there but not so much that you keep your classmates from contributing, and clearly grounded in the readings you have completed for that week. Note that often your participation will be assessed via a written (handwritten or informal email; these do NOT have to adhere to the rules for “gradable work”) in-class assignment.

Visit with professor (2 points). You need to come talk to me! On January 13, I will let you know for what month (January, February, or March) you should schedule your visit. Then, you can email me to let me know what day you are coming to my office hour or to schedule an alternative time with me. There are no re-schedules for no-shows; if you have to cancel for a good reason, let me know beforehand and you will receive one opportunity to re-schedule.

Four individual assignments (57.6 points total, 14.4 points per assignment). In general the four assignments will work like this: you will select a topic of interest to you during class, and submit the topic and an outline for completing the specific assignment as an in-class exercise (counts for class participation). You will prepare what you want to hand in (usually 6-10 pages) and submit it to me on the due date (or three days before that if you want me to proofread and edit it). Please re-check the rules for “gradable work” before submitting an assignment.

Frequently Asked Question: “How should I submit my individual assignment?” Answer: you may submit a URL to a web page that is your assignment or you may submit a printout. You may not submit an attached file via email nor may you send your assignment as the body of an email. The only two things you may submit are a URL or a printout. What you submit is what I look at to determine whether or not it is gradable work: if you send a URL and I get a 404, it is not gradable; if you hand me a printout and three pages out of the middle are missing, it is not gradable either. And so on.

Two group in-class cumulative assessments (18 points total, 9 points per assessment). Twice during the semester (see course outline below) we will spend the class period on a group in-class cumulative assessment. The professor will prepare a series of questions, activities, etc. that you will work on during the class period in small groups (usually 4 students). These cumulative assessments are just that: you are expected to know and be able to synthesize and apply everything you have read about and everything we have worked on in class up to that point. For one of the group assessments, you will be allowed to select your group; for the other, the professor will assign the groups. These will be open book, open note, etc., but you should not rely on having your materials with you to do well on these assessments.

Course Content and Outline

UNIT 1: Representation

UNIT 2: Schemas, genres, and mental models

Academic Honor Code

Students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Code published in The Florida State University Bulletin and the Student Handbook. The Academic Honor System of The Florida State University is based on the premise that each student has the responsibility (1) to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity in the student's own work, (2) to refuse to tolerate violations of academic integrity in the university community, and (3) to foster a high sense of integrity and social responsibility on the part of the university community. Please see the following web site for a complete explanation of the Academic Honor Code.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; (2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This should be done during the first week of class. For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the Student Disability Resource Center Dean of Students Department 08 Kellum Hall Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 32306-4400 (850) 644-9566 (voice) (850) 644-8504 (TDD)

This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

Syllabus Change Policy

This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advanced notice.