Special Topics Courses

This page contains descriptions for special topics offered at SILS (regularly offered courses are listed separately). Special topics courses are developed to cover emerging issues or specialized content not represented in the main curriculum. Not all courses are offered each semester—see the course schedule for availability.

Fall 2014

Summer 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2014


490-204: Going the Last Mile: Access to Information for Underserved Populations (Missen) 3 credits
Two thirds of the world's populations cannot access the Internet. Over 20% of Americans have no access to the Internet. Millions of incarcerated individuals need basic education but cannot use the Internet. Even when connected, people in remote areas often lack the bandwidth to use multimedia-rich Web offerings. In this course we will investigate the special challenges of providing information services to marginalized populations in an increasingly digital world. We'll examine the economic, political, and infrastructural barriers as well as learn about innovative efforts to deliver digital information to the bulk of the world's people who cannot afford conventional technologies.

690-036: Bought, Burned or Borrowed: Information Policy for the 21st Century (Daniel) 3 credits

690-109: Scholarly Communication (Hemminger) 1.5 credits, meets August 19-October 2
Universities, research institutions, and scholarly communities are about the consumption and production of knowledge. This course will provide a survey of scholarly communication past and present with a particular emphasis on the changes in scholarly communication in the past ten years. We will examine the interaction between society, technology and scholarly communication, the theory and practice of the communication of knowledge in academic and research environments, and how developments in publishing and communication technologies are affecting changes in scholarly communications. Topics include scholarship, publishing models, open access/publishing/data/science, author’s rights, peer review, institutional repositories/preservation, and evaluating scholarship (bibliometrics and altmetrics).

690-141: Digital Forensics for the Curation of Digital Collections (Lee) 3 credits
Students will learn about hardware, software and methods used to extract digital data that have been stored on removable media (ie: hard drives, floppy disks, USB memory sticks), as well as extracting various forms of metadata to be incorporated into digital curation workflows. This course addresses common storage devices and interfaces; write-blocking equipment and its role in acquisition of data; levels of representation; basic filesystem structures; role and importance of hash values and hex views of bitstreams; and software used to conduct data acquisition. Students will have the opportunity to use a range of state-of-the-art digital forensics hardware and (commercial and open-source) software and explore ways that they can be applied by information professionals in a variety of collecting contexts.

690-154: Duke/UNC Joint Health Informatics Seminar (Mostafa) 1.0 credit
The Duke/UNC Joint Health Informatics Seminar Presentation Series is sponsored by Duke Center for Health Informatics and the Carolina Health Informatics Program.  This series explores key areas in Health Informatics and includes research results, overview of programs of research (both basic and applied), and evaluative projects.  Speakers with extensive informatics experiences and knowledge from both academia and industry are usually invited to present.   The general goal is to expose students to ongoing cutting-edge R&D issues in health informatics and add to their basic understanding of the area.   Students should aim to participate in a selected set of presentations that directly overlap with their own areas of interest and they are expected to synthesize the knowledge gleaned from the seminar presentations into a presentation which summarizes their key concepts and issues and their personal reflections on them.

690-159W: Financial Management in Information Organizations (M. Weiss) 1.5 credits, meets October 20-December 1
An introduction to financial management principles and practices intended for information professionals working in all types of organizations. Topics include accounting, auditing, budgeting, fundraising (private, crowdsourcing, grant) and understanding sources and uses of funds based on their type. A focus is placed on teaching students how to successfully advocate for needed funding based on a strategic and well communicated financial plan aligned with organizational goals.

690-163: Introduction to Big Data and NoSQL (Rajasekar) 1.5 credits, meets August 21-September 25
Pre-requisite: INLS 523 or equivalent. Growth in data is outstripping Moore's Law. Traditional solutions are inadequate to handle applications in Big Data. We explore problems and solutions in this area through non-traditional NoSQL databases.and data-intensive frameworks of Hadoop and Map-Reduce. Topics covered include Google's BigTable and Map-Reduce, Amazon's Dynamo, Apache's Cassandra, HBase, and Hadoop.

690-165: Web Development (Boone) 1.5 credits, meets August 20-October 8
An introduction to front-end web development using the latest standards, HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is recommended.

690-186: Web Information Organization (Shaw) 3 credit hours
This advanced information organization course focuses on understanding and using the Web as a platform for building information systems. Students will learn how the Web has been designed to be used as a service platform, a data publishing platform, and an application platform. Specific topics to be covered include: resources and representations, URIs, HTTP, MIME types, REST, microdata, microformats, the Semantic Web, Linked Data, and HTML5. Although the course will involve some programming, the focus will not be on programming Web sites but on understanding and applying the organizational principles of the Web. Students will develop a deep understanding of information architecture, not at the level of individual Web sites, but of the Web as a whole

690-207: Community Archiving (Anthony) 3 credits
Prerequisite: INLS 556.  A number of archivists are advocating for a new, collaborative model of archiving that empowers communities to look after their own records “by partnering professional archival expertise with communities’ deep sense of commitment and pride in their own heritage and identity.”  This class will explore the many ideas and issues surrounding this new model by working with a local community group to develop a comprehensive strategy for collecting, describing and maintaining their historical records in both analog and digital formats. The work will be informed by discussion of relevant literature and examination of other community archiving projects. 

690-208W: Web Archiving (Yoon) 1.5 credits, meets August 25-October 13
The purpose of this course is to provide knowledge of the Web as a source for archival collection development. Through lectures, analysis of Web archives, and hands on work, students will gain insight on relevant issues regarding the nature and characteristics of the Web and the use of the Web in their archival work. About half of this course will expose students to existing and emerging tools for capturing Web content, with an emphasis on laboratory practice using the current generation of Web crawlers

690-209W: Data Sharing Among Scientists (Yoon) 1.5 credits, meets October 20-December 1
This course will explore different issues related to data sharing among scientists. Students will look at different forms of data in different disciplines, and will learn the roles of data in scholarly research life cycle and research collaboration; relationships between data, data creators, data repositories, and data curators; basic principles of public policies for data and data management.

690-220: Management Issues for Small Libraries (Flaherty) 1.5 credits, meets August 25-October 13
This course provides an overview of a variety of management issues encountered in the small public library setting. Some topics that will be covered include: crafting policies and budgets, facilities management, personnel, working with boards (including Friends groups), grant writing and fundraising, advocacy, and patron issues. Case studies and "real life" examples will be used to demonstrate typical topics and issues encountered in the small public library.

690-223 Advanced Databases (Rajasekar) 1.5 credits, meets October 2-November 20
Pre-requisite: INLS 623 or equivalent. In this course we study concepts in database planning and administration. Topics include relational database configuration, administration and monitoring, security, performance tuning and disaster recovery. We will also touch upon emerging concepts in NoSQL database and Hadoop administration.

690-224: Visual Analytics (Gotz) 3 credits
This course will provide an overview of Visual Analytics, a topic that combines information visualization and data analysis to support analytical reasoning via highly interactive visual interfaces. The course will review foundational concepts, recent results, and commonly used technologies. The course is project-oriented and will require that students program their own web-based visualization systems using HTML and JavaScript. While no specific courses are considered pre-requisistes, students should be competent programmers. Prior experience with web programming (e.g., HTML and JavaScript) is strongly recommended.

690-225: Disaster Planning for Libraries (Flaherty) 1.5 credits, meets October 20-December 1
Disasters can come in a variety of forms (e.g. hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes, ect.) and strike at any time. Prepardness, prevention, and planning are all critical components of effective disaster responsiveness. In this course, students will learn about disaster prevention, recovery, training, and outreach as they apply to the library setting.

690-226: Digital Humanities (Poole) 3 credits
The digital humanities represent a “global, trans-historical, and transmedia approach to knowledge and meaning-making” (Burdick, et al. 2012, vii). They require an investment in interdisciplinarity and collaboration. Through discussion, hands-on activities, and work in small groups, students will learn about key concepts and tools in the digital humanities. Topics may include the definition and histories of DH; archival theory and practice; textuality and electronic scholarly editing; scholarly communication; text mining, analysis, and visualization; encoding, hypertext, and markup; modeling and knowledge representation; the spatial and temporal “turns”; game studies; and new media, mechanisms, and materiality. Overarching themes include social, legal, ethical questions (e.g. privacy, intellectual property, and open access) as well as project planning, management, and sustainability.

690-227: Mobile Web Development (Boone) 1.5 credits, meets October 13-December 3)
An introduction to techniques and technologies for the development of mobile websites. Topics include responsive web design, content strategy, performance, and use of mobile frameworks. Basic knowledge of HTML is required, and familarity with CSS and JavaScript is recommended.

690-228: Project Management (Nguyen)

690-229: Search User Interface Design (Brennan) 3.0 credits
What has the empty box in the middle of the white page done for you lately?  This course focuses on the ways in which the search user interface (SUI) supports the human information seeking process.   We will discuss the principles and practices of search interface development and design, core evaluation methods, current and needed research, and state of the art SUI developments.  In addition, major topics will cover the ways in which search interfaces support interactivity, query and re-query processes, presentation of search results, integration of navigation and search, personalization, and information visualization.  We will also briefly explore the history and evolution of SUIs with an eye toward more detailed discussions of emerging trends and areas of promise.  Knowledge of information retrieval search systems and interface design principles will be useful for students taking this class.


Summer 2014

INLS 490-001: Metadata for Data Science (Greenberg) 3 credits
Explores the vital role of metadata for data science initiatives, big data, and data analytics. The course will cover historical, theoretical and practical issues specific to metadata and data science. Among selected topics covered are metadata models and standards, ontologies, metadata for the Semantic Web/linked data, automatic metadata generation, search, metadata quality, interoperability, and the evaluation of metadata. The course will introduce selected enabling technologies used to create machine understandable metadata. In class exercises and group assignments will provide practical experience.


Spring 2014

INLS 089: First Year Seminar: Social Movements and New Media (Tufecki)
INLS 490-172: Fundamentals of Programming Information Applications (Capra)

This course provides fundamental skills needed to design, implement, and maintain computer applications focused on information processing, management, retrieval, and presentation. Students will learn object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithm analysis, and data processing techniques in the context of information science topics such as metadata harvesting, information retrieval, text analysis, and user interfaces.  The course combines conceptual understanding of data structures and algorithms with practical techniques for implementation and debugging.  Uses the Python language. Pre-requisite: COMP 110, Introduction to Programming, or the equivalent.

INLS 490-176: Human Factors in Systems Design (Barlow)

Designing useful, usable, and appealing software, mobile applications, and consumer products requires consideration of human factors of the user's interaction with the system. The focus is human engineering design based in human sensory, motor, and cognitive capabilties. Through examples drawn from a variety of domains, the class will cover: History of human factors; Human perceptual, cognitive, and motor abilities; problem solving when interacting with human-made systems; the influence of technology on decision making; The sources of human error; User engagement; How people fit into technologicial systems; and social interactions around technology. The objectives of the course are: 1)To provide students with an understanding of the fundamental human factors that must be taken into account in system design and 2) whethere working on websites, automobile interiors, mobile devices, games, office productivity software, and enterprise softwrae, demonstrate there are common human engineering principles that must be considered in all systems design. 

INLS 490-211: Introduction of Human Information Interactions (Murillo)
Introduction to foundational and core concepts of human information behavior, including models of information seeking behavior, information needs and use, user-centered design, and human computer interaction.* Undergraduate students only*

INLS 690-165: Mobile Web Development (Boone, 1.5 credits)
An introduction to techniques and technologies for the development of mobile web sites and applications. Topics will include responsive web design and the jQuery Mobile framework for mobile development. Basic knowledge of HTML is required, and familiarity with CSS and JavaScript is recommended.

INLS 690-189: Social Media and Society: A Theoretical and Empirical Overview (Tufecki)

INLS 690-216: Social Sciences Information (Bardeen, 1.5 credits) 
Prerequisite: INLS 501. Survey of information and its needs in the social sciences, with an emphasis on information use and search strategies and on reference and other information resources.

INLS 690-217: Humanities Information (Holloway, 1.5 credits)
Prerequisite: INLS 501. Survey of information and its needs in the humanities, with an emphasis on information use and search strategies and on reference and other information resources.

INLS 890-030: Readings on Library and Information Science in the Middle East and North Africa (1 credit hour)
The purpose of this course is to expose students to some of the issues and trends in information and library science (ILS) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). From the great library at Alexandria, Dar al-Hikma and the Nizamiyya in Baghdad, ancient universities in Cairo and Fez to modern universities, museums, and libraries, the MENA region is home to some of the most important cultural institutions in the world. Students will read and discuss current literature on a variety of topics relevant to the ILS in the region. Guest speakers will lend an on-the-ground perspective to help explore the historical, cultural and geopolitical context of MENA. The course aims to broaden the perspective of students and help them to develop cultural competency related to this vibrant and dynamic are of the world. The course will be led by doctoral fellows in the ELIME-21 program at SILS(Moran) 

INLS 890-162: Digital Humanities: Explorations and Experimentation (Marciano)
In this interdisciplinary graduate seminar, we will explore concepts and case studies in the digital humanities and experiment with software and tools. 
INLS 890-190: Experimental Information Retrieval (Arguello)

Information Retrieval (IR) is a broad field, encompassing a wide-range of information-seeking tasks, such as web search, patent search, medical record search, and micro-blog search.  While the underlying goal is similar (i.e., to retrieve relevant or useful content in response to an information request), different tasks require different solutions and methods of evaluation.  This course takes an in-depth look at experimental IR systems that focus on different tasks and are evaluated in community-wide evaluation forums such as TREC and INEX.

INLS 890-215W: Leadership (Lowry, 1.5 credits) Class meets March 3-May 6 

The student will gain insight into the nature of leadership and its organizational impact. A major goal is to begin to understand personal interest in leadership roles for library and information agencies through examining the origins of leadership theory from classi models arising in political and military practice to modern research revealing how leadership emerges in the larger cultural context. This course will be taught synchronously over Skype video, with students meeting at SILS. Professor Lowry will physically join the class at SILS at least twice during the semester, first on March 3.




The objective of this course is to enhance our conceptual and empirical understanding of the interaction between the new media ecology and social change. We will explore various approaches to studying social movements and social change and look at specific cases.

Governments and powerful institutions are also responding to the challenge posed by the emergence of the Internet as a mundane and global technology. From increased surveillance and filtering capacity, to delivering propaganda over the Internet to their own, from “hacking” of dissident websites to sophisticated methods of censorship, governments around the world are broadening their repertoire of social, technical and legal tools for control and suppression of --and through-- the Internet.

We will explore the integration of new media tools within these movements as well governmental and institutional responses to these developments. We will also discuss the rapidly changing and contested terrain for shaping the infrastructure of global connectivity. Materials for this class will include readings, videos (not to be viewed in class but as material to be viewed), and a variety of visiting speakers (both in person and via Skype).

An introduction to financial management principles and practices intended for information professionals working in all types of organizations. Topics include accounting, auditing, budgeting, fundraising (private, crowdsourcing, grant) and understanding sources and uses of funds based on their type. A focus is placed on teaching students how to successfully advocate for needed funding based on a strategic and well communicated financial plan aligned with organizational goals.