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.

Spring 2015

Fall 2014

Spring 2015

INLS 089-001 First Year Seminar: Social Movements and New Media (Tufecki)

Movements ranging from uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond to “Occupy” protestors in the United States have been using new media technologies to coordinate, to organize, to intervene in the public sphere as well as to document, share, and shape their own stories. Using a range of tools from Facebook to Twitter, from satellite modems to landlines to ad-hoc mesh networks, these movements have made their mark in history.

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). (3 credits) 

INLS 089-002 First Year Seminar: Smart Cities (Rajasekar/Rademaker) 

A smart city is one where the needs of a populace meet the needs of environmental sustainability. The balance between the social and environmental issues is governed by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that power a smart city infrastructure. In this course, we learn about the influence of urban networks, smart city urban planning, energy as a catalyst of sustainable development, smart city infrastructure, sustainable transportation, flow of information and communications, smart grids, digital infrastructure and the role of data and information technology. We will discuss criteria for measuring the smartness of a city, including quality of life, citizen governance, and discuss issues that go towards the making of a future smart city. Several case studies will be presented with guest lecturers invited to present on critical thinking and practices in smart city development. (3 credits) 

INLS 690-141: History of Information and Communication Technologies (Lee)
Investigates how information and communication technologies evolved and places historical ICT developments within the context of contemporary issues. (1.5 credits)


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: Information Policy (Daniel) 3 credits
Following brief definitions and discussion of the terms policy, policy analysis, and information policy, we’ll explore various information policies we wish to consider during the course. Some candidate issues include intellectual property (copyright, ownership/licensing), Internet access (internet governance, filtering, digital divide), identity in cyberspace (big data and mining, digital presentation, personal information management), privacy (social media, comparison of US vs European practices), security and secrecy (government spying, Freedom of Information Act and uses, denial of service attacks, acceptable use policies), e-government (e-commerce and regulations, shift of methods of citizen access to web), misinformation and disinformation (“truthiness”). We will also examine through case study some nonprofit policy organizations that focus on information policy analysis. The primary assignment for the course will be a policy analysis paper. There is no textbook but students will be expected to read issues of the Journal of Information Policy in addition to other readings as assigned.

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. Preparedness, 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) 1.5 credits meets October 8-December 3
This course presents a practical, minimalistic approach to project management that will provide students with the necessary strategies and skills to effectively manage generic projects.  The course integrates project management theory, based on the Project Management Institute’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), and with exposure to project management best practice through required lectures, readings, case studies, and different organizational perspectives. Assessment, practice and development of project management skills will be accomplished through individual participation in class and individual assignments, and also through team assignments that include the development of written documents, diagrams, presentation and peer evaluations.