[an error occurred while processing this directive]

FIT3125 Information organisation - Semester 2 , 2008

PDF unit guide

Download PDF version Download the unit guide in PDF

Unit leader :

Kerry Tanner

Lecturer(s) :


  • Kerry Tanner

Tutors(s) :


  • Rebecca French


Welcome to FIT3125 Information Organisation for Semester 2, 2008. This 6 point unit is an elective in the BITS (IM) major. It is a required unit for those who wish to gain ALIA recognition as a library/information professional.

FIT3125 develops understanding of the fundamental principles, concepts and standards that guide the development of information organisation and retrieval systems and web-based information architectures.

Unit synopsis

ASCED Discipline Group classification: 091301 Librarianship and Information Management

This unit develops understanding of the fundamental principles, concepts and standards that guide the development of information organisation and retrieval systems and web-based information architectures. It deals with standards governing description, distribution and access to information locally and globally--cataloguing, indexing, thesaurus construction, classification and metadata for knowledge discovery. It examines the effects of economic, social and technological factors on the development of bibliographic networks and cataloguing operations. Practical sessions deal with the use of major bibliographic tools, schemes and systems for information organisation.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

At the conclusion of FIT3125, students will:

  • Understand the key principles, concepts and standards that guide the development of information organisation and retrieval systems and web-based information architectures;
  • Have skills in applying standard cataloguing, classification, indexing, thesaurus construction, and knowledge discovery metadata schemes and tools;
  • Have developed experience in interacting with selected bibliographic utilities/ networks, and in using bibliographic software; and
  • Be able to develop systems for organising information and facilitating access to information resources in physical collections or digital/web-based repositories.
  • Workload

    This is a 6-point unit which, according to University guidelines, requires you to spend 12 hours per week (a total of at least 156 hours per semester).

    For on campus students, typical weekly workload commitments are:
    • 2 hours lecture
    • 2 hours tutorial/laboratory (requiring advance preparation)
    • 5 hours of practical work and assignment preparation
    • 3 hours of assigned reading and reviewing weekly class materials.

    Off-campus students generally do not attend lecture and tutorial sessions, however, should plan to spend equivalent time working through the relevant resources and participating in discussion groups/ other designated activities each week. 

    Unit relationships


    There are no prerequisites for this unit.


    FIT3125 is an elective in the BITS (IM) major. It is a required unit for those who wish to gain ALIA recognition as a library/information professional.

    There are no prerequisites for this unit.

    You may not study this unit and IMS3617, LAR3651, LAR4651 or IMS5017 in your degree.

    Continuous improvement

    Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

    One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

    Student Evaluations

    The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the my.monash portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

    If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

    Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

    Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the my.monash portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

    Unit staff - contact details

    Unit leader

    Dr Kerry Tanner
    Senior Lecturer
    Phone +61 3 990 32626

    Lecturer(s) :

    Dr Kerry Tanner
    Senior Lecturer
    Phone +61 3 990 32626

    Contact hours : Monday 3-6 pm; Thursday 2-4 pm or email for an appointment

    Tutor(s) :

    Ms Rebecca French

    Teaching and learning method

    Delivery of the unit involves two hours of lectures per week, covering the theory and practice of information organisation, and a two-hour tutorial/lab session where students undertake practical exercises. 

    Off campus students can access the lecture audio via Monash University Lectures Online (MULO), and will have special weekly activities and interactive sessions in lieu of the on campus tutorials.

    Each week there will be practical activities assigned as 'homework'. These are regarded as 'hurdle' exercises, which will be marked in the following week's tutorial/lab sessions. It is essential that you keep up to date with this work.

    In addition to these exercises, there are three assessed exercises and a final exam (see details under Assessment). 

    Timetable information

    For information on timetabling for on-campus classes at all Australian campuses please refer to MUTTS, http://mutts.monash.edu.au/MUTTS/

    Lecture: Wednesday 4-6 pm, Caulfield

    Tutorial allocation

    On-campus students should register for tutorials/laboratories using Allocate+.

    Off-campus distributed learning or flexible delivery

    Off campus students can access all unit, lecture and tutorial materials via the unit Blackboard website (access via MyMonash portal). Lectures are audio-recorded via Monash University Lectures Online (MULO):  http://www.mulo.monash.edu.au/fit5106/

    Communication, participation and feedback

    Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Unit Schedule

    Week Topic Study guide Key dates
    1 Unit overview. Definitions and introductory concepts; the need for standards. Overview of subject access to information resources No tutorial/lab sessions in Week 1  
    2 Lecture: The power of categories; indexing theory; thesaurus construction Tutorial: Thesaurus construction  
    3 Lecture: Thesaurus construction. Alphabetic lists of subject headings: Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and other lists Tutorial: Thesaurus construction  
    4 Lecture: Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Classification overview; Introduction to Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) Tutorial: Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)  
    5 Lecture: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) Tutorial: Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) Assignment 1 Thesaurus component due on Wed. 13 Aug, 5 pm
    6 Lecture: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). Information Architecture Tutorial: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)  
    7 Lecture: Information architecture Tutorial: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)  
    8 Lecture: Information architecture Tutorial: Information architecture exercise  
    9 Lecture: Resource description and access: AACR and RDA. Rules for describing information resources Tutorial: Information architecture presentations. Metadata examples Hard copy of Assignment 2 due by Friday, 12 Sept, 5 pm
    10 Lecture: Rules for describing information resources. MARC records Tutorial: Describing information resources and MARC exercises  
    11 Lecture: Rules for selecting access points; authority files Tutorial: Describing information resources and MARC exercises. Selecting access points and authority files exercises  
    Mid semester break
    12 Lecture: Managing information organisation processes (workflows; insourcing and outsourcing; the role of networks; economic considerations). Tutorial: Selecting access points and authority files exercises Assignment 3 due by Friday, 10 Oct., 5 pm
    13 Lecture: Unit Review. Revision and Guidelines for exam preparation Tutorial: Revision and exam preparation Semester ends Friday 17 Oct

    Unit Resources

    Prescribed text(s) and readings

     Hider, Philip, with Harvey, Ross. (2008). Organising knowledge in a global society. Rev. ed. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. ISBN 978 1876938 67 3.

    OR the earlier (2004) edition: 

    Harvey, R. and Hider, P. (2004). Organising knowledge in a global society: Principles and practice in libraries and information centres. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

    Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

    Recommended text(s) and readings

    Students will be given access to online resources including the Library of Congress's The Cataloger's Desktop and Classification Web, and to WebDewey. Access to other resources will be provided as needed.

    Kennedy, J. and Schauder, C. (1998). Records management: A guide to corporate recordkeeping (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Longmans. Chapters 6 and 7.

    Required software and/or hardware

    At a minimum, you must have access to a personal computer, the Internet, and recent Java software for accessing our unit's Blackboard site. Your computer must also be able to access to Monash Lectures Online (MULO) and other audio resources such as .mp3 files.

    Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the Faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 8 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

    Study resources

    Study resources we will provide for your study are:

    It is essential for all students to have access to the relevant textbooks and software.
    • You will need to obtain a copy of the Hider with Harvey/ Harvey & Hider text.
    • We provide access to online versions of DDC, LCSH, AACR, MARC and other tools, and references to linked web resources.
    • We provide assignment guidelines and weekly class notes (available via links from the Unit Blackboard website)

    Library access

    The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

    Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

    All unit and lecture materials are available through MUSO (Monash University Studies Online). Blackboard is the primary application used to deliver your unit resources. Some units will be piloted in Moodle. If your unit is piloted in Moodle, you will see a link from your Blackboard unit to Moodle (http://moodle.monash.edu.au) and can bookmark this link to access directly. In Moodle, from the Faculty of Information Technology category, click on the link for your unit.

    You can access MUSO and Blackboard via the portal: http://my.monash.edu.au

    Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then Blackboard under the MUSO learning systems.

    In order for your Blackboard unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

    For example:

    • Blackboard supported browser
    • Supported Java runtime environment

    For more information, please visit: http://www.monash.edu.au/muso/support/students/downloadables-student.html

    You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

    For further contact information including operational hours, please visit: http://www.monash.edu.au/muso/support/students/contact.html

    Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site: http://www.monash.edu.au/muso/support/index.html


    Unit assessment policy

    To pass this unit, a student must obtain :

    * 40% or more in the unit's examination and
    * 40% or more in the unit's non-examination assessment
    * an overall unit mark of 50% or more

    If a student does not achieve 40% or more in the unit examination or the unit non-examination assessment then a mark of no greater than 44-N will be recorded for the unit.

    Assignment tasks

    • Assignment Task

      Title : Assignment 1: Providing subject access to information resources--Thesaurus construction, LCSH and DDC

      Description :

      This assignment requires that you devise a small thesaurus for a topic area of your choice, and subsequently for you to assign LCSH subject headings and DDC classification numbers for a set of topics from the same subject field/topic area.

      Weighting : 20%

      Criteria for assessment :

      Advised in separate assignment handouts.

      Due date : Thesaurus component due on Wed. 13 Aug, 5 pm; LCSH and DDC components due on on Friday, 29 Aug., 5 pm

    • Assignment Task

      Title : Assignment 2: Information Architecture

      Description :

      This assignment can be taken either in a small group, or individually. It explores an information architecture related topic of your choice. It involves a presentation in class as well as a hard copy version of the presentation. Alternative guidelines will be provided for off campus students.

      Weighting : 15%

      Criteria for assessment :

      Advised in separate assignment handouts

      Due date : Presentations in Week 9 tutorials. Hard copy of Assignment 2 due by Friday, 12 Sept, 5 pm.

    • Assignment Task

      Title : Assignment 3: Describing information resources

      Description :

      This assignment covers the area of description of information resources and selection of access points for those resources.  (Using RDA/AACR and MARC).

      Weighting : 15%

      Criteria for assessment :

      Advised in separate assignment handouts.

      Due date : Assignment 3 due by Friday, 10 Oct., 5 pm


    • Examination

      Weighting : 50%

      Length : 3 hours

      Type ( open/closed book ) : Closed book

    Assignment submission

    For on campus students, assignments are to be submitted by paper submission by the due date. (They may be handed to your tutor in tutorials, or placed in your tutor's pigeonhole/mailbox).

    Off campus students may either submit their assignments via the Blackboard assignment submission facility, or post or email them to their tutor so that they are received by the due date.  All students must ensure that the appropriate cover sheet is correctly filled out/ signed and attached to the front of their assignment.

    Assignment coversheets

    Assignment coversheets can be found:

    * via the "Student assignment coversheets" http://infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/assignments/ page on the faculty website
    * if you submit your assignment electronically online via MUSO/Blackboard, a coversheet is provided within that system.

    University and Faculty policy on assessment

    Due dates and extensions

    The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

    Requests for extensions must be made to the unit lecturer at your campus at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

    Late assignment

    Assignments received after the due date, without a prior extension being granted, will be subject to a penalty of 20% of the marks allocated for the assignment, per week overdue.

    Return dates

    Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

    Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/assessment/

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.  Assignments for on campus students will be handed back in tutorials. Off campus student assignments will either be posted back or marked within the MUSO/Blackboard environment.

    Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.

    Register of counselling about plagiarism

    The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

    Non-discriminatory language

    The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

    Students with disabilities

    Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

    Deferred assessment and special consideration

    Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.