Information Organization

Information Organization (IO) is concerned with the standards, processes, practices, and associated technologies for representation and organization of information objects for future access, use, and discoverability in any environment. There are a number of career paths within the information organization domain. You can select one or can combine more than one to create your plan of study.

Archival Description  | Cataloging & Metadata  | Indexing & Abstracting  | Metadata Design & Architecture  | Museum Documentation/Cultural Object Cataloging  | Taxonomy/Ontology/Semantic Analysis

Archival Description Professional

Archival description experts are information professionals responsible for capturing, collating, analyzing, and organizing any information that serves to identify, manage, locate, and interpret the holdings of archival institutions and explain the contexts and records systems from which those holdings were selected. Professionals in archival description will be familiar with archival description theory and practices, such as provenance, original order, and hierarchical arrangement and description. They will also be familiar with descriptive standards such as Describing Archives, Encoded Archival Description, and Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families. Additionally, they will also be conversant with related bibliographic and archival standards where applicable, such as Resource Description and Access, MARC, and Dublin Core, and descriptive standards for other types of cultural heritage such as cultural objects, moving image and sound archives, and visual material.

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Archival Description Professional pathway.

Cataloging & Metadata Professional

Information professionals responsible for the representation of resources of all types in libraries, digital libraries, special collections, and other information settings; creation of bibliographic and metadata records, database maintenance; authority work and vocabulary construction; bibliographic and authority data processing, analysis, and visualizations of bibliographic data. Whether cataloging in a library environment or creating metadata in any environment, cataloging and metadata professionals will be familiar with resource description theory and practices, relevant description standards and metadata schemas, such as Resource Description and Access (RDA), Dublin Core, and Visual Resource Association (VRA) Core, and linked data principles. They will be familiar with categorization, classification, and representation theories, knowledge organization systems (KOS) such as classification schemas, subject vocabularies, name authority files, and genre terminology. In addition, they will be familiar with record structures, frameworks, and encoding schemas such as RDF, XML, MARC, and BIBFRAME.

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Cataloging & Metadata Professional pathway.

Indexing & Abstracting Professional

Information professionals responsible for subject representation of textual and non-textual resources, analysis and defining concepts and relationships between concepts, controlled vocabulary construction.

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Indexing & Abstracting Professional pathway.


Metadata Designer and Architect

Information professionals responsible for creating and maintaining the metadata strategy, roadmap, and metadata standards/policies of an institution. These professionals develop the enterprise or academic metadata strategy and architecture and leverage professional standard practices and solutions to develop and implement metadata schemas, ontologies, taxonomies, authority files, and other fundamental metadata artifacts and capabilities. In addition, they implement policies, guidelines, tools, metrics, and standards for creating, managing, integrating, and transforming metadata, define and implement improvements to the metadata strategy, framework, roadmap and solutions, establish and quantitatively improve metadata and information management effectiveness within the institution, based on analyzing and understanding the organization’s goals, business needs, enterprise architecture and current information management solutions.

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Metadata Designer and Architect pathway.


Museum Documentation and Cultural Object Cataloging Professional

Information professionals engaged in describing and documenting works of art, architecture, cultural artifacts, and images of these objects. These professionals are responsible for keeping accurate information about the objects in their care, including items in museum collections, visual resources collections, archives, and libraries with a primary emphasis on cultural objects. Among other things, professionals may be inputting data about new acquisitions, researching images for catalogues, developing online guides, working as museum registrar, or collections manager. Documentation is essential to all aspects of a museums activities. Collections without adequate documentation are not true “museum” collections.

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for Museum Documentation and Cultural Object Cataloging Professional pathway.


Taxonomist / Ontologist / Semantic Analyst

Information professionals who design, create, and maintain specific controlled vocabularies and structured taxonomies used for organizing, indexing, and retrieving information with the goal to significantly improve the findability and search experience of an institution’s external users and the internal community. In addition, they create knowledge graphs and linked metadata schemes, map metadata, work with linked data, mine for data internally and externally, and collaborate with others on semantic technology projects.

For further information on this area, please consult the advising sheet for the Taxonomist/Ontologist/Semantic Analyst pathway.

Faculty Supporting the Information Organization Areas