L577: Design of Information Systems Syllabus

Fall 2001 Room: L031     Time: 1:00-3:45 PM, T
Instructors: Uta Priss upriss@indiana.edu Office: 029@SlIS 812 855 2793 Hours: 3:00-4:00 PM M and by appt. (Priss)

Howard Rosenbaum hrosenba@indiana.edu 023@SliS 812 855 3250 2:00-4:00 PM M, W (Rosenbaum)

Use this table to move through the syllabus:

Introduction Course Objectives Course Requirements Other Information Assignments
Grading Required Texts Topic Outline Assignments/Due Dates (short)

Use this link to return to the main syllabus page

Intro graphic


The class will focus on information architecture and project management in the design and management of complex web sites. This course builds on L571: Informaiton Architecture for the Web, and addresses aspects of large-scale web design and management that are not covered in that class.

The main texts will be Rosenfeld and Morevilles' Information architecture for the web: Designing large-scale web sites and Burdman's Collaborative web development: Strategies and best practices for web teams. The readings from these texts will be supplemented with additional readings, many of which will be available on the web. In addition, there will be presentations from several information architects and project managers who have worked on teams developing complex web sites.

On the first day of class, students will be divided into teams. Each team will then spend the semester studying a complex web site in a local organization. This project has four components. First, teams will conduct an inventory of the site, describing the hardware and software that are used to develop and maintain the site.

Second, teams will conduct a socio-technical analysis of the site. This will involve determining the context and purposes of the web site in the organization. Through interviews with people in the organization and observation of the site, teams will learn about the site. They will learn about the roles the site is intended to play in the organization, They will ascertain who the major stakeholders are in the organization and the goals that they have for the site. They will describe the work flow involved in maintaining the site focusing on the main tasks of the people who are responsible for site design and development.

Third, teams will describe the current information architecture of the site, focusing on its high level structure. This will involve a description of the organization of the site's content, labeling system, navigation scheme, and other functions.

Fourth, teams will develop a realistic project plan for redesign of a portion of the site or the design of a new section. This will be a realistic plan that will contain a well-thought out and appropriate set of steps to be taken by the organization. This will involve consideration of the changes that would improve the structure and functions of the site. The team will also consider and account for the financial, technical and personnel requirements necessary to carry out the plan. To do this, teams may consider redefining the organization's goals for the site or its audience, changing the hardware and/or software configurations, changing the workflow and job responsibilities, or perhaps redesigning the information architecture.

In each stage, team members visit and interview the people working on the site. In addition to the description of the current state of affairs, teams make recommendations for improvement. Each section leads to a chapter in the final design and development report that is turned in as the final project and delivered to the client. This project is completed when the planning document is delivered to us. Teams are not responsible for implementing the plan, although they may wish to develop prototypes to illustrate what they have proposed in the plan.

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Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you will be:

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This course is intended to accommodate students of many different backgrounds, and is not restricted to students in the School of Library and Information Science. However, as this class makes extensive use of the Internet and World Wide Web, students enrolling in this course should have a strong familiarity with the use of the Internet and World Wide Web, and should be comfortable working with HTML for web page design. SLIS students should have takenL571 or L548 before enrolling in this course.

If you have a question about whether or not your computing background is sufficient, please ask us and we'll tell you.

Course Requirements

This course is run as a seminar, which means that the success or failure of the class depends, to a great extent, on your participation throughout the semester. The class will not be run in a lecture format after the first class and will thereafter involve discussions and active interchanges among the people in the class. This means that you have a greater responsibility to take control of your own education, both in and outside of class. In class, you should be prepared to discuss the topics that are scheduled for each afternoon. Outside of class, you should make the time to read and think about the material placed on reserve.

Although the syllabus follows a predetermined schedule, the seminar format provides a degree of flexibility that will allow the class to spend more time on those topics that are capturing our interest. The course content can therefore evolve as we begin to explore information architecture, project management and related issues.

To receive a passing grade in this course, you must turn in all of the assignments and the term project and do your presentation. You cannot pass this course without doing all of the assigned work, however, turning in all of the work is not a guarantee that you will pass the course.

Grades of <I> (Incomplete) may be assigned in this course after discussion with the instructor, but, depending on the circumstances, there will be a penalty applied at the discretion of the instructors.

All papers and assignments must be submitted on the dates specified in this syllabus. If you cannot submit an assignment or cannot deliver a presentation on the date it is due, it is your responsibility to discuss your situation with the instructor, preferably in advance. Given that your reasons or problems are legitimate, arrangements for the completion of the outstanding work can be made; this will occur, however, at the discretion of the instructor. There will be a penalty for work turned in after the assigned date, and this will also be applied at the discretion of the instructors.

Your written, web-based, and oral work will be evaluated according to four criteria; it must:

Borderline grades will be decided (up or down) on the basis of class contributions and participation throughout the semester.

Indiana University and School of Library and Information Science policies on academic dishonesty will be followed. Students found to be engaging in plagiarism, cheating, and other types of dishonesty will receive an F for the course. As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, cite the source!

The following definitions of letter grades have been defined by student and faculty members of the Committee on Improvement of Instruction and have been approved by the faculty (November 11,1996) as an aid in evaluation of academic performance and to assist students by giving them an understanding of the grading standards of the School of Library and Information Science:

Grade GPA Meaning
A 4.0 Outstanding achievement. Student performance demonstrates full command of he course materials and evinces a high level of originality and/or creativity that far surpasses course expectations
A- 3.7 Excellent achievement. Student performance demonstrates thorough knowledge of the course materials and exceeds course expectations by completing all requirements in a superior manner
B+ 3.3 Very good work. Student performance demonstrates above-average comprehension of the course materials and exceeds course expectations on all tasks as defined in the course syllabus
B 3.0 Good work. Student performance meets designated course expectations, demonstrates understanding of the course materials and is at an acceptable level
B- 2.7 Marginal work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete understanding of course materials.
Unsatisfactory work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete and inadequate understanding of course materials
Unacceptable work. Course work performed at this level will not count toward the MLS or MIS degree. For the course to count towards the degree, the student must repeat the course with a passing grade.
F 0.0 Failing. Student may continue in program only with permission of the Dean.

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Other important information

There are three ways you can get in touch with us outside of class:

  1. Dr. Priss' office is Room 029 in the School of Library and Information Science, Bloomington campus, and her office hours are 3:00 - 4:00 PM, Monday and by appointment.

    Dr. Rosenbaum's office is Room 033 in the School of Library and Information Science, Bloomington campus, and his office hours are 2:00-4:00 PM, Monday and Wednesday. He can also meet with you by appointment if these hours are not convenient.

  2. Dr. Priss' phone number at SLIS is 812-855-2793. Dr. Rosenbaum's phone number at SLIS is 812-855-3250. We have voice mail, so you can always leave us a message.

  3. Dr. Priss' email address is upriss@indiana.edu. Dr. Rosenbaum's email address is hrosenba@indiana.edu. We check our mail at least twice daily and will respond to messages when we read them. This is a good way to for you to communicate with us privately - email messages do not often get lost!

  4. There is also a way for you to communicate with everyone else in the class, including us. There is a mailing list, called hrosenba_infodesign, to which we are all subscribed.

    By sending an email message to hrosenba_infodesign@indiana.edu, you can communicate with everyone else simultaneously.

    We will use the mailing list to send messages to the class; typically, these will be clarifications of questions about assignments and other important information, such as when we must alter or cancel office hours. We will also send interesting postings that cross our desktops from time to time. You can use the list to ask questions of your colleagues as the semester progresses.

We suggest that you check your e-mail every day!

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Select any of the topics here
for a detailed description of the assignment --->
Hardware/software inventory Sociotechnical analysis Information architecture
Redesign plan Presentation Reflection and critique

You will have six assignments in this class. The group project is divided into four smaller assignments. These four assignments are necessary steps in completing the final project. Two of the assignments you do on your own. These assignments are described below, and will be discussed in greater detail in class.

For this class, you will:


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Select a topic from the syllabus in which you have interest and prepare a 15-minute presentation that you will deliver on the date when that topic is being discussed in class. You will investigate this topic in some depth and be prepared to lead a discussion in class.

Your presentation will be web-based, using web pages, Powerpoint saved as HTML or some other appropriate presentation software. When you present, you may also use notes, an outline, and any supporting materials. When you lead the discussion, you should be prepared to talk about the topic and the readings, raising questions that will serve as the basis for our discussion. We will arrange to have a computer and projector available in class; if you need any other technology for your presentation, let us know and we will arrange to have them in the class for your session.

You will also write a 5-7 page essay on the topic that you will submit to us on the day that you present in class. This essay can be used as the basis for your presentation.

There are two tasks you have to prepare the class for your presentation. First, you will provide us with at least two print or web-based readings that you want the class to read in advance of the discussion. No later than three days before you are scheduled to lead the discussion, you will provide one of us with paper or digital copies of the readings. We will make copies of any readings, place them on reserve in the SLIS Library, and alert the class that the readings are available by posting messages to the class list. If you want to use web sites, please post the URLs to the class list at least three days before the class.

Second, to seed the discussion, you will prepare three general discussion questions that are based on the readings or web pages that you have selected and post them to the class list hrosenba_infodesign@indiana.edu no later than three days in advance of the class discussion you lead.

After the class, you will submit the URL of your presentation and your written essay to us.

You complete this assignment by providing us with readings, preparing the discussion questions and posting them on the class list, preparing your online presentation, showing up in class, leading the discussion, and turning in your essay and any other supporting materials.

You will sign up for topics on September 4. We plan to have two presentations in each class between September 25 and November 27. This assignment is worth 25 points apportioned as follows: in class presentation 5 points; essay and supporting materials - 10 points, online presentation materials - 10 points.

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This table shows the assignments you have to do and the number of points wach is worth towards the final grade.

Assignment Number of Points
Hardware/software inventory 5 points
Analysis of socio-technical context 15 points
Analysis of information architecture 15 points
Redesign/prototyping plan
Planning document
30 points
20 points
10 points
Individual presentation
Essay and materials
Online presentation
25 points
5 points
10 points
10 points
Individual reflection essay 5 points
Class participation 5 points


There is a small portion of the overall grade that has been allocated for class participation. For the purposes of this class, participation is defined as contributing to class discussion or demonstrating in other ways that you are making an effort to succeed in this class. In addition, as a professional, you will be expected to articulate your ideas in both written and oral form, therefore it is important that you think critically and present your ideas throughout the duration of the class.

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Required texts

There are two required texts for this class.

Burdman, J. (1999).Collaborative web development: Strategies and best practices for web teams. Boston: Addison-Wesley.

Rosenfeld, P. and Moreviille, P. (1998). Information architecture for the web: Designing large-scale web sites. Sebastapol, CA: O'Reilly.

Other readings will be available on the web or in the SLIS Library.

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Topic Outline, Reading Schedule and Assignment Due Dates

  • the topics that will be covered;

  • the readings that have been assigned;
  • the assignments that will be discussed; and

  • the assignments that are due in that class.

schedule of classes

Select any date
to see readings,
and due dates
August 28 September 4 September 11 September 18
September 25 October 2 October 9 October 16
October23 October 30 November 6 November 13
November 20 November27 December 4

NOTE: The URLs for the readings were last checked on August 27, 2001

August 28

Introduction: Design of information systems


Divide into groups

Discuss group project

Discuss individual presentation

Discuss final reflection essay

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September 4


Rosenfeld and Moreville: Ch. 7

Rettig, M. (2000). Architecture for Use: Ethnography and Information Architecture. Proceedings of the ASIS Summit 2000: Defining Information Architecture. April 8-9, 2000)


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September 11

Understanding the client and the organization


Burdman: Ch. 5, 6

Charlesworth, M. (2000). Site Architecture and Navigation through Research. Web Developer's Journal.


Moreville, P. (2000). Information Architecture and Business Strategy. Argus Center for Information Architecture.


Rettig, M. (2000). Ethnography and Information Architecture. First ASIS&T Meeting on Information Architecture.


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September 18

Project management and information systems


Burdman: Ch. 1, 2, 3

4PM. (2001). Project Management Knowledge Base.


Haggerty, N. (2000). Understanding the link between IT project manager skills and project success research in progress. Proceedings of the 2000 ACM SIGCPR conference. pp 192-195.


Information Systems. (2000). Project Management Resources & Exploration


Madden, J. (1996). One Hundred Rules for NASA Project Managers. NASA.


Morris, B. (2000). Managing Commercial Web Sites. Web Developer's Journal


Project Management Institute. (2001). Home page.


Wideman, M. (2000). First Principles of Project Management. PMForum.org


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September 25

Project management continued


Burdman: Ch. 5

Henniger, S., Lu, C., and Faith, C. (1997). Using organizational learning techniques to develop context-specific usability guidelines. Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques. pp. 129-136.


Lovatt, M. (1997). Herding cats: a case study on the development of Internet and intranet strategies within an engineering organization. Proceedings of the 1997 Conference on Computer Personnel Research. pp. 104-109.


Nielsen, J. (1997). Top Ten Mistakes of Web Management. Useit.com.



Hardware/software inventory due

Be ready to discuss your findings in class

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October 2

Introduction to information architecture


Rosenfeld and Moreville: Ch. 2

Argus Center for Information Architecture. (2001). Home page.


EduCorner. (2000). Introduction to Information Architecture


Sol, S. (2001). What is a Webmaster? Web Developer's Virtual Library.


Shiple, J. (2000). Information Architecture Tutorial. Hotwired.


Wyllys, R.E. (2000). Information Architecture.


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October 9

Technical information architecture


Rosenfeld and Moreville: Ch. 6

Fuccella, J. and Pizzolato, J. (1998). Creating Web Site Designs Based on User Expectations and Feedback. Internetworking: ITG Newsletter (1.1).


Fuccella, J. and Pizzolato, J. (1998). Web Site User Centered Design: Techniques for Gathering Requirements and Tasks. Internetworking: ITG Newsletter (1.1).


Netscape. (2001). Netscape's DevEdge.


Netscape. (2001). Netcraft Web Server Survey.


Zaphiris, P. and Mtei, L. (nd). Depth vs Breadth in the Arrangement of Web Links


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October 16

Content management


Rosenfeld and Moreville: Ch. 3, 4, 5

Fraternali , P. (1999). Tools and approaches for developing data-intensive Web applications: a survey. CM Computing Surveys, 31(3). pp. 227-263.


Indiana University. (2001). Benchmarks for IU web pages.


Richmond, A. (2001). Conceptual Foundations. Web Developer's Virtual Library.


WDVL. (2001). Faceted HyperTrees. The Web Developer's Virtual Library.


Wordspot. (2001). WordSpot: Advanced Keyword Detection Service.


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October 23

Issues in information architecture: accessibility, standards, maintenance


Adaptive Technology Center Indiana University Bloomington. Home page


Seeman, L. (2000). Designing Web Sites to be Disability Friendly. Web Developer's Virtual Library.


Webmonkey. (1999). The Web Accessibility Initiative.


World Wide Web Consortium. (2001). Home page



Sociotechnical analysis of the web site's organizational context

Be ready to discuss your findings in class

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October 30

Planning the redesign project


Rosenfeld and Moreville: Ch. 8, 9

Usability.gov. (2001). Methods for designing usable web sites.


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November 6

Planning the redesign project: software



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November 13

Testing and quality assurance


Burdman: Ch. 7

Boling, E. (1995). Usability Testing for Web Sites Learning for the Global Community. Seventh Annual Hypermedia '95 Conference.


Garzotto, F., Matera, M. and Paolini, P. (1999). Abstract tasks: a tool for the inspection of Web sites and off-line hypermedia. Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia: Returning to our diverse roots. pp. 157-163


Levi, M.D. and Conrad, F.G. (2001). Usability Testing of World Wide Web Sites. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Levi, M.D. and Conrad, F.G. (2001). A Heuristic Evaluation of a World Wide Web Prototype. Interactions Magazine, 3(4), pp. 50-61.


Perlman, G. (nd). Web-Based User Interface Evaluation with Questionnaires.


Vora, P.R. (1998). Design/Methods Tools Designing for the Web: a survey. Interactions Magazine, 5,(3).



Analysis of information architecture due

Be ready to discuss your findings in class

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November 20

Project management: Managing the team


Burdman: Ch. 4, 9

Brown, J., and Dobbie, G. (1999). Supporting and evaluating team dynamics in group projects. pp. 281-285.


Collins, G. (nd). Managing teams


Projectconnections.com. (2000). Skills > People


Whatis.com. (2000). Creating a Web Site: Step 4: Manage teams


Whatis.com. (2000). Creating a Web Site: Step 4: Team communication


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November 27

The semantic web: implications for information architects


Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J.; Lassila, O. (2001). The Semantic Web. Scientific American, 5(1).


Ontology.org. (2001). Ontology: Enabling Virtual Business.


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December 4



Final presentations in class

Final project due

Individual reflection essay due

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Melting watch

Assignments and Due Dates: Short Version

This table shows the assignments you have to do, the dates that they will be discussed in class, other important dates, the percentage of the final grade each is worth, and the dates the assignment are due.

Assignment/Project Value Date Due
Hardware/software inventory 5 points September 25
Discussed in class

August 28
Analysis of socio-technical context 15 points October 23
Discussed in class

August 28
Analysis of information architecture 15 points November 13
Discussed in class

August 28
Redesign/prototyping plan

Planning document

30 points

20 points

10 points

December 4
Discussed in class

August 28
Individual presentation

Sign up


Essays and materials

Online presentation
25 points

5 points

10 points

10 Points


September 4

Discussed in class

August 28
Individual reflection essay 5 points December 4
Discussed in class

August 28
Class participation 5 points

Note that there is a portion of the overall grade that has been allocated for class participation. Participation will be determined in two main ways. One will involve a demonstration of your effort and interest in class. Since this class is run as seminar, participation in this sense is defined primarily as contributing to class discussion, although there are also ways to demonstrate that you are engaged in the class, such as coming by during office hours to discuss your work or ask questions.

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Page by Howard Rosenbaum
Find me at hrosenba@indiana.edu http://www.slis.indiana.edu/hrosenba/www/L577/syll/l577_syll1.html