INLS 620: Web Information Organization (Fall 2019)

Location: 208 Manning, Tuesday & Thursday 11a-12:30p

Instructor: Patrick Golden


Office hours: By appointment

Last updated Oct. 31


This advanced information organization course focuses on understanding and using the Web as a platform for publishing data. The focus is not on programming Web sites, but on understanding and applying the organizational principles of the Web. Students will develop a deeper understanding of information architecture, not at the level of individual Web sites, but of the Web as a whole.

Evaluation & grading

  1. Eight assignments (10% each)

  2. Final deliverable (15%)

  3. Participation (5%)

Final grades will be assigned according to the following schedule:

For undergraduate students, points will be converted to letter grades as follows:

Honor Code

You are expected to know and respect UNC Honor Code. Collaboration, discussion, and seeking assistance from other students is encouraged in this class and is not inconsistent with the Honor Code. In the case of written work, all words drawn from others must be attributed appropriately.


  1. Uploading a submission to iNaturalist

    Throughout the semester, we will work with the citizen science Web site iNaturalist to track some data being published on the Web. You will begin by submitting three pictures of wildlife by September 5. We will work on submitting our data in class later in the month.

  2. Questions about the Web

    You will receive a document with about a dozen questions about the Web and HTTP. Due September 26.

  3. Writing RDF

    You will write a small linked data file by hand, which will be aggregated into a class-wide graph. We will begin creating our files in class on October 1. Your submission will be due on October 29.

  4. Final project

    As a class, we will create a linked data graph that connects our iNaturalist submissions, which will eventually be ingested by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, to the RDF we wrote in class. You will work in groups to create a graph with at least 10 links connecting our observations to the class graph we created in October. You will present your connecting graphs in class on December 3, and produce a written description of your graph individually to me via email by December 12.


August 20 – Introduction

August 22 – History of the Web

A concise yet thorough history of the origins and development of the Web. Pay particular attention to Appendices C and D, in which Tim Berners-Lee outlines his proposal for the project that would become the Web.

This optional but short excerpt from Tim Berners-Lee’s book explains in his own words how the Web got started.

August 27 – Internet Architecture

August 29 – Internet Architecture (Continued)

Patrick in New Orleans. No class.

September 5

Patrick in New Orleans. No class.

September 12 – HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

September 17 – Web architecture

September 19 – Hypermedia

September 24 - Another hypermedia format: RSS

September 26 – Semantic Web & RDF

Berners-Lee, Tim, James Hendler, and Ora Lassila. “The Semantic Web.” Scientific American, April 2002.

October 1 - RDF & Turtle

October 3 – Data modeling: relational model

Read pages 11–28 of chapter 2, “Modelling” in LDFLAM.

October 8 – Data modeling: meta-markup

No class. Patrick sick

October 10 – Data modeling: graphs / RDF

Read pages 43–52 of chapter 2, “Modelling” in LDFLAM.

To read before this class:

October 15 – Constructing a class graph

October 17

Fall break. No class.

October 22 – Guest speaker: Ryan Shaw

October 24 – XML, JSON, JSON-LD

October 29 – JSON-LD (cont.), Identifiers

October 31

No class. Patrick sick


November 5 – SPARQL

November 7 – Authorities

November 12 – (Non-linked) data on the Web

November 14 – Web applications (Servers)

November 19 – Web applications (Clients)

November 21

Thanksgiving break. No class.

November 26 – Web security I

November 28 – Web security II

December 3 – Presentations

December 12

Final deliverables due