Foundations of Information Science

UNC School of Information and Library Science, INLS 201, Fall 2016


Throughout the semester (approximately once every two weeks, or slightly less often) I will give you “probe” questions to answer online before coming to class. These questions will “probe” your understanding of the material you’ve just read. They serve 2 purposes:

  1. They show me that you’ve done the reading, and
  2. they highlight areas that you may be having trouble with, so I can spend more time on them in class.

Because the probes will involve concepts that we have not yet discussed, you will be graded mainly on the level of effort you put into trying to answer, rather than the correctness of your answer (and some questions may not have a clear correct answer anyway). So:

  • If you don’t answer the probe at all, you get zero points.
  • If you try to answer the probe, but make no reference to the readings or anything else we’ve covered in class, you get one point.
  • If you answer the probe and refer to concepts from the readings or from class, but use them incorrectly or don’t fully answer the question, you get two points.
  • If you answer the probe completely and correctly, making reference to the readings, class notes, or outside materials, you get the full three points.

The questions will be posted 24 hours before they are due, and they will be due at 12:30PM, 1.5 hours before we meet.

Information Diary

Due August 30.

For one day (any day prior to August 30), try to keep an “information diary.” Every time you notice yourself

  • searching or browsing for information,
  • browsing for information,
  • giving information,
  • receiving information, or
  • using information,

write down some notes about it. Your notes don’t need to say what the information actually was, they just need to describe what happened in general terms: for example, “filled out a paper form that had checkboxes,” or “typed search terms into Google.” You don’t need to make multiple notes for things you did multiple times—you don’t need a note for every time you typed search terms into Google—but you might try to include an estimate how many times you did it that day. (But don’t write all your notes at the end of the day, trying to remember them; instead, write down things as they happen.)

If you record your notes electronically, then email them to me; if you record them on paper, take a photo of them and email them to me. Be sure to email them to me before noon on August 30.

Do not email me asking, “What counts as information?” Try to decide that for yourself.

Probe #1: Levels of categorization

Due September 15.

Final Exam

Due December 13.

The final exam is due 24 hours after you download it, or by the end on Tuesday, December 13, whichever comes first. Note that when you download the exam, the download time is recorded, so it is easy to check whether you have kept the exam longer than 24 hours. So don’t download it until you are ready to start working on it!

Download the exam as a Word file. Don’t forget to put your name in the header. After completing the exam, you may email it to me or zip it and submit it via the link below. If you submit via the link below, make sure to compress the Word file before you submit it.

Submit this assignment.