Online MLIS Curriculum

The online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program curriculum is designed to prepare you to use 21st-century data management technologies to improve and advance your community or organization. In order to achieve this, courses in the program focus on evaluation and management of information, cross-disciplinary learning and hands-on experience.

As a student in the program, you will complete 19 courses or 58 quarter credit hours, including core courses, elective courses and your choice of one culminating experience—either a capstone project or internship. An optional archiving focus is also available.

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Course Highlights

Review a list of featured courses to better understand the breadth of subject matter covered by the curriculum.

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Foundational Core Courses

Gain a solid understanding of the basic concepts, theories and applications of library and information science.

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Elective Courses

Customize your curriculum with elective courses that match your professional goals and career ambitions. 

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Culminating Experiences

Integrate and synthesize what you’ve learned by applying that knowledge through an immersive, hands-on learning experience.

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“Good courses and the opportunity for live class-session discussions that allow us to delve into the readings and ask questions has really prepared me to be an information leader in my community.

I feel prepared because classes have covered content from foundation courses to intricate questions of diversity, privilege and equity while exploring ideas like public library practice, management and leadership, information literacy and the ever-important digital information ideas.”

—Alyssa Brillante, MLIS@Denver Student

Course Highlights

Career Development | LIS 4610

Explore the many different types of jobs and careers—both traditional and nontraditional—that are available to individuals with library-related skills.

Privilege and Equity | LIS 4005

Examine societal privileges and how they affect equity in information access and dissemination. Race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and education will be analyzed.

Public Libraries | LIS 4702

Gain an overview of public libraries in the United States. Public services and advocacy will be covered, along with the government structures that impact the work of public libraries.

Digital Libraries | LIS 4810

Develop an understanding of digital library components, and explore the theoretical and practical approaches to constructing, maintaining and evaluating digital libraries.

Course Descriptions

Foundational Core Courses

LIS 4000 Foundations of Library, Archival and Information Science – 3 credits

An overview of the theoretical and conceptual foundations of library, archival and information sciences, and an introduction to the information professions, including their principles, values, professional organizations, publications, and current and future challenges.

LIS 4010 Organization of Information – 3 credits

This course introduces basic concepts in the theoretical, practical and technological aspects of information organization. It provides an overview of the methodologies for organizing and representing information resources in library, archives and museum settings.

LIS 4015 User and Access Services – 3 credits

This course provides an overview of human information processing and user services in the changing information environment and the different communities of practice. The course introduces the concepts of user information needs, seeking and processing as a foundation for understanding users and designing user-centered information services. Students examine both traditional reference and current/emerging information services in different settings and populations. The course will also introduce them to the concepts of information literacy, user education and assessment of information services.

LIS 4040 Management of Information Organizations – 3 credits

This course is an introduction to current theory and practice of management in information organizations. It examines the subject through the study of organizations, communications, decision-making, planning, leadership, human resources and budgeting. Prerequisite: LIS 4000 or instructor approval.

LIS 4050 Library and Information Technologies – 3 credits

This is a foundation course on the applications of information and communications technology in libraries and information agencies. Integrated library systems and the acquisition, evaluation and implementation of library automation solutions, including electronic resource management systems, are explored. The course also introduces database design, internet technology, web services, cloud computing, computer networks, telecommunications and computer security. Hardware, software and other productivity tools and utilities from organizations such as OCLC, Amazon and Google are discussed.

RMS 4900 Educational Research and Measurement

Quantitative research designs, empirical methods of data collection and interpretation, and measurement issues in research are examined.

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Elective Courses

LIS 4320 Outreach – 3 credits

Outreach as a library service is evolving at a rapid pace. This course will examine the history, current practice and future promise of outreach across all kinds of library organizational settings. Topics addressed in this course will include competencies for outreach librarianship; practices in outreach services; definition and scope; planning, designing and budgeting for services; environmental scanning, key performance indicators and barriers; and developing and maintaining partnerships.

LIS 4060 Reference – 3 credits

Information resources include a number of different kinds of reference materials in a wide variety of formats. These include guidebooks, encyclopedias and dictionaries, indexes and abstracts, handbooks, bibliographies, biographical finding tools and biographies, data sets and more. Many of these resources are available online as well as in print and other digital formats. This course will help students identify and evaluate resources for information queries in particular settings. It will also provide students the opportunity to find answers to real research questions. The course will cover the primary resources across the disciplines of business, humanities, sciences, social sciences and government in print and electronic formats. Class exercises will reflect the multidisciplinary and multicultural interests and characteristics of library users. Prerequisite: LIS 4015. Recommended prerequisites: LIS 4000 and LIS 4011.

LIS 4070 Cataloging and Classification – 3 credits

This course covers theory and practice of bibliographic control. This includes the study of representative cataloging using Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2d ed., rev. with amendments and Library of Congress Rule Interpretations, machine-based representation using the USMARC formats and other standards, and subject analysis and classification using Library of Congress Subject Headings, Dewey Decimal Classification and Library of Congress Classification. The course will examine these with a principal focus on monographs, major media, sound recordings and serials. Prerequisite: LIS 4010.

LIS 4011 Information Access and Retrieval – 3 credits

Information retrieval is defined as the process of searching for and retrieving relevant information within a document collection. The document collection could be textual (bibliographic records), structured and unstructured data, library databases, web-based information resources, multimedia resources or numerical data. This course introduces students to important access and retrieval tools and technologies used to retrieve information that is relevant to a user’s information need. In addition to the underlying principles and processes revolving around access and retrieval, such as text operations, indexing, query languages and searching, the course covers topics such as library discovery systems, web-based information retrieval technologies and enterprise search systems.

LIS 4321 Collection Management – 3 credits

Topics addressed in this course include collection development and access policies, selection methods and practices, collection assessment, preservation and conservation, deselection, treatment of rare material, manuscripts and archives, U.S. government publications, nonbook and digital formats management, and juvenile and other special materials.

LIS 4702 Public Libraries – 3 credits

This course provides an overview of public libraries in the United States. Students will gain an appreciation for the complexities of managing public libraries and the differences that exist within the various governance structures. Public services and advocacy will be covered, along with the government structures that impact the work of public libraries. Students will explore practical tools for de-escalation, self-care and community engagement.

LIS 4330 Information Literacy Instruction – 3 credits

This course provides an introduction to the principles of library instruction and information literacy, including a historical overview of their place within the profession. The course focuses on instruction within an academic setting, but students will learn important educational theories that can be applied to a variety of settings. ACRL and AASL standards will be examined as well as types of instruction, instructional design, collaboration with faculty, various competencies, assessment and lifelong learning. The class strongly emphasizes public speaking, communication skills and the practical application of educational theory.

LIS 4206 Web Content Management – 3 credits

This course includes instruction in webpage creation, selection and evaluation of web content, as well as website management. Selection of webpage content will be discussed in the context of organizational knowledge management and competitive intelligence needs. The course explores differences in information needs for provision of public information and competitive intelligence on internet pages versus the organizational information needs of intranets in knowledge management. This course also addresses human-computer interface design that allows webpage designers to create effective webpages according to established principles of design.

LIS 4043 Advocacy and Marketing in LIS – 4 credits

An overview of advocacy and marketing foundations as they relate to libraries. The course examines practical tools and applications of both marketing and advocacy. It helps to distinguish the difference between the two disciplines and when the two should be used together.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Construct an advocacy pitch for a library by identifying audience characteristics and analyzing sociopolitical contextual factors
  2. Compose an op-ed to advocate for a library and its offerings
  3. Propose a marketing plan to raise the profile of a library and its offerings
  4. Differentiate marketing from advocacy and describe areas of difference and overlap

LIS 4810 Digital Libraries – 3 credits

This course provides a theoretical foundation for the study of digital libraries and discusses the technological, organizational, social and legal issues associated with the development and use of digital libraries. Through this course, students develop an understanding of digital library components and explore theoretical and practical approaches to constructing, maintaining and evaluating digital libraries. Topics examined include digital library definitions, design and architecture of digital libraries, information access in the digital library environment, digital library users and user services, data repositories, digital curation, digital preservation, digital library evaluation and digital librarianship.

LIS 4610 Career Development – 3 credits

This course will explore the many different types of jobs and careers open to individuals with library-related skills. It will cover both traditional library jobs, such as law librarianship, archivist work, corporate librarianship, school librarianship and records management, as well as nontraditional career choices, such as information brokerage, publishing and information advising.

LIS 4820 Digitization – 3 credits

The course offers an introduction to issues and trends in planning, developing and managing digitization projects at libraries, archives and museums. The focus of the course is on the conversion process of analog materials into the digital format, online delivery and preservation of master files. The course discusses collection development policy for digital projects, copyright, digital imaging technology, digitization standards and best practices for text, images, audio and video, metadata for cultural heritage collections, delivery platforms, preservation, project management, sustainability, documentation, promotion and evaluation of digital projects.

LIS 4005 Privilege and Equity – 3 credits

This course is a reflection and discussion-guided exploration of various societal privileges and how they affect equity in library, archives and other information professions. The topics of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and education will be considered.

LIS 4005 Privilege and Equity – 3 credits

This course is a reflection and discussion-guided exploration of various societal privileges and how they affect equity in library, archives and other information professions. The topics of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and education will be considered.

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Culminating Experiences

To complete the program, online Master of Library and Information Science students will choose one of two culminating experiences: a capstone project or an internship in or near their communities. 

LIS 4901 Capstone – 3 credits

Students in this course will design and complete a project to demonstrate their ability to integrate and synthesize their master’s coursework and apply their knowledge to a topic. Students in the course meet in a class with an instructor regularly over the nine-week summer quarter. The course instructor will monitor and guide the students to ensure that they complete the phases of the project in accordance with proposed timelines and goals. Evaluation will be based on individual performance, with respect to the quality and professionalism of the research, management of the project, and analysis and writing skills. Prerequisites: a minimum of 45 quarter hours of graduate LIS coursework, including all core courses, a proposal approved by the academic advisor and faculty permission.

LIS 4910 Culminating Internship – 3 credits

The internship course is designed to supplement the knowledge students gain in class by giving them practical experience working in a library or information agency. Various options are available to students depending on their areas of interest. Students can pursue opportunities in the fields of medicine, law and art, or in settings such as public and academic libraries. It is students’ responsibility to select a practicum site and a field supervisor, who must be approved by LIS faculty. The Culminating Internship course requires 100 hours of service over a 10-week quarter. The student, faculty and field supervisor will determine specific requirements for the internship that will inform a final paper or report written by the student. Students must notify an LIS academic advisor that they intend to choose the Culminating Internship option one quarter before enrolling in the course. Prerequisites: completion of a minimum of 38 quarter hours of graduate LIS coursework, including all core courses.

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