Course Information

IST 538 / 3 Credits / Spring 2014

Thursdays 1:15 – 4:05 PM

Husted Hall Room 004

Instructor Information

Instructor: Mark Wolfe

Office: SL 355

Office Hours: By appointment

Phone: (518) 437-3934



Goldberg Text XML: Visual QuickStart Guide (2nd Edition)
by Kevin Howard Goldberg
Peachpit Press, 2008
[available in University Bookstore]



This course introduces students to Extensible Markup Language or XML. Topics will include: separation of digital content from presentation; markup standards for XML documents; XML technologies such as DTD, Schema, Schematron, RELAX NG, XSLT, and XPath. For the final project, an archival finding aid will be marked up using a professional encoding standard, which will reinforce fundamental concepts and principles of XML.


Upon completion of this course, students will:
  1. demonstrate a foundational understanding of XML and related technologies.
  2. be able to create XML documents, style sheets, and schema.
  3. be able to employ XML in a real life context.
  4. understand the relevance XML has for libraries, archives, and affiliated information professions.


  • In-class participation & exercises...10%
  • 4 Homeworks...40%
  • 2 Tests...30%
  • 1 Final Project...20%

Required Software

We will use Notepad++ to create and edit XML documents. The version installed on all University ITS computers features the plugin called XML Tools to enhance our productivity when working with XML documents. Students are welcome to install Notepad++ with XML Tools on their personal computers. Students who want to work on Macintosh computers might consider using JEdit, which is a comparable editing program and freely available. Here is a list of other XML editing applications.


The textbook readings present technical aspects of XML. The majority of the supplementary readings explore topical issues related to XML and the information professions. Bring the textbook to every class meeting. Complete assigned readings before class. Class lectures are delivered with the assumption that you have completed the assigned readings. While the textbook chapters are short, they may require multiple readings in order to make sense of the concepts and technologies. You will increase the speed in which you master the material by working through the textbook examples using your XML editor before each class meeting. Rather than entering all of the examples from the textbook by hand, you may download them from the author's website.

In-class participation & exercises

The success of this class will be greatly enhanced by active participation from all students. Questions, comments, and useful information for fellow students and the instructor are welcome. Students are encouraged (but not required) to work in groups for in-class exercises; groups of two or three usually work the best.

Homeworks & Final Project

To excel in this class, students must demonstrate the ability to use various XML related technologies in four homework assignments and a final project assignment. Hand in assignments on time! Students who fall behind will most likely suffer on the following assignments and tests, and ultimately their final grade.

Submission Process

Submit all assignments as an attachment in an email. Homework submissions and questions to the instructor should include a subject heading like the following, "IST 538 / Homework 1 submission" or "IST 538 / Homework 1 question." The majority of the assignments must be submitted as an archived file using the .zip format so as not to be deemed a virus by Outlook.

Academic Integrity

The class follows the University's policy on Academic Integrity.

Valid XHTML 1.1

Course Schedule

(subject to change)

Week 1:      January 23  Course Introduction and XML Syntax (Part 1)


In-class Excercise:  

  • Baseball game box score .jpg completed .xml
  • How to read a box score.jpg

Week 2:     January 30   XML (Part 2)


Sample files:  

In-class Excercise:  

  • Overview of Notepad++

Week 3:    February 6    DTDs (Part 1)

Assignment 1   DUE



Sample files:  

In-class Excercise:  

Week 4:    February 13    DTDs (Part 2) **Snow Day**



February 20   Classes Suspended

Week 5:    February 27    Schema (Part 1)

Assignment 2   DUE (**March 6th**)


In-class Excercise:  

Week 6:    March 6   Schema (Part 2)


  • Chapter 11 (Goldberg)
  • XML Schema Part II notes: .pdf

Week 7:   March 13  Encoded Archival Description (Guest Lecture) 

Assignment 3   DUE


March 20   Classes Suspended

Week 8:    March 27   Open/Linked Data & RELAX NG & Schematron

Test 1


Week 9:    April 3  XSLT


  • Chapter 2 (Goldberg)
In-class Excercise:  

Week 10:    April 10   XPath


  • Chapter 3 & 4 (Goldberg)
  • Chapter 9 in XML in Nutshell by Rusty Harold and W. Scott Means

Week 11:    April 17   Namespaces


In-class Excercise and video:  

   April 24  No Class Meeting
Assignment 4   DUE

Week 12:    May 1    In-class Review & work on Final Project

Week 13:    May 8  

Test 2
Final Project    DUE