IS2000 - Principles of Information Science


Fall 2018

Tu 11:45-1:45
Thu 2:50-4:30

Robinson 411

4 credit hrs

Prof. Timothy Bickmore

(617) 373-5477

Office: 524 ISEC
Office Hours: W 3:30-5



Andrew Carlson

Amrita Suresh



This course is an introduction to Information Science, covering the collection, organization, storage, management, transformation, retrieval and analysis of data and information with appropriate security and privacy, along with samples of current technologies that support these activities. A special focus will be given to the analysis of human Interaction with information, and the design of systems and interfaces that appropriately support these interactions. Ethical and social issues in Information Science will also be discussed.

This is a survey course, providing a very high-level, conceptual introduction to the topics mentioned above. When possible, hands-on experience with example supporting technologies will be provided, including XML (DTDs, XSLT, XPath), relational databases (SQLLite), statistical analysis (R), and user interface prototyping tools, but all at a very introductory level.





Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize the technical, economic, social and ethical issues that arise when working with information.
  • Explain how information can be collected, coded, organized, transmitted, stored, and retrieved.
  • Apply several formal approaches to modeling and organizing information and informed decision making.
  • ​Describe how information is stored in relational and XML databases.
  • Retrieve information from data stores using SQL and XPath.
  • Classify information using ontologies.
  • Construct decision trees and derive the value of information.
  • Visualize and present information.
  • Describe fundamental issues in information privacy and confidentiality, and ethical issues in the use of information.
  • Encode information in XML and transform information using XSLT.
  • Perform basic descriptive and inferential statistics in R.
  • Design and prototype a basic web site.

Required Textbooks


Readings will be provided online.

Course Requirements

This course requires a significant amount of work outside of the classroom. A typical week will consist of:

  • Reading approximately 25 pages from the assigned readings.
  • Writing a 500 word reflection on the readings and material covered in class.
  • Working on an individual homework assignment, possibly encompassing some amount of field work (data collection), analysis and/or report writing.
  • Taking an in-class quiz.
  • Describing and discussing homework results in class.


Short quizzes will be given at the start of most class meetings via Blackboard. You must bring a Blackboard-enabled device to class in order to take the quiz.


Every student must maintain a personal blog that contains a minimum of 10 posts. Each post must be reflective of the material recently discussed in the course and must contain at least one link to an external resource, book, article, blog, vendor, software, or other course related material. A good post should be at least 500 words and be reflective -- do not simply summarize, review, or rehash lecture material.

​The blog posts must be completed each week no later than Sunday at 11:59pm in order to receive credit for the blog post.

Submit the blog link only once at the beginning of the semestter. Be sure to submit the public blog link and make it clickable, i.e., an actual link.


Every student must maintain a personal website that they use to post homework assignments on.


Course grades will be based on the following:

  • Quizzes (20%)
  • Individual homework (50% divided equally among assignments)
  • Blog posts (10%)
  • Final exam (20%) 

Class Format

A typical 100-minute class will consist of:

  1. Quiz 
  2. Review of previous week's assignments, including presentation and discussion by randomly selected students.
  3. Lecture.
  4. In-class activity.
  5. Discussion of next week's assignments.


Course Rules

Academic Honesty. Individual homework assignments must be each student's own work. Plagiarism or cheating will result in official University and CCIS disciplinary review (see below). You may not access any application on your device other than Blackboard during quizzes and the final exam - if you are found to be accessing any other source of information you will receive a zero for the test and be referred for disciplinary review.

Due Dates. Homework due on a given day must be posted to Blackboard by 10am on that day so that it can be reviewed in class. 

Late Homework Assignments. Late homework assignments will not be accepted.

Missed Exams. There are no makeup quizzes, but the lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Normally, failure to take a quiz results in a grade of 0. If the absence is excused due to exceptional circumstances, the quiz grade will be dropped.  There will be no excuses for missing the final other than a serious health emergency.

Etiquette. Please keep all cell phones and other electronic devices turned off during class, with the exception of laptops or tablets for note-taking or test-taking only. If your activities during class are deemed disruptive, you will be asked to leave.

Academic Integrity

The Northeastern University Academic Integrity Policy forbids students from using, or attempting to use, unauthorized materials and forbids unauthorized collaboration.   You should read and understand that policy.  It applies to you as a student of Northeastern University.

Students may not:
  • Give, or send an assignment, lab, quiz or test file to another student or third party.
  • Receive an assignment, lab, quiz or test file from another student or third party.
  • Give access to any resource, such as a computer, flash drive or account, to another student or third party, if access to that resource would also enable access to an assignment, lab, quiz or test file.
  • Accept access to any resource, such as a computer, flash drive or account, from another student or third party, if accepting access would also enable access to an assignment, quiz or test file.
  • Use any resource, such as a computer, flash drive or account, that is shared by multiple users, if using this resource would allow you to access the work of another student, or would allow another student to access your work. (Note: This includes, but is not limited to, use of the computers provided for athletes in Cabot that do not require students to log in with individual personal accounts, or use of computers in fraternities that may not require students to log in with individual personal accounts.)
  • Use assignments, labs, quizzes, or test files received from students in other sections or prior semesters.
All students who are suspected of cheating will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) and the CCIS undergraduate disciplinary committee.  Students who have been referred to OSCCR will be given the opportunity to accept responsibility for their infraction or to request a hearing before a student conduct board.  If a student accepts responsibility for a minimum sanction of deferred suspension will follow. A second violation will meet with expulsion from the University.
  • All students who are caught cheating will receive a 0 for the item on which cheating occurred.
  • All students who are caught cheating will lose 20% off their final grade for the course.

No Excuses will be accepted
If two students submit files, where one file is electronically derived from a copy of the other, or both files are derived from copies of a third, then cheating has taken place. There are no situations where a student is permitted to send his or her files to another student or third party, or to receive a file from another student or third party, or to provide access to another student or third party to one's files, or to accept access to the files of another student or third party.