INFO 220-11
Resources and Information Services in the Disciplines and Professions - Maps and GIS
Spring 2022 Syllabus

Matthew Parsons
Other contact information: 
Office location: online from Seattle, WA [Pacific Time zone]
Office Hours: Virtual office hours. Available by appointment using email.

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available on January 26th at 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Examination of the nature of resources for, and services to, professions and disciplines including methods of communication, characteristics of users, and current methods of meeting research needs in libraries and information centers.

This course is an overview of geospatial resources for, and services to, professions and disciplines. You will get to know the information needs of people who use maps and GIS/geospatial data and the role of map librarians in providing services to these users. Since maps communicate spatial information cartographically, geoliteracy is defined and explored.

The course will be conducted in Canvas. Expectations include: readings from the required textbook, viewing recorded lectures, participating in discussion forums, and completing three project assignments. No prior knowledge of geography or geoscience, in general, is assumed.

Course Requirements


Coursework assignments include three projects and weekly Discussion Forum posting tasks. The projects include conducting fieldwork and written reports. All assignments must be submitted on or before posted due dates. Details are found on the course Canvas site.

  • Project 1: Non-Librarian Users & Uses of Maps & GIS is focused on information-seeking behaviors & supports CLO #1 and CC J. Brief written report.
    Students will recognize characteristics of map & GIS users through informal, peer-to-peer discussion based on assigned readings and lectures; demonstrating competency by:
    • describing users of maps and GIS/geospatial resources
    • describing types and formats of maps and geospatial resources
    • identifying how these maps and geospatial resources are used.
  • Project 2: Duties of Map & Geospatial Librarians is focused on services provided & supports CLO #2 & 3 and CC J. Brief written report.
    Students will hold informal conversations with map/GIS librarians and demonstrate competency by:
    • identifying services provided to help map & GIS users
    • describing resource types and formats available in the library
    • detailing methods used to find and acquire resources.
  • Project 3: Promoting map and GIS services & resources supports CLO #4 and CC H. Final project.
    Students will review the results of earlier projects to design a plan for promoting maps in library settings and demonstrating competency by:
    • creating a guide for highlighting geospatial resources and services at a library OR creating a tutorial with detailed instructions on using maps/GIS or mapping programs.
  •  Discussion Forum Participation/Communication is a weekly commitment & supports  CLO #3 and CC H.
    Students are expected to participate in weekly online discussions. 

Course Calendar

Please note that each class week runs from Monday to Sunday. Discussion Forum posts are due each week by Thursday night. The following schedule is subject to change with fair notice. 

UNIT 1: Maps & GIS Resources – Information Needs of Users
Project 1: Information-seeking Behaviors: Users & Uses of Maps & GIS. Written report due on or before 4/10

Week 1: Welcome & Introduction to the Course

  • Readings – Preface & Chapter 1
  • Online Lecture 1
  • Discussion Forum 1, post by 3/17

Week 2: Defining Concepts - Maps & Geoliteracy

  • Readings - Chapters 2-3
  • Online Lecture 2
  • Discussion Forum 2, post by 3/24

Week 3: Spring Recess/Cesar Chavez Day

Week 4: GIS & Remote Sensing

  • Readings - Chapters 4-5
  • Online Lecture 3
  • Discussion Forum 3, post by 4/7
  • DUE- Project 1: Information-seeking Behaviors: User & Uses of Maps & GIS. Written report due by 4/10

UNIT 2: Map & GIS Librarians - Duties & Services
Project 2:  Duties of Map & Geospatial Librarians. 
Written report due on or before 5/1 

Week 5: Map & Geospatial Librarianship

  • Readings - Chapter 6
  • Online Lecture 4
  • Discussion Forum 4, post by 4/14

Week 6: Navigating Various Cartographic Resources and Materials

  • Readings - Chapter 7
  • Online Lecture 5
  • Discussion Forum 5, post by 4/21

Week 7: Reference Basics

  • Readings - Chapter 8
  • Online Lecture 6
  • Discussion Forum 6, post by 4/28 
  • DUE- Project 2: Duties Map & Geospatial Librarians. Written report due 5/1

UNIT 3: Map Libraries - Analyzing User Experience and Promoting Maps
Project 3: Promoting Map/GIS Services & Resources. Project due on or before 5/16

Week 8: Collections & Classifying/Cataloging

  • Readings - Chapters 9-10
  • Online Lecture 7
  • Discussion Forum 7, post by 5/5

Week 9: Promoting and Preserving Resources and Services

  • Readings - Chapter 11
  • Online Lecture 8
  • Discussion Forum 8, post by 5/12
  • DUE- Project 3: Promoting Map/GIS Services & Resources. Due 5/16

Week 10: Classes End (5/16). Congratulations!


Project 1 25 points
Project 2 25 points
Project 3 25 points
Discussion Forum Participation 25 points
Total 100 points

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 220 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the characteristics of map users and use of cartographic resources and services.
  2. Locate and use cartographic and geospatial information, data resources, and technologies.
  3. Describe the reference services and duties of map and geospatial librarians.
  4. Explain and promote map and GIS tools and resources to users.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 220 supports the following core competencies:

  1. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  2. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.


Required Textbooks:

  • Aber, S. W., & Aber, J. W. (2017). Map librarianship: A guide to geoliteracy, map and GIS resources and services. Elsevier: Chandos Publishing. Available through Amazon: B01N02HY7Xarrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Abresch, J., Hanson, A., & Heron, S. J. (2008). Integrating geographic information systems into library services: A guide for academic libraries. Information Science Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1599047268. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Dodsworth, E. (2013). Getting started with GIS: A LITA guide. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555707750arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Dodsworth, E. H. (2018). A research guide to cartographic resources: Print and electronic sources. Rowman & Littlefield. Available through Amazon: 1538100835arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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