INFO 241-12 (1-Unit)
Automated Library Systems
Topic: Emerging Technologies
Spring 2022 Syllabus

Dr. Timothy J. Dickey
Office Hours: Fridays 10 am Pacific Time, or by appointment. Your email questions about any other course question during the week should be answered within 24 hours.

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 26th, 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.

This one-unit course should be available beginning on April 6. I will send more information about course access as we approach this date. The course runs from April 6th to May 3rd.

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the variety of technology applications available to libraries in the twenty-first century, with a focus on underlying concepts and issues of library technology management. You will learn about the history and current state of integrated library systems, the current and expanding use for libraries of new technology fields such as open-source systems, e-books, and mobile applications, and the potential use in the near future of emerging technologies such as web services, linked data, and embedded computing. Many students will already be familiar with at least one automated library system; the emphasis, therefore, is on new trends and the plethora of alternative technologies now available. Course materials, discussions, and written assignments will center on the practical applications of successful library technologies - how information professionals are already using these tools to meet the 21st-century requirements of their users.

Course Requirements

Weekly Readings
There is no textbook assigned for the course; most readings come from the ALA journal Library Technology Reports, available in full-text via the database: Academic Search Premier that you may access online at the King Library site ( For any other course readings, I will provide a direct link to their location on the library website. Some weeks may include readings or websites to “peruse;” please take all of these reading assignments seriously, as each introduces you to important resources for your written work in this course, as well as your future work in library automation. There will be an asynchronous lecture for most weeks' topics. The weekly readings support all three of the CLO's.

Implementation Report (25%)
Each student will formally but concisely discuss one implementation of an emerging library technology - hardware or software - in the context of a specific library, information center, or other institution. Elements important to the first part of the discussion include, but are not limited to the following: the specific user base being served, the type of resources being managed, history of the specific product and vendor, complete inventory of technologies deployed, pricing model, customization, and any information about the integration and installation process. The second half of the report should offer any critical evaluation possible, supported by properly cited interviews with staff members, LIS or technology user studies literature, published reviews of this product or its implementation at peer institutions, and should also include pertinent implications for the future of library technology. You should consider writing as if presenting a contracted outside evaluation of the technology and should limit the report to 3-5 pages. Due Apr. 19. The Implementation Report supports CLO's 1, and 3:

Technology Adoption Proposal (50%)

Each student will compose a 5-7 page proposal for the adoption of a specific library system, technology, or technology enhancement. the technology should be targeted to a specific library system, either a real system such as the student's employer, or a well-defined but hypothetical library system. The proposal should include as minimum elements a detailed explanation of the different users of the library, a complete explanation of the technology under consideration (including peer reviews of the technology and comparisons to other instances of the application), and a clear analysis of the benefits and costs of the technological change for the specific users. Due May 4. The Technology proposal supports all three of the course CLO's:

Participation (25%)
Each student is expected to contribute at least one timely and substantial post to each online discussion board, with substantive comments or critical questions on one or more of the course readings or topics, and/or responses to specific questions that the instructor will raise. PLEASE POST EARLY, so that your instructor and colleagues have a chance to respond.

Each student is also expected to comment substantively at least once to other threads of discussion.

Zoom Virtual Meetings
Optional real-time Zoom meetings may be scheduled for the course, with guest speakers; such meetings are expected at 6 pm Pacific time on Tuesday evenings.

Course Calendar including Assignment Due Dates

The plan of course topics - always subject to change within the Canvas system, is as follows:

April 6 First day of classes (introductions)  
Apr. 6 - Apr. 12 Library Linked Data  
Apr. 13 - Apr. 19 The Internet of Things and Embedded Computing Implementation Report due Apr. 19
Apr. 20 - Apr. 26 Emerging Hardware Applications  
Apr. 27 - May 3 Security; Technology Competencies  
    Technology Adoption Proposal due May 4

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 241 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Gain an understanding of technology (hardware and cloud technologies) and industry standards and their importance in the field.
  2. Evaluate the current and potential use for libraries of emerging technologies such as linked data, 3D printing, and embedded computing devices.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of underlying concepts and issues of library technology management.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 241 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.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Burke, J. (2016). Neal-Schuman library technology companion: A basic guide for library staff (5th ed.). ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838913822arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Varnum, K.J. (Ed.). (2019). New top technologies every librarian needs to know. ALA Editions. Available through Amazon: 0838917828arrow 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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