LIBR 244-02
LIBR 244-11
Online Searching
Summer 2010 Greensheet

Virginia Tucker
Office Hours: Please contact via email. Telephone appointments can be arranged.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

The Greensheet is a course syllabus which may be revised before or during the semester.

The first day of the semester is Monday, June 7. Students may enroll in the ANGEL course site starting Monday, June 7 and the last day to enroll is Tuesday, June 8. You will need an access code, which will be sent to all registered students via MySJSU on Sunday, June 6. Late enrollments are not accepted—no exceptions.

Course Description

The course covers techniques of online searching, understanding database structures, and hands-on search experience on commercial search services. Emphasis is on the Dialog system, with coverage of Lexis-Nexis and Dow Jones Factiva, known in the traditional information industry as the “Big Three” aggregators. The knowledge gained from this course is applicable in any setting where librarians answer questions, conduct research, or train others how to search, including public, school, academic, and special libraries. Learning how to formulate search strategies within the Big Three builds a solid foundation for achieving better search results when using a range of subscription search systems as well as for using advanced search features offered by website search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Topics include searching techniques and strategies, database indexing, evaluation of search services, and understanding the relationship between database structure and effective search techniques. In addition, students gain familiarity with trends in the online information industry through relevant professional literature.

Prerequisite: LIBR 202

Course Objectives

LIBR 244 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:  

  • design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems;
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities.

In addition, this section supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • Use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations, and professional level presentations.

Paramount student learning objectives are

  • a broad understanding of the design of online databases and how to search them in a self-assured and effective manner, and
  • confidence in the ability to achieve competence searching any database or online system similar to those covered in the course.

Course Requirements

General Requirements

  • Have the minimal home or work computing environment as described at You may use the web browser of your choice, but Internet Explorer is preferred for Factiva searches. 
  • Check the course site daily for announcements, discussion board postings, course materials, and assignments. Refer to due dates on the course calendar.
  • Label assignments clearly: include your full name, course number, instructor name, and assignment name on the first page. For the file name, use the assignment name and your last name, e.g., seuss_exercise1.doc Assignments not labeled appropriately may receive reduced credit.
  • Submit assignments by the due date. Late submissions are not accepted.


  • Online Search Exercises
    Most class assignments are hands-on search exercises requiring that students prepare and evaluate search strategies, database content and structure, and demonstrate an understanding of course concepts and techniques for achieving cost-effective and on-target search results.
  • Quizzes
    There will be several short quizzes to nail down essential concepts covered in the course.
  • Discussions
    Participation in the discussion forums is part of the course grade. Postings need not be lengthy but must be thoughtful, meaningful, and constructive.  
  • Essay
    A five- to eight-page essay is due near the end of the course. Each student will select his/her own topic and have it approved by the instructor two weeks before the due date.

Course Calendar
A course calendar is available from the ANGEL course site at the start of the semester.

Additional Readings

Readings in addition to the required texts will be made available on the course site, including articles from professional journals and system documentation from search service vendors.


Assignment Points
Search Exercises & Quizzes 70
Discussions Participation 15
Essay 15

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbook:

  • Hock, R. (2010). The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook (3rd ed.). Information Today. Available through Amazon: 0910965846. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Mann, T. (2005). Oxford Guide to Library Research (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. Available through Amazon: 0195189981. arrow 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;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — 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 the following semester. 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.

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

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.