LIBR 284-02
LIBR 284-11
Seminar in Archives and Records Management
Summer 2010 Greensheet

Kory L. Meyerink, AG, FUGA
Office location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Office Hours: e-mail if a phone consult desired

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Students will self-enroll in Angel between about April 24th and May 26th. As an “elective” course, students will have some influence on how the course proceeds in terms of content and presentation. After all, it’s your needs we’re tying to meet!

Course Description


In-depth study of current issues and practices in providing library reference services to genealogists. The course addresses reference tools, collection development, community and referral sources, Internet usage and information seeking behavior of patrons conducting genealogical and biographical research.

Value of Course
Genealogy, also called family history, is a popular and growing leisure pursuit, encouraged by increased access to information on the Internet. However, the local library and its collection remains a core resource for most genealogists, amateur and professional. As such, genealogists are among the most dependable, loyal and consistent of a library’s patrons. They provide volunteers and have saved library collections and budgets all across America. Fostering that relationship is a significant task in most highly successful libraries. 

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 202, 204 required. Also, Libr. 210 is recommended.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
This course should prepare librarians to serve their genealogical patrons with expertise and accuracy. At the completion of this course, students should be able to do the following:

  • Explain the nature and methods of the genealogical research process.
  • Identify and use the major reference tools needed for United States research.
  • Understand the major kinds of genealogical sources researchers use.
  • Conduct an effective genealogical reference interview, by understanding the information needs of family historians.
  • Develop a genealogical collection that meets the needs of their library patrons, through the evaluation, selection and acquisition of appropriate reference and source records.
  • Refer patrons to the most appropriate genealogical collection(s) for their needs.
  • Identify the most useful Internet sites for their patrons, and determine if one or more subscription sites are appropriate for their library, in order to facilitate appropriate information access.
  • Enhance their library’s own website to reflect their genealogical services and collections.
  • Conduct and report on foundational genealogical research, which will demonstrate their proficiency in using print, electronic and original genealogical sources.
  • Understand and apply the “Genealogical Proof Standard” as the standard system of creating modern genealogical accounts (i.e.: information structures)
  • Learn how to continue their education in genealogical sources and techniques.

LIBR 284 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:
The learning activities in this class support the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing/advocacy;
  • Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems;
  • Use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information;
  • Understand the system of standards and methods used to control and create information structures and apply basic principles involved in the organization and representation of knowledge;
  • Use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors;
  • Understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups; 

Course Requirements

The course will conducted using Angel and Elluminate from June 7 - August 12. Be sure to acquire the necessary equipment and training to use Elluminate (i.e.: a computer microphone).

Class Location & Meeting Schedule
Totally online (June 7 - August 12).
Although conducted on-line, the class will meet via Elluminate for one hour each week on Thursday evening (specific time to be determined by a survey of the students). Attendance is expected for at least 75% of these sessions, or by listening to the recording and reporting back to the instructor.

In addition to the weekly Elluminate session, I encourage the use of the course discussion board and email. Post general questions to the discussion board. Send specific questions to me via email. I will check email each morning and night, and will reply as soon as possible, usually within the day. When sending email, begin the subject line with: SLIS, and then your topic (this will limit lost email).

Other Requirements and Comments

  • Genealogical knowledge or experience is NOT a prerequisite for this course. Such experience would be helpful but some course content is oriented in this direction. The best way to serve genealogical patrons is to have experienced proper genealogical research yourself.
  • Students should plan to spend about 120 to 150 total hours during the term involved in this course. This includes reading texts, researching, writing assignments, and class interaction. This means about 12 to 15 hours per week.
  • Most assignments will be written papers, submitted in Word (2003) or WordPerfect (or Rich Text if necessary) vial email to the instructor.
  • Each week will have assigned readings in preparation for the weekly meeting and for various assignments.
  • This is an intensive course that requires consistent and regular attention to all discussions on Angel and Elluminate, and continuous preparation and effort - no exceptions.
  • Students taking more than one or two courses and having other responsibilities may find this course too time-consuming to adequately meet all requirements for an A and some may have problems earning a B grade.
  • All students are graded on the same basis regardless of workload, personal, medical, or technical problems, which are each student's responsibility.
  •  Since this is a full semester course compressed into a summer session, the due dates for assignments will be tight and this cannot be avoided.

Course Calendar

Planned Assignments (likely due dates)

Weekly Attendance/Participation and course evaluation (90 points)
14 June Report of visit to at least one local genealogical resource center (80 points)
21 June Book report of an introductory genealogy instruction (how-to) book (50 points)
28 June Survey of local referral resources (80 points)
5 July Internet-oriented Pathfinder (80 points)
12 July Proposal for library Internet data site (80 points)
26 July Research report on own ancestor (150 points)
2 August Genealogical collection development policy (100 points)
9 August Patron needs survey (80 points)
early July & August 2 quizzes on reading assignments in Printed Sources (@ 30 points)
Final exam (150 points)

On-line Resources
Students will need, at some points during the term, on-line access to at least two major genealogy subscription websites: HeritageQuest Online (a ProQuest product) and Either or both may be available through a local public library. However, Ancestry Library Edition is only available within subscribing libraries. [Note: Carlsbad, California provides a library card to anyone, regardless of residence, upon request; Oakland may also. Both provide remote access to HeritageQuest Online.] Neither of these appears to be currently available through either San Jose State University library, or the San Jose City Public Library. Other subscription databases, available through the university library, will also be used.

Course Grading
The assignments are worth a total of 1000 points and will be graded as objectively as possible based on content and quality of writing and presentation. The total points will be converted to a percentage for calculation of the final grade.

Grading is based on a combination of:

  • Following instructions provided with exercises. Points are deducted for not following instructions.
  • Completing all assignments and submitting them on time.
  • Quality, professional-caliber writing that, as appropriate to the assignment, includes thought process, strategies, and/or findings.
  • You must also integrate what you have learned from readings and class discussion.

Overall grading for this course incorporates consideration of creativity, thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and originality. Successful course participants will:

  • Post a brief bio and statement of purpose to the Angel Discussion Board prior to our first Thursday evening session.
  • Read the required textbooks cited above and other reading assignments as posted to Angel.
  • Initiate and contribute to discussion on Angel weekly with substantive and thoughtful comments.

Textbooks and Readings

Students will choose ONE of the three "required" online genealogy books. The other two books, Printed Sources and Basics of Genealogy Reference are required for all students.

Recommended Texts
An introductory “how to” book about genealogical research, chosen from bibliography posted in Angel for this course.

Students will likely want to access the following reference books at a local library or Family History Center:

  • Szucs L.D. and S.H. Luebking (2006) The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry)
  • Eichholz, A. (2004) Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry)
  • Hansen, H. (2006) The Handybook for Genealogists, 11th ed. (Logan, Ut: Everton Pub.) [Or, the 2002 10th edition.]


Required Textbook:

  • Helm, M. L. & Helm, A. L.(2008). Genealogy Online for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. Available through Amazon: 0470240571 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Meyerink, K. (1998). Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records. Ancestry. Available through Amazon: 0916489701. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Morgan, G. G.(2009). How to Do Everything Genealogy (2nd ed.) Emeryville, CA: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media. Available through Amazon: 0071625348 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Powell, K. (2008). The everything guide to online genealogy. Adams Media. Available through Amazon: 1598694979 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Simpson, J.(2008). Basics of Genealogy Reference: A Librarian's Guide Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591585147 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.

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