LIBR 210-13
Reference and Information Services
Fall 2010 Greensheet

August 25 - December 9, 2010
No instruction on Sept. 6, Nov. 11, Nov. 25-26 

Dr. Johanna Tunon
E-mail -- For class-related communications, use the ANGEL email.
Home phone: (954) 792-6814 
Office location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Office hours: By appointment by phone or via Elluminate. NOTE: I live in Florida so I am on Eastern Standard time. You are welcome to call before 10 pm Eastern Standard/Daylight time.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

I will email you with your access enrollment code for your class site. Links with tutorials on how to use Angel are provided above.

Course Description

Catalog Description: A process-oriented examination of how information professionals answer reference questions. The interpersonal skills required for effective question negotiation and the sources with which questions are answered are stressed.

Full Description: This course provides an overview of reference and information services. We will be examining and evaluating key information sources in a variety of formats and becoming familiar with professional resources. Because the field of librarianship is changing rapidly, we will be exploring various methods and models for delivering information and examining how emerging trends and ways to use new ideas and skills may impact the future of reference services and access to information.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 202 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, students will:

  • Have a developed understanding of the reference process
  • Use basic reference tools and search techniques to answer a wide range of questions;
  • Conduct an effective reference interview;
  • Make the connection between user needs, information resources, and the relevant information technology;
  • Assess the quality and usefulness of reference sources;
  • Evaluate reference services that address the needs of today’s dynamic and cultural diverse society;
  • Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction;
  • Be familiar with current issues and trends in reference service;
  • Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.

LIBR 210 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users.

In addition, this section supports the following SLIS core competencies:

  • Retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups;
  • 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;
  • Evaluate programs and services on specified criteria.

Course Requirements

  • Assignment 1 (24%)
    Mini exercises = 3% X 8 weeks
    (E2, E4, E6, E7, E9, E10, E11, E13)
  • Assignment 2 (18%)
    Reference desk library and online visits = 6 x 3%
    (Part of weekly discussion topics for Wks 3-8)
    R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R8)
  • Assignment 3 - (15%)
    Option 1: BI or tech presentation via Elluminate or provide prerecorded session.
    Option 2: Complete a web-based subject guide/pathfinder
    (Completed during Wks 10, 11, 12 or provided in a prerecorded format)  (A3)
  • Assignment 4 (15%)
    Reference desk shadowing  Due Wk 10
    ** Optional
    - three additional article summaries as alternative to shadowing activity. (A4)
  • Assignment 5 (20%)
    Reference bibliography 2% = 18% (individual 's selected resources and annotations) 2% (group's bibliography)
    Due Wk 15. (A5)
  • Participation/discussion topics = 8%
    (Weeks 1-6. 7-11. 12-16 = 3% 2.5%  2.5%. They will be posted as  P6, P11, and  P16 in the gradebook.
  • SOTES -- extra credit (0.5%)

Course Calendar

Week   Overview of Class Activities and Assignments Due Dates 
Wk 1

• Post introductions
• Reading: Chapter 1 (“Introduction to Reference and Information Services”) in the Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: An Introduction by Cassell and Hiremath (2009)
• Discussion topic
• Week 1 – -- read week's overview and any posted resources
Elluminate: Discussion of the expectations for the course and how to navigate around in the class. Time for questions and answers (Aug. 29 – 7 pm PT, 10 ET)

Aug. 31
Wk 2

• Reading -- Chapter 2: “Determining the Question: In-person, Telephone, and Virtual Reference Interviews”
• Week 2 – -- read week's overview and any posted resources
• Week 2 discussion topic
• Choose topics for Assignment 5 (Reference Bibliography) Go to Lessons > Doodle Poll for Assignment 5. Add your name for one of the 5 subject areas. There is a maximum of eigth people per subject. First come, first serve. See Assignment 5 for more details.
    o General/multidisciplinary
    o Arts and Humanities
    o Social sciences
    o Science/Technology
    o School Media Center
• Mini exercise-- E2 for Assignment 1 (3%)

Sept. 7
Wk 3

• Readings – Chapters 3 (“Finding the Answer: Basic Search Techniques”) and 4 (“Answering Questions about Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Libraries, Publishers, and Bibliographic Networks – Bibliographic Resources”)
• View reference interview video -- You may need to install RealPlayer. Username: reference Password: askme1
• Week 3 – -- read week's overview and any posted resources
• Week 3 – Read ACRL transcript entitled Are Reference Desks Passe?
• Week 3 discussion topic R3 = 3%(part of Assign. 2)

Sept 14
Wk 4

• Readings – Chapter 5 (“Answering Questions about Anything and Everything-- Encyclopedias”) 
Elluminate -- (Sept. 19,  Sunday 7pm PT/ 10pm ET) -- time for groups to plan for Assignment 4.
• Week 4 discussion topic R4 (3% of Assign. 2) 
• Week 4 – -- read week's overview and any posted resources
• Mini exercise -- E4 (3%)

Sept. 21
Wk 5

• Readings – Chapter 6 (“Answering Questions that Require Handy Facts – Ready Reference Sources”) and Chapter 15 (“Reference Work with Children and Young Adults”)
• Week 5 -- read week's overview and any posted resources
• Video on formatting journal article citations using APA 
• Week 5 discussion topic R5 (3% of Assign. 2)

Sept. 28
Wk 6

• Readings – Chapter 7 (“Answering Questions about Words – Dictionaries”)
• Week 6 -- read week's overview optional postings also available
• Best Chat Transcripts
• Week 6 discussion topic R6 (3% of Assign. 2)
• Mini exercise -- E6 (3%) 

Oct. 5
Wk 7

• Readings – Chapter 8 (“Answering Questions about Events and Issues, Past and Present – Indexes and Full-Text Databases”) and Chapter 16 (“Information Literacy in the Reference Department”)
• Week 7 -- read week's overview and any posted resources
• Week 7 discussion topic  R7 (3% of Assign. 2)
• Mini exercise E7 (3%)

Oct. 12
Wk 8

• Readings – Chapter 9 (“Answering Questions about Health, Law, and Business – Special Guidelines and Sources”) and Chapter 17 (“Selection and Evaluating Reference Materials”)
• Week 8 discussion topic R8 (3% of Assign. 2)
• Week 8 -- read week's overview and any posted resources
• Mary Long's Video Snippet -- Teacher Librarians

Oct. 19
Wk 9 • Reading – Chapter 10 (“Answering Questions about Geography, Countries, and Travel – Atlases, Gazetteers, Maps, Geographic Information Systems, and Travel Guides”) and Chapter 18 (“Managing Reference Departments”)
• Week 9 -- read week's overview and posted sources
• Week 9 discussion topic
• Mini exercise E9 (3%)
Oct. 26
Wk 10

 • Reading – Chapter 11 (“Answering Questions about the Lives of People – Biographical Information Sources”)
• Week 10 -- read week's overview and any posted resources
Assignment 4 -- Reference Desk Shadowing (15%)
• Week 10 discussion topic
• Mini exercise E10 (3%)

Nov. 2

Wk 11

• Readings – Chapter 12 (Answering Questions about Governments – Government Information Sources”) and Chapter 13 (When and How to Use the Internet as a Reference Tool”)
• Week 11 -- read week's overview and any posted resources for the week
Elluminate session (Nov. 7  7 pm PT, Nov. 9. 7 pm PT) – Assignment 3 presentations
• Week 11 discussion topic
• Mini exercise E11 (3%)

Nov. 9
Wk 12

• Readings – Chapter 14 (“Reader’s Advisory Work”)
• Week 12 -- read week's overview and any posted resources
Elluminate session (Nov. 14 7 pm PT) – Assignment 3 presentations
Assignment 3 -- Elluminate presentation, prerecorded presentation, or pathfinder/subject guide (15%)
• Week 12 discussion topic

Nov. 16
Wk 13 • Readings – Chapter 19 (“Assessing and Improving Reference Services”)
• Week 13 -- read week's overview and any posted resources
• Week 13 discussion topic
• Mini exercise E13 (3%)
Nov. 23
Wk 14

• Reading - Chapter 20 ("Reference 2.0")
Week 14 - read week's overview and any posted resources
• Week 14 discussion topic

Nov. 30 

Wk 15

• Reading – Chapter 20 (“The Future of Information Service”)
• Week 15 -- discussion topic
Assignment 5 (20%)-- Reference bibliography due the end of Wk 15

Dec. 7
Wk 16

•Week 16 -- Wrapping things up
•Week 16 -- optional discussion topic – suggested changes for next term
Extra credit (0.5%) for completing SOTES survey
• Dec. 9 -- all work must be submitted by midnight

Dec. 8-9
  Course ends:
The course content will be available until Dec. 23.
Dec. 9

 * These due dates are subject to change with fair notice. 

Description of Assignments and Grading Criteria
OTE: If you have some special circumstance that makes completion of some activities difficult, contact me about possible alternative activities.

  • Assignment 1: Mini Exercises 24% (3% X 8 weeks)
    In eight out of the sixteen weeks of class, we will have mini exercises that will have you actually look for appropriate sources to information quest questions or examine specific types of resources. Post the mini exercises in the Digital Dropboxs provided. The activities will be graded using the following criteria:

    Grading criteria:
    • (1) Correct responses were identified and (2) the source listed. If the answer for a question was not located, the student demonstrated due diligence by providing at least five appropriate authoritative sources that were checked for the answer. Correct grammar was used.
    • Appropriate sources -- A variety of print and appropriate electronic reference resources were used to completely answer information requests. Only authoritative Web reference resources were utilized. 
  • Assignment 2: Reference desk library and online visits (18%= 6 x 3%)
    R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R8

    Because the discussions in Weeks 3 to 8 require more than just commenting on various topics, I am giving you additional credit for the discussion topics for these weeks. In other words, these activities are part of weekly discussion topics for Wks 3-8 so they are part of your submissions for thosee weekly discussions. You will be asked to visit a library or use some kind of reference service and report on your findings so you will get extra points for the discussion topics for these weeks.  Address the questions asked for the designated week. Each week's posting will be graded on:
    • Address the questions asked for the designated week.
    • Used appropriate grammar and communicated in a professional manner.
    • Substantive content
    • Applied what you have learned in the textbook readings to the topic under discussion.
  • Assignment 3 (15%)
    You have two alternatives for this assignment. Choose the one that will help you more to complete the requirements for your e-portfolio.
    Option 1: Elluminate or Prerecorded Presentation Option 
    This option is designed to give students the opportunity to use Elluminate for a short 10-minute introduction to a database at SJSU or a library in your area or you can use a Web 2.0 application. In addition to giving students to opportunity to teach in an online environment, the sessions also provide the rest of the class with an introduction to some relevant databases and Web 2.0 applications that they might not otherwise become familiar with. The presentation can be done using the share application or using a PowerPoint presentation. I have requested student assistants to help with any questions about using Elluminate or loading PowerPoint files. Any supplemental instructional materials such as a handout or Web resource are optional. The sign-up Doodle page is located in the Lessons folder. The presentations will be during Weeks 11 and 12. I do not expect you to be present for all the live presentations. Since you will want to get an overview of the various resources, you will be able to see the archived sessions when you cannot participate live.

    Grading Criteria:
    • The student presenter introduced him or herself and explained the goals for the instructional session.
    • Instructional session was well organized and covered the major points about the selected database or Web 2.0 application.
    • The presentation made clear how the database or Web 2.0 application might be useful for reference librarians.
    • The student presenter presented the materials clearly and succinctly.
    • The PowerPoint was well designed or the share application was utilized in a clear and logical manner.
    • The student presenter interacted with the others in the class as appropriate, answered questions, and encouraged interaction as time permitted.
    • The student presenter was knowledgeable about the topic selected. 
  • Option 2: Pathfinder/Subject Guide Option 
    Develop a pathfinder on a topic useful for helping library patrons find relevant resources on a topic of interest. It can be a two-sided handout to use at a reference desk or organized as a web subject guide or using a template like LibGuides is you have access to that. You can take a look at examples of some other LIBR 210 pathfinders at

Grading Criteria:

  • The pathfinder provided clear information about the scope of the tool.
  • The pathfinder addressed the identified information need.
  • The pathfinder provided appropriate subject headings, call numbers, and names and URLs for websites as appropriate.
  • The pathfinder was attractive, well laid out, and appropriate for the age and ability level of the intended user(s).
  • The pathfinder identified a variety of appropriate resources for the information need.
  • The pathfinder organized the information in a clear and concise manner.
  • The pathfinder used correct grammar and writing mechanics.

Assignment 4: Reference Desk Shadowing (15%)
Write a summary of and conclusions about your experience shadowing a reference librarian for two hours at the reference desk. Use the grading criteria when writing about your summary of the experience and your conclusions. For people who cannot complete this activity for whatever reason, you can opt to complete two additional article summaries as an alternative to shadowing a reference librarian at the referenc desk.

Grading Criteria:

  • A clear and robust summary of the reference desk shadowing experience is provided.
  • The discussion of the experience is framed in terms of the criteria for conducting good reference interviews provided in the textbook by Cassell and Hiremath and at least one scholarly article on reference services.
  • Describe what types of web, print, and databases were used by the librarian to answer reference questions.
  • Describe your conclusions or reflections about what you learned because of this experience. For example, did anything unexpected occur? Did you think that Cassell and Hiremath's recommended steps for a reference interview worked in real life? What types of reference resources worked well when "in the trenches"? Did you learn anything new from talking with the reference librarian?
  • Good writing mechanics and grammar were used. 
  • Assignment 5: Reference Bibliography/Group Projects (20%) 
    18% (individual's resources/annotations)  2% (group work)

    )The goal of this assignment is for the class to have a list of current and relevant reference resources as an update for the textbook. You will be working in groups to identify the best reference online and print resources for public/academic libraries  or school libraries published or updated in 2008 or later in your subject area. This means that you can include both classic reference resources as long as they have been updated since in 2008 or later or new reference resources. Do not worry if there is some overlap of resources listed in the General/Multidisciplinary list and the specific subject areas. The final product needs to be formatted using APA for the reference citations as appropriate, and short annotations are included with a critical evaluation of each source that includes information on the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost (if appropriate) of your selected resources. Also include imprint/publication information (name of publisher, place, and date of publication), frequency, the audience, uses, limitations, and a description of why the resource was selected. It will help ensure consistency if you use a format that lists the price, type, and audience. There is a Dooble poll in the Course Resources Lesson area for identifying work groups based on areas of interest. You can choose from General/Multidisciplinary, School Media Resources, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences/Technology. First come, first serve with a maximum of seven students per subject area. Each group can decide on how to divide your work, but you will each post your own selections on the discussion board in Week 15 provided so the rest of the class will also be able to benefit from your work. The majority of your grade will be based on your selection of resources and annotations, and 2% of your final grade will be based on the group’s overall preparation and group work.

    Grading Criteria:
    • Group work in subject areas and overall design
    • Appropriate selection of resources for subject area
    • Solid justification for the choices is provided
    • Information about the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost (if appropriate) of the resources were accurate, well organized, and concise.
    • APA formatting.
  • Participation (8%)
    .5% x 16 weeks
    Class participation is an important part of the class and can take a variety of forms throughout the course including the Elluminate classroom sessions, asking good questions that move the direction of the course forward, participation on various topics posted in the discussion board throughout the term, and responding constructively to others’ postings. Your participation can take the form of active listening that incorporates or builds on comments by other students, thoughtful questions, suggestions, addressing related issues, and making observations based on personal or professional experiences and class readings. Although positive reinforcement is good, participation that does not add to the discussion (e.g., comments like “Yes, I agree” and “Good point!” will not be counted toward your participation grade.  I will post the participation grades at the end of Weeks  1-6, 7-11, 12-16.

    Grading Criteria:
    • Content – Comments and questions are substantive and relate to the topic. Your responses were relevant to the topics addressed in the class and show that you were prepared for the class discussion and were applying the principles learned in the class text.
    • Organization -- Comments are presented in logical manner and concise.
    • Knowledge – Comments reflect knowledge about research and your readings in the textbook, your postings in the reading blog, and any other professional literature. Support your comments with concrete evidence when possible.
    • Active participation in the weekly discussion. Do not just post your comments and "lurk" or disappear for the rest of the week. Participation can take a number of forms including substantive responses, comments, questions, feedback for other students, and active listening. Evidence of active participation and listening can be seen in responses that incorporate or builds off the comments of others in the weekly discussion.
    • Used the professional literature and your text to support comments
    • Postings with relevant resources that you want to share with the class in the Course-Related Resources section would be considered a plus!
    • Communicate in a professional manner and avoid computer abbreviations like LOL. Correct grammar and writing mechanics.

*** NOTE: The details of the asssignments, grading criteria, and grading rubrics are subject to minor adjustments with fair notice. 

Course Grading
All work is due by the date listed. If you are unable to complete the work by the assigned date, you need to email me to make alternative arrangements. No work will be accepted after the last day of class unless arrangements have been made in writing and approved for an incomplete. I provide feedback for mini activities, reading summaries by email so if you do not receive an email, let me know! Feedback for major projects will be posted in the gradebook when grades are posted.

Check the grading criteria with class assignments before submitting assignments to be sure that you are addressing all of the elements that should be included in the assignments.

Textbooks and Readings

Information about additional readings from online articles, Web resources, and videos will be posted as the semester progresses, but there will be no additional textbooks for the class that you need to purchase. Just FYI: We will be using APA for formatting of text and reference citations so you may want to get the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), but that is not required. I will provide some resources that can help with the APA rules.

No Textbooks For This Course

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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