LIBR 256-02
Archives and Manuscripts
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Erin Lawrimore
Office Hours: Contact via email; telephone appointments can be arranged

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course will be conducted completed online via ANGEL. You should enroll in the course in ANGEL prior to the first day of class (January 22nd). The enrollment password will be distributed via the MySJSU system on January 18th.

Course Description

An introduction to the theory and practice of managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished material. Topics covered include manuscript and records acquisition and appraisal, arrangement and description, conservation and preservation, reference and access.

In addition to basic theory and practice, students will be introduced to the variety of types of archival institutions, both in the United States and abroad.

This course will take place completely online via ANGEL, with weekly participation on the bulletin boards required.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200, LIBR 202, and LIBR 204

Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand archival theory and practice, including appraisal, processing, reference, and outreach
  • Process a small archival collection by arranging and describing the materials
  • Understand the challenges faced in the management of an archival repository, including legal, administrative, and ethical issues
  • Understand the history of archival collecting and the archival profession in the United States
  • Recognize current issues affecting the archival profession and identify sources for further professional development
  • Understand the range of environments in which archival professionals work, both in the U.S. and abroad
  • Identify similarities and differences between the archival profession and related information professions

LIBR 256 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom;
  • compare the environments and organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice;
  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • 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.

Course Requirements

All assignments should be submitted electronically. Further details on the assignments will be provided at least two weeks prior to the due date.

  1. Arrangement and description project - 15 points (due March 7)
    A small archival collection will be scanned and made available through Blackboard. Arrange these materials and create a complete finding aid for the collection using sample finding aids provided as a guide.
  2. Annotated bibliography (approximately 5-7 pages) related to archival
    reference and outreach - 15 points (due April 11)
    Utilizing professional archival and library science literature sources, students will create an annotated bibliography focused on a specific aspect of archival reference and outreach. This annotated bibliography should contain detailed descriptions of fivearticles, chapters, or books. No more than three citations should come from the same source (for example, no more than three may come from American Archivist). Each description should be approximately one to two pages in length.
  3. Critical essay (approximately 5-7 pages) outlining the impact of information
    technology on some aspect of archival enterprise - 20 points (due
    May 2)

    Papers could address the impact of information technology on an aspect of archival theory; a particular set of policies and regulations; a core archival function such as acquisition, arrangement, description, appraisal, preservation, access, reference, outreach; professionalization; or education. You may also choose to focus on a single application of technology and its influence on the archival field.
  4. Final exam - 30 points (due May 15)
    The final exam will consist of three discussion questions covering the breadth of material discussed in class. Students will create a succinct answer of no more than 5 pages to each question utilizing course lecture notes and readings as well as outside materials deemed appropriate by the student. Questions will be distributed no later than December 1.
  5. Participation in online discussions / weekly responses to posted questions - 20 points (1 point per weekly response (14 points); 6 points for overall quality of class participation)
    Students are expected to participate in the weekly online discussions. Each week, two or three questions will be posted to the online forums to stimulate discussion. While the student need not address the initial question directly, each student is required to participate in the discussion by making a brief (approximately 200 words) yet thoughtful posting each week. Ideally, these postings will result in a conversation between the student and classmates, stimulated by the initial question but guided by student and instructor postings. Overall participation will be determined by the student’s active participation and willingness to engage in discussions with classmates as well as the thoughtfulness of the student’s responses.
  6. Extra Credit: Interview with an archivist - 5 points - added to your final grade in the class (due no later than May 2, but may be turned in at any time
    during the semester)

    Students may conduct an interview with a practicing archivist either by phone, in person, or by email. Then, the student should write an essay (8-10 pages) discussing the archivist’s professional background and development, his/her work responsibilities and activities, the type of work done and the types of materials collected by his/her repository, and the unique challenges faced by working at his/her repository. This essay will be posted for classmates to read.

Course Calendar This information is subject to change. Changes will be announced on the Blackboard site.


Week One January 23-31
Course Introduction; Introduction to the Concept of a “Record”; What are Archives?
Week Two February 1-7
History of Archives and the Archival Profession; Comparative Archives
Week Three February 8-14 Appraisal and Acquisitions
Week Four February 15-21
Arrangement and Description
Week Five February 22-28
Arrangement and Description
Week Six March 1-7
Descriptive Standards (EAD, MARC, DACS)
Week Seven March 8-14
Electronic Records
Week Eight March 15-21
Reference Services
Week Nine March 29-April 4
Reference Services
Week Ten April 5-11
Archival Ethics; Outreach
Week Eleven April 12-18
Archival Management -- Legal and Administrative Issues
Week Twelve April 19-25
Preservation and Conservation; Space and Building Issues
Week Thirteen April 26-May 2
Archival Enterprise and the Allied Fields
Week Fourteen May 3-9
International Archives; The Future of Archives

Late Assignments
All assignments are due on the date noted on the syllabus by midnight PST. Late assignments will be marked down 15% per day.

Textbooks and Readings

**There are no required texts for this class.** Numerous articles and excerpts from books, however, will be made available on ANGEL.

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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