MARA 248-10
Standards and Structures for Records and Recordkeeping
Fall 2010 Greensheet

Tom Norris
Phone: 408-309-4160
Office: Clark Hall 418J
Office Hours: By Appointment

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course has an ANGEL site. Students will be instructor-enrolled in ANGEL prior to the first week of class.

Course Description

Overview of the theory and current practice of records and archives physical and intellectual control and the systems and products that establish it.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes:

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

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying principles of physical and intellectual control of archival records
  • Articulate the roles of archival functions, including appraisal, inventory, acquisition, accessioning, arrangement, and description in establishing and maintaining intellectual control of archival records
  • Apply the archival techniques of accessioning, arrangement, and description
  • Explain the role of finding aids and access tools to enhance intellectual control of archival records
  • Demonstrate a general familiarity with the capabilities and use of automated archives and records management systems for physical and intellectual control of records
  • Describe existing records standards, evaluate the current state of such standards, and postulate needs for additional or improved standards

This course helps satisfy the following MARA Core Competencies:

  • C. Understand the evolution of information recordkeeping systems inresponse to technological change
  • D. Have expertise in the basic concepts and principles used to identify, evaluate, select, organize, maintain, and provide access to records of current and enduring value
  • E. Understand the system of standards and structures endorsed and utilized by the recordkeeping professions, particularly in the areas of electronic records and digital assets management

Course Requirements

Course Assignments
This course requires a number of assignments designed to introduce students to the concepts covered in class and in the texts, as well as practical applications of methods. Students will work with specific recordkeeping scenarios and forms (provided by instructor via ANGEL).

Students accumulate 100 points to determine the course grade. See Grading below for details. Details for the assignments will be given at the first class meeting and requirements for each will be posted under your Lessons tab on ANGEL.

Assignments and scoring are as follows:

  • Acquisitions and accessioning - Using information from a detailed appraisal report for multiple series of archival records, student will be expected to articulate key issues surrounding the acquisition and accessioning of the constituent records and complete an accession form either or their own creation or choice of an existing one (and then defend that choice).  This assignment will comprise up to 10% of the final grade and will be due 2 weeks following lecture 5.
  • Arrangement - Using an instructor-provided on-line body of records, students will be expected to explain how they would approach the arrangement of those records.  This assignment will comprise 10% of the final grade and will be due 2 weeks following lecture 6.
  • Description - Using the same body of records as for the arrangement assignment, students will prepare a description including background, scope and content notes, and any other descriptive component as appropriate. Students will also be expected to propose the development of finding aids for the records and defend that proposal. This assignment will comprise 20% of the final grade and will be due 2 weeks following lecture 8.
  • Standards survey paper - Students will conduct a review of existing records related standards, evaluate each of them briefly and as a body, and provide conclusions regarding the current sufficiency or deficiency of standards for the records professions.  This assignment will be worth 20% of the final grade and is due no later than December 9.
  • Term paper on course related subject of choice (subject to prior approval by instructor) - Students will conduct research and compose a term paper on a subject of their choosing relating to the course topic.  This assignment will be worth 20% of the final grade.  Subject proposals will be due no later than September 29.  The completed paper will be due no later than December 9.
  • Discussion forums, instructor initiated - The instructor will initiate 7 discussion forums on course related topics.  Participation is required and graded, comprising 10% of the final grade.  Comments will be due within 1 week of the initial posting of the forum.
  • Discussion forums, student initiated - Students will initiate a discussion forum on a topic that must be approved in advance by the instructor.  Participation in these forums by other students in the class is required and graded, worth 10% of the final grade. Student comments will be due within 2 weeks of the posting of the forum. Proposed topics must be approved by the instructor no later than September 29 and will scheduled by the instructor at the time of approval.  Forums will be developed and presented either individually or teams of students, depending upon the size of class enrollment.  No more than 7 of these forums will be conducted.

All assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. on their respective due date. Late submissions will cause a loss of 10% of the grade for that assignment.

Course Calendar

  • Week 1: Introduction to MARA 248-10
  • Weeks 2 & 3: Archives and records principles and practice
  • Week 4 through 10: Physical and intellectual control of records
    • Week 4: Introduction to physical and intellectual control of records
    • Week 5: Preliminary control of records
    • Week 6: Arrangement and processing
    • Week 7: Description
    • Week 8: Access tools
    • Week 9: Control of electronic archival records
    • Week 10: Control of audio-visual and non-textual records
  • Week 11: Archives and records management automated control systems
  • Week 12 & 13: Records standards development and application
  • Week 14: Thanksgiving break
  • Week 15: Course wrap up and papers due.

Textbooks and Readings

Each lesson will have assigned readings, both in the required textbook and in materials that will be provided on ANGEL via links to various web sites. These links will be located in the lesson folder for the week to which they apply.

Required Textbook:

  • Roe, K. (2005). Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts (Archival Fundamentals Series II). Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 193166613X. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbook:

  • Society of American Archivists (2004). Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666083. 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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