LIBR 282-01
LIBR 282-10
Seminar in Library Management
Topic: Using Social Media for Competitive and Company Research
Fall 2010 Greensheet

Office Location: Online (e-mail or Skype) or via phone
Office Hours: 
C. Confetti-Higgins

Office Location: Online (e-mail or Skype) or via phone
Office Hours: 

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Classroom information: We will be using Elluminate for all of our class meeting sessions. Most sessions will be recorded, but we will have three synchronous sessions. Go to our SLIS Elluminate home by going to the SLIS home page and clicking the "Elluminate" link in the upper left of the screen. Or, you can go directly to We will send email to all students prior to each session, and have the Elluminate information listed on the Sessions page.

Course Description

Social software is rapidly changing the way we work, and how information is distributed and discovered. Social technologies have turned the web into a participatory medium where everyone can add their own creativity and knowledge to the whole. It is also opening up new information sources for company, market and organizational information. In some ways, it is easier than ever to find experts in any industry or company. Building upon a base of “traditional” CI search, we will examine some of the social technologies available and how CI practitioners and information professionals can utilize these tools to find competitive and intelligence information. We will also look at issues of privacy, security and ethics. Inside and outside of class, we will explore the issues of social technology and competitive intelligence.

This course will involve a significant amount of hands-on experience with the technologies, as well as frequent reflections on how to apply what you've learned in a professional setting. For many of the tools we’ll explore, you will need to register for and utilize those tools in order to fully explore the resources and the functionality, and to do the work required for the course. We will not require you to sign up for any tools that require a fee. If you are uncomfortable about using your “real” information on these tools, you may use an alias and “false” information. However, if you do choose to use an alias, please let us know what your alias identity is.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 204 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Understand social information tools from an overarching and strategic perspective, and how they fit into competitive and other intelligence work.
  • Understand how to utilize social tools for information collection and supplementing traditional competitive intelligence tools.
  • Use social tools from a competitive intelligence standpoint, and understand the specific implementations of these tools.
  • Understand how CI communities are using these tools for professional purposes.
  • Possess the ability and understanding to conduct competitive work using social tools.

LIBR 282 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;

Course Requirements

Students are expected to attend three synchronous Elluminate sessions, view recorded Elluminate sessions in a timeline manner, actively participate in online class discussions and forums, complete reading assignments and submit assignments on due dates.

Course assignments are intended to build upon each other, with the ultimate goal being the utilization of social tools to conduct and present CI research on a particular company. Many of the sessions will focus on a particular tool, and the usage of and approach to that tool.

There are no “right” and “wrong” answers for the assignments; they will be evaluated instead on methodology (demonstrating your thought process), completeness, demonstration of innovative thinking, AND whether or not you actually followed the assignment details. Also, you will be graded on whether or not you seemed to have engaged in the spirit of the assignment – e.g., did you do the minimum necessary to complete it or did you bring reflection, personal introspection, and individual engagement to the assignment? Please keep in mind, however, that the purpose of the assignments is to help you understand and use these tools effectively.

Most of our sessions will be via recorded Elluminate sessions, with three “in-person” sessions that will require your attendance and participation. You will need to purchase a USB headset or microphone to participate in Elluminate sessions. Be sure you have had Elluminate training or have taken a tutorial. For more information, see the Student Guide at

Technology Requirements
You will need a current and fast internet connection like DSL, Cable, or FIOS, both for the Elluminate sessions and for the online work you will be doing with these tools. Please see the home computing environment requirements at:

You will also need to be able to access sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning and MySpace and so must have access to a computer that doesn't block popular social networking sites. You will also need to be able to access Second Life, an online virtual world for one of our synchronous sessions.

Second Life requires downloading the Second Life software onto your computer. The software and registration is free, but your system will need to meet minimum requirements in order for you to satisfactorily experience Second Life. Second Life System requirements are at

Blog Entries (4 required) 10 pts. each
CI Research Project 50 pts
Participation 10 pts
Total 100 pts

Blog entries (10 points each, 4 required)
Approximately every three weeks, you will be required to write a blog entry about a tool we have explored in those three weeks. You will choose one tool (or you may choose to compare tools) and provide your reflection upon that tool:

  • How difficult was it to use?
  • What kind of information was useful?
  • Do you know of something better?
  • How do you see this fitting into a CI project?
  • What are the truly “competitive”/”intelligence” components of this tool? What’s unique about it?

You will be required to both create a blog entry, and to comment on others’ blog entries. Commenting on others’ blog entries – in a thoughtful way, not just saying “great idea!” - is a required component of each of the four blog entries in order to receive full points.

CI research project (50 points)
This is your chance to be creative. Select any business, institution, etc. that is of interest to you from a competitive standpoint. It may be a private or public business, not-for-profit, government entity, startup, etc. Do keep in mind that private, small/startup, and non-US companies may be harder to research. However, these are exactly the kinds of businesses that may lend themselves well to gathering information from “non-traditional” tools. The goal is to conduct in-depth research using tools you have learned in class (and any other tools you have learned about).

You are welcome to present your findings in any format you wish – via a paper, presentation, screen captures, video (provided it’s not too long), podcast (again, provided it’s not too long), etc. You will be expected to reference and cite your sources, and to be aware of the limitations and strengths of those sources. The idea is to present this project as if you were presenting it to your customer. Imagine you are presenting to a high-powered executive who is asking for this competitive information from you. More detail and guidelines will be forthcoming about this project in class.

Participation (10 points)
Participation will constitute a significant part of your participation grade. You will be expected to attend and view all Elluminate sessions, participate in the Google group, write at least 4 blog entries and comment/respond to at least 4 blog entries/questions. Especially since this is an online class, it can be very easy to sit back and "lurk". Part of what makes online communities and tools successful is active participation by ALL participants. Please don't be shy - let's build a community! 

Course Calendar

Date Topic Notes, Assignments due by 11:59pm MT
8/31 Introduction, format, overview of course, assignments, Google Group, overview of CI Synchronous Elluminate session
9/7 Why is CI in social tools different? Enhancing "traditional" tools with social tools  
9/14 LinkedIn  
9/21 Ning  
9/28 Facebook and other social networking tools First blog entry due
10/5 Security: Keeping your own information safe from the competition; Second Life and Virtual Worlds Synchronous session in Second Life (must register for an avatar)
10/12 Social search: SamePoint and others  
10/19 Google Second blog entry due
10/26 Video, audio, photos  
11/2 International (non-US) sources  
11/9 Docs: PDF, PPT, etc. Third blog entry due
11/16 Ethics and considerations in social tools: accuracy, participation, hacking, etc. Synchronous Elluminate session
11/30 CI sources in social tools: finding CI communities and information in the social web Fourth blog entry due
12/7 Bringing it all together and wrapup CI research project due

Note: No class 11/23

Late Assignments
Assignments that are up to one week late will only receive half credit. We will not accept any assignment more than 1 week late. Accommodations may be made in emergency cases when we are contacted in advance of the due date.

Textbooks and Readings

Other Required Readings
Other required readings will be posted to our Google Group on an ongoing basis. We will also provide other sources, readings and book citations.

Please be sure to check the Google Group in advance for discussion, assignments, etc. Much of the content and communication for this course will be through the Google Group.

Before the start of the class, please send us your email so we can invite you to sign up for Google Groups, visit the Google Group and complete the assignments outlined there.
Google Group:

Required Textbook:

  • Carr, M. M. (2003). Super Searchers on Competitive Intelligence. Cyberage Books. Available through Amazon: 0910965641. 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.