MARA 248-09
Standards and Structures for Records and Recordkeeping
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Tom Norris
Phone: 408-924-2729
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 intellectual control and the systems and products that establish it.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes:
At the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts underlying arrangement and description of records
  • define the intellectual control of records and distinguish it from the physical control of them, as well as salient concepts of custodial and post-custodial approaches to recordkeeping
  • define the different types of standards, information structures and technology models endorsed and used by the recordkeeping professions
  • demonstrate familiarity with major American and international archival representation standards such as ISAD(G)/ISAAR(CPF), representative description in the U.S. using DACS, machine-based representation using MARC, EAD/EAC, METS and other standards
  • create output-appropriate records descriptions using standards
  • describe the unique representation requirements of electronic records, and the metadata models developed to satisfy them
  • describe and cite implementations of the U.S. Dept. of Defense standard DOD 5015.2 for records management applications
  • articulate the development and cite implementations of international records management standards ISO 15489 and ISO 23081

This course helps satisfy the following MARA Core Competencies:

  • C. Understand the evolution of information recordkeeping systems in response to technological change
  • E. Understand the system of standards and structures endorsed and utilized by the recordkeeping professions, particularly in the area of digital assets management
  • H. Be conversant with current information technologies and best practices relating to records preservation and security

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.

Each assignment for MARA 248 is valued at 10 points.

  • Arrangement assignment (due Week 2). Drawing upon the theory presented in class, each student will devise a series level arrangement for a given group of records (provided by the instructor) and note this arrangement using common descriptive conventions.
  • Context description assignment (due Week 3).The student will research and write a basic contextual description for his/her group of records. This description will include standard descriptive elements as outlined in such standards as DACS and ISAD(G).
  • Authority control assignment (due Week 4). The student will utilize common authority controls to develop controlled access descriptors.
  • Finding aid assignment (due Week 6). Following standard professional guidelines and models, the student will design a finding aid for his/her group of records.
  • MARC cataloging assignment (due Week 7). Employing standard cataloging tools, the student will build a basic MARC record description for his/her group of records.
  • Metadata assignment (due Week 8). The student will identify other important and applicable data and metadata schemes for his/her group of records.
  • EAD assignment (due Week 11). Using descriptive work done in previous assignments for this class, the student will convert this information into an EAD data structure.
  • Electronic standards assignment (due Week 13). Using a series of scenarios provided by the instructor, students will determine applicable standards to consider within a given electronic document context.
  • Recordkeeping software assignment (due Week 15). The student will write a short paper that evaluates a given electronic recordkeeping application for its strengths and weaknesses and make a business case as to its adoption or rejection, using standard(s) developed for such evaluative purposes.

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.

There is no required text for this course.  Students will be provided a large number of readings and published standards documentation via ANGEL.  Please see the Course Calendar for readings and due dates.

Course Calendar

  • Week 1: Levels of arrangement and aggregation: classification schemes
  • Week 2: Describing context: the who, what, where, when, why, and how.
  • Week 3: More on context; Abstracting scope and content.
  • Week 4: Standardization of description: bibliographic and other models.
  • Week 5: Standardization, continued.
  • Week 6: Authority control concepts and authority records. Authority control for authors and functions.
  • Week 7: Access tools and their functions: finding aids. DACS/ISAD(G)/ISAAR et al.
  • Week 8: Networked information access: eliminating geographical and time limitations.
  • Week 9: From union databases to the World Wide Web: showing what we've got. Encoding standards for finding aids. Imaging standards.
  • Week 10: Functional requirements for evidence: viewing records as metadata-encapsulated information objects. Metadata standards.
  • Week 11: ISO 15489 – the international records management standard.
  • Week 12: ISO 23081 – Metadata requirements to satisfy ISO 15489.
  • Week 13: Other ERM and RIM standards.
  • Week 14: Electronic recordkeeping system standard DoD 5012.2; OAIS - Open Archive Information System.
  • Week 15: Recordkeeping software assignment due.

Textbooks and Readings

Required Readings (available online or posted on ANGEL):

Other resources as provided on ANGEL.

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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