LIBR 210-03
Reference & Information Services 
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Mengxiong Liu
Phone: (408) 808-2089
Office Hours: Call or e-mail for appointment

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Students must self-enroll for this course on ANGEL during these dates: January 21-28. You will be required to use a password access code which I will provide using the MYSJSU Messaging system.

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.

Course Description
This course is designed to introduce you to the world of reference and information services. We will explore different methods and models of information service delivery; examine and evaluate key information sources of various types and formats; and discuss vital issues pertinent to the provision of reference service.

Major themes will include:

  • The history of reference service
  • Information seeking behavior
  • The reference process (including the reference interview)
  • Evaluation of reference interactions
  • Information sources and their use (including effective search strategies)
  • Evaluation of reference sources
  • Reference service to diverse populations
  • The role of instruction in reference service
  • Reference ethics and reference policies
  • Trends in reference and information services

Course Objectives

  • To understand the problem-solving process, and the concept and functions of library reference services;
  • To identify the reference tools in all formats employed by librarians and information professionals;
  • To develop skills to answer a variety of reference questions, and effectively conduct reference interviews;
  • To understand current trends and ongoing issues in reference and information services;
  • To examine how to provide effective reference services in the digital age.

LIBR 210 supports the following SLIS Core Competency:

  • 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:

  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies
  • retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups

Course Requirements

Course Format
This class is conducted online, using ANGEL and Elluminate. There are 2 required Elluminate meetings. Check the course ANGEL for time and dates.

ANGEL will be used extensively in this course. The ANGEL site for this class will open for self-enrollment one week before the first day of class in the fall semester. I will provide you with a password access code using the MySJSU messaging system. A number of class discussions and activities will take place via ANGEL. It is crucial that you log in every few days during the semester to check the announcements.

We will meet in Elluminate twice during the semester. If this is your first class using Elluminate, please complete an orientation session prior to our first meeting. You will need to have a microphone attached to your computer in order to participate; it is recommended that you log in at least 10 minutes before class to check the audio. A list of training times and other helpful information can be found in the SLIS Student guide to using Elluminate at

As a graduate student, you are expected to:

  • Read and carefully consider all readings.
  • Fully participate in all class activities and discussions.
  • Complete all assignments on time.
  • Inform the instructor if you have an illness or emergency which requires you to miss class or to request an extension on an assignment. If a legitimate emergency should arise, we will negotiate future action; otherwise, there will be a penalty for work turned in after the assigned date.

More details on the assignments, and a list of due dates, will be provided in ANGEL.

Assignment % of final grade
Reference interaction paper
Reference collection paper
Reference tools exercise
Observation & Summary report
Class participation

Your work will be evaluated according to four criteria; it should:

  • Be clearly written or presented
  • Display familiarity with the appropriate literature and/or bibliographic tools
  • Show insight into the concepts and/or issues in question
  • Demonstrate a degree of originality

Textbooks and Readings


Required Textbooks:

  • Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2006). Reference and information services in the 21st century: An introduction. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555705634. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Bopp, R. E., & Smith, L. C. (Eds.). (2011). Reference and Information Services: An Introduction (4th ed.). Libraries Unlimited. Available as free eBook through King Library. 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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