LIBR 256-11
Archives and Manuscripts
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Jennifer Martinez Wormser
Office Location: Off Campus
Office Hours: Before and after each class meeting or by appointment

Course Links
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Students self-enroll for the Angel component of this course with the use of a PIN distributed via mySJSU.

Course Description

This class will provide an introduction to the theory and practice of managing manuscript and archival collections, including personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished materials. Topics covered include manuscript and records acquisition, appraisal, arrangement, description, reference, management and preservation.

Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 202, 204

Course Objectives

Student Learning Objectives
This course strives to teach the principles, theories and current practices of managing and understanding archival and manuscript material so that by the end of the semester students should have an understanding of the following:

  • The foundations of archival theory;
  • Fundamental archival skills and methods in the management of archival and manuscript material;
  • The application of diverse technologies to the management of archival and manuscript material to further intellectual control and access;
  • Preservation standards and techniques;
  • Advocacy and leadership in the archival profession and its future.

These learning objectives will be achieved through the following methods:

  • Completion and comprehension of the assigned readings;
  • Participation in class discussion and activities (both online and in person);
  • Successful completion of three writing assignments/projects;
  • Successful completion of one critical paper of 20-25 pages on an aspect of archival theory, practices, history, or principles.

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

Class Hours
Saturday and Sunday, February 28 & March 1, 2009

CSU Fullerton campus, PLS 68

Class Site Visit
The class will meet for a site visit at the National Archives - Pacific Region facility in Laguna Niguel, California, on a Friday afternoon during the course of the semester (specific date and time to be announced on Angel)

Because our class meets on few occasions during the semester, attendance at and participation in discussions and in-class projects is vital to successful completion of this course.

Part of the online portion of our class will involve use of the Blackboard Discussion Board. Be prepared to check the Discussion Board at least two or three times a week, as you may see the following:

  • Questions or discussion concerning assigned readings
  • Recent newsworthy events related to archives and manuscripts
  • Discussion concerning a particular archival function
  • Links to and discussion about interesting documents or collections
  • Archival humor 

Readings are assigned per the course calendar below to further class discussion (both online and in person) and to aid you in the successful completion of your assignments. Do not be deterred by what at first glance may appear to be an extensive reading list, as closer examination of the average page count for each week indicates study appropriate to graduate-level coursework. Although I would hope that many of you keep this list of readings as a ready-reference bibliography to consult in the course of your professional careers, odds are that in the future you will not have the opportunity to read these materials with the same dedication of time and energy as you have today. Absorb and enjoy them, as best you can.

There will be a survey conducted via Angel (see “Assignments” section) at the beginning of the class.

There will be three writing assignments and/or projects assigned during this course which will often serve as discussion points for the class (both online and in person) and will also provide students with hands-on and administrative components of various aspects of archival work.

Examples of these small writing assignments and/or projects may include: creating a budget for a start-up archival program, evaluating websites, creating a finding aid, evaluating current job postings for archival positions, or comparing the preservation requirements of different media.

You will have approximately four weeks to complete each of these assignments; they will appear on Angel under the “Assignments” section and are to be turned in via the Gradebook on Angel per the dates and times specified in the "Deadlines" section of Angel.

Final Paper
Each student will be expected to write a critical paper of 20-25 pages on an aspect of archival theory, practices, history, or principles. Research subjects may be related to or derived from topics discussed as part of the course, but the paper should provide a more in-depth analysis of the issue or topic at hand and make use of additional readings beyond those assigned as part of the class. Papers will be graded on the thoroughness of the student’s research, clarity of analysis and writing, an indicated mastery of the subject matter, and professional presentation (proper citations, notes, grammar, etc.).

Percentage Weight Assigned to Class Assignments

Writing assignments and projects (3 @ 20% each) 60%
Final Paper 26%
Survey 2%
Interview an archivist 4%
Participation  8%
Total 100%

Penalty for Late or Missed Work
Late work will be penalized by 10% for every day which passes after the stated deadline. After three days (36 hours after the stated deadline passes), no credit will be given for the assignment.

For example, your four writing assignments are all due on specified Sunday afternoons no later than 1:00pm. Sending an assignment after 1:00pm will result in a -10% penalty, whether it is sent later that day at 3:30pm or at 8:00pm. If the assignment has still not been received by 1:00pm the following Monday morning (24 hours after the stated due date and time), the penalty will rise to -20%. If the assignment has not been received by 1:00pm the following Tuesday morning (36 hours after the stated due date and time), then no credit will be received for the assignment.

I will endeavor to respond to your email correspondence during the course of the semester within 48 hours and will notify the class as a whole if circumstances arise which prevent me from being unable to do so. Each of your submitted assignments and final paper will be returned to you with a completed online form which provides individualized and meaningful comments and feedback as well as your grade in order to help further your learning process.

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbooks:

  • Daniels, M., & Walch, T. (1984). Modern Archives Reader. National Archives and Records Administration. Available through Amazon: 0911333126. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hunter, G. S. (2003). Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: A How-To-Do-It Manual. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555704670. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Jimerson, R. C. (2000). American Archival Studies. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 0931828414. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • 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

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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