LIBR 210-11
Reference and Information Services
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Johanna Tunon
Other contact information: Home phone (954) 792-6814 
Office location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Office hours: By appointment by phone or via Elluminate. NOTE: I live in Florida so I am on Eastern Standard time.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Blackboard will not be used because SJSU is switching to Angel. The site will be ready by Jan. 10 when you can enroll. I will email you with your access enrollment code for your class site. Links with tutorials on how to use Angel are provided above.

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.

Full Description: This course provides an overview of reference and information services. We will be examining and evaluating key information sources in a variety of formats and becoming familiar with professional resources. Because the field of librarianship is changing rapidly, we will be exploring various methods and models for delivering information and examining how emerging trends and ways to use new ideas and skills may impact the future of reference services and access to information.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 202 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, students will:

  • Have a developed understanding of the reference process
  • Use basic reference tools and search techniques to answer a wide range of questions;
  • Conduct an effective reference interview;
  • Make the connection between user needs, information resources, and the relevant information technology;
  • Assess the quality and usefulness of reference sources;
  • Evaluate reference services that address the needs of today’s dynamic and cultural diverse society;
  • Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction;
  • Be familiar with current issues and trends in reference service;
  • Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.

LIBR 210 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • 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:

  • Retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups;
  • 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;
  • Evaluate programs and services on specified criteria.

Course Requirements

Assignment 1: Mini exercises 20% (2.5% X 8 weeks) Due May 10
Assignment 2: Ref Interview/Pathfinder 20% Due April 2
Assignment 3: BI session via Elluminate 10% Weeks 12-15 (April 15, 19, 29, May 5)
Assignment 4: Resource blog postings 15% (1.5% X 10 postings) Due May 3
Assignment 5: Articles  15% (3% X 5) Due May 10
Participation/Discussion topics 20% Due May 13

Course Calendar

Week   Overview of Class Activities and Assignments Due Dates 
Wk 1 • Readings Chapter 1: History and Varieties of Reference Services
• Discussion forums
• Wiki posting for choosing dates for Elluminate sessions and topics for BI session for Assignment 3
Jan. 28
Wk 2 • Readings – Chapter 2: Ethical Aspects of Reference Service and Chapter 13: Selection and Evaluation of Reference Sources
• Discussion forum(s)
Feb. 4
Wk 3 • Readings – Chapter 3: The Reference Interview
Elluminate session – tentative date: 
Feb. 11 10 PM (PT)/7 PM (ET)
• Professional tools resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)
Feb. 11
Wk 4

• Readings – Chapter 14: Directories
(telephone, governmental, educational and institutional, association and foundation, professional, corporate/ trade/business, serials, zip codes, specialized)
• Mini exercise
• Directories resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)

Feb. 18
Wk 5 • Readings – Chapter 4: Bibliographic Control, Organization of Info, and Search Strategies
Chapter 15: Almanacs, Yearbooks, and Handbooks
• Mini exercise
• Almanacs, yearbooks, and handbooks resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)
Feb. 25
Wk 6 • Readings – Chapter 10: Evaluation of Reference Services and Chapter 16: Biographical Sources
Elluminate session – tentative date: 
Monday March 2: 10 PM (PT)/ 7 PM (ET)
• Mini exercise
• Biographical resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)
Mar. 4
Wk 7

• Readings – Chapter 5: Electronic Resources for Reference and Chapter 17: Dictionaries
• Dictionaries resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)
• Post Library 2.0 application article in discussion forum

Mar. 11
Wk 8 • Readings – Chapter 6: Understanding Electronic Information Systems for Reference and Chapter 18: Encyclopedias
• Mini exercise
• Encyclopedias resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)
Mar. 18
Wk 9 Spring Break  
Wk 10 • Readings – Chapter 7: Access-Related Reference Services
• Mini exercise
• Search engines resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)
Apr. 1
Wk 11 • Readings – Chapter 8: Instruction
Chapter 19: Geographical Sources
Assignment 2 (Reference Interview/Pathfinder)
• Geographical resource blog posting
• Discussion forum(s)
Apr. 8
Wk 12 • Readings – Chapter 9: Reference Service Improvement: Staff Orientation, Training, and Continuing Education
Chapter 20: Bibliographic Sources
• Mini exercise
• Bibliographic resource blog posting
Assignment 3: BI/Electronic Databases Activity presentations via Elluminate – tentative date Wednesday, April 15, 10 pm PT/ 7 pm ET
• Discussion forum(s)
Apr. 15
Wk 13 • Readings – Chapter 21: Indexes and Abstracts
• Mini exercise
• Indexes resource blog posting
Assignment 3: BI/Electronic Databases Activity presentations with Elluminate – tentative date Sunday, April 19, 5 pm PT/2 pm ET
• Discussion forum(s)
Apr. 22
Wk 14 • Readings -- Chapter 22: Government Documents and Statistics Sources
• Mini exercise
• Government documents and statistical resource blog posting
Assignment 3: BI/Electronic Databases Activity presentations via Elluminate -- tentative date Wednesday, April 29, 10 pm PT/ 7 pm ET
• Discussion forum(s)
Apr. 29
Wk 15 • Readings -- Chapter 11: Organizing, Delivering, and Managing Reference Services
• Assignment 3: BI/Electronic Databases Activity presentations via Elluminate -- tentative date Tuesday, May 5, 8 pm PT/ 5 pm ET
• Assignment 4 -- All resource blog postings need to be posted by Sunday, May 3 for grading.

• Discussion forum(s)
May 6
Wk 16

• Readings – Chapter 12: Reference Services for Specific Populations pp. 279-307
Assignment 1 -- All mini exercises must be posted by Sunday, May 10, for grading.
Assignment 5 -- All articles must be posted by Sunday, May 10, for grading.
• Discussion forum(s)

May 10
  Course ends: May 13

 * These due dates are subject to change with fair notice. 

Description of Assignments and Grading Rubrics:

  • Assignment 1: Mini Exercises 20% (2.5% X 8 weeks)
    In eight out of the sixteen weeks of class (Weeks 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14), we will have mini exercises that will have you actually look for appropriate sources to information quest questions or examine specific types of resources. You will email these resources to me using the Angel email system. The activities will be graded using the following criteria:
    Grading Rubric:
    • Content -- Appropriate resources, print and electronic, to use to respond to specific information need were identified.
    • Appropriate sources -- Specific information was located through the use of a variety of print and appropriate electronic reference resources to completely answer information requests. Only authoritative reference resources on the Web were utilized.
    • If the answer for a question was not located, the student demonstrated due diligence by providing at least five appropriate authoritative sources that were checked for the answer.
    • Correct grammar and writing mechanics
  • Assignment 2: Reference Interview/Pathfinder 20% Due April 2
    Assignment 2 has two parts. You will need to conduct a reference interview with someone who has an information need of some kind. It might be that the individual is looking for an answer to a personal question, but you can also talk to a teacher or librarian who would like to help patrons with a specific type of question. You will need to conduct a reference interview to identify the nature and focus of the information need. In one page, describe your interview using what you learned about the process in the Bopp and Smith text as well as other readings and discussions in the class. In the second part of the assignment, you will develop a 1-2 page pathfinder to help the individual find relevant resources on the topic of interest.
    Grading Rubric:
    • The description of the reference interview demonstrated a solid grasp of how to correctly conduct a reference interview.
    • The information need of the patron was clearly identified in the reference interview.
    • The pathfinder addressed the patron’s identified information needs.
    • The pathfinder was attractive and appropriate for the age and ability level of the user(s).
    • The pathfinder identified a variety of appropriate resources for the information need.
    • The pathfinder organized the information in a clear and concise manner.
    • Both the description of the reference interview and the pathfinder used correct grammar and writing mechanics.
  • Assignment 3: BI Session via Elluminate 10% Weeks 12-15
    (April 15, 19, 29, May 5)

    Assignment 3 is designed to give students the opportunity to use Elluminate for a short (5-7 minute) introduction to a SJSU database. In addition to giving students to opportunity to teach in an online environment, the sessions also provide the rest of the class with an introduction to some relevant databases that they might not otherwise become familiar with. I have requested student assistants to help with any questions about using Elluminate, but it will be up to the individual students to develop their own lesson plan and any needed supplemental instructional materials such as a handout or Web resource. Students are encouraged to talk with SJSU librarians about their database choices.
    Grading Rubric:
    • The student presenter introduced him or herself and explained the goals for the instructional session.
    • Instructional session was well organized and covered the major points about the selected database. The student presenter demonstrated how to use the database as time permitted.
    • Elluminate was used appropriately for the purposes of the instructional session.
    • The student presenter presented the materials clearly and succinctly.
    • The student presenter interacted with the others in the class, answered questions, and encouraged interaction as time permitted.
    • The student presenter was knowledgeable about the database selected.
    • At least one handout, Web resource, or other instructional aid was provided to supplement the instruction.
  • Assignment 4: Resource Blog Postings 15% (10 postings X 1.5%)
    Weekly postings due by the last day of week
    All Blog Postings for Assignment 4 due May 3

    The resource blogs postings (Weeks 3-8, 10-14) will give you an opportunity to explore various types of resources, and the focus most weeks will be on both print and electronic resources so that you will have a better grasp of when it is more appropriate to use one format or the other. Post your information about the two types of resources and include the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost (if appropriate) of your selected resource. Also include imprint/publication information (name of publisher, place, and date of publication), frequency, the audience, uses, limitations, and a description of why the resource was selected. Be sure to read pp. 312 – 315 in the Bopp and Smith text (3rd ed.) before starting work on this assignment as well as the evaluation and selection sections in Chapters 14-22 for the relevant weeks.
    Grading Rubric:
    • One free Web source and one reference resource in print or electronic format is provided for each category. The search engines topic is the one exception where only a free Web source is required.
    • Information about the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost (if appropriate) of the resources were accurate, well organized, and concise.
    • Student contributed substantive comments to the discussion about the relative merits of the two types of resources.
    • Any postings to the Course-Related Resources section would be considered a plus!
  • Assignment 5: Articles 15% (3% X 5)  All article postings due by May 10
    Five articles are to be posted over the course of the semester in the weekly discussions if the article pertains to the topic under discussion or in the Course-Related Resources discussion area. When all articles have been posted,
    2 research articles (post one of the research articles for Week 15’s discussion topic)
    2 best practices/case studies articles
    1 article on a Library 2.0 application (post during Week 7)
    Grading Rubric
    • Five appropriate and relevant articles were located including two research articles, two best practices or case study articles, and one article on a Library 2.0 application.
    • The summary of the articles provided an adequate description of the article.
    • The relevancy of the article was made clear.
    • Correct grammar and writing mechanics
  • Participation 20%
    Participation is an important part of the class and can take a variety of forms throughout the course including the Elluminate classroom sessions and participation on various topics posted in the discussion board throughout the term. It can take the form of active listening that incorporates or builds on comments by other students, thoughtful questions, suggestions, addressing related issues, and making observations based on personal experience and/or professional readings.
    Grading Rubric
    • Content – Comments and questions are substantive and relate to the topic. Your responses were relevant to the topics addressed in the class and show that you were prepared for the class discussion and were applying the principles learned in the class text.
    • Organization -- Comments are presented in logical manner and concise.
    • Knowledge – Comments reflect knowledge about research and your readings in the text book, your postings in the reading blog, and any other professional literature. Support your comments with concrete evidence when possible.
    • Active listening – Incorporates or building off the comments of others in class participation.
    • Used the professional literature and your text to support comments
    • Substantive input/comments/questions/feedback for other students
    • Postings with relevant resources that you want to share with the class in the Course-Related Resources section would be considered a plus!

* The details of the asssignments and grading rubrics are subject to minor adjustments with fair notice.

Course Grading
All work is due by the date listed. If you are unable to complete the work by the assigned date, you need to email me to make alternative arrangements. No work will be accepted after the last day of class unless arrangements have been made in writing and approved for an incomplete. 

Check the grading rubrics with class assignments before submitting assignments to be sure that you are addressing all of the elements that should be included in the assignments.

Textbooks and Readings

The Bopp and Smith text, Reference and Information Services (4th ed.), was originally supposed to come out in 2007, but that was pushed back to 2008. However, the bookstore has been unable to get copies to date so we will have to use the third edition. If anyone does obtain the more current version of the text, that is good since the resources listed will be more up to date. Students using the 3rd edition can also see some of the updated information at

Information about additional readings from online articles, Web resources, and videos  will be posted as the semester progresses, but there will be no additional textbooks for the class that you need to purchase.

Required Textbooks:

  • Bopp, R. E., & Smith, L. C. (2001). Reference and information services: An introduction. (3rd ed.). Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1563086247. 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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