LIBR 202-10
Information Retrieval
Spring 2009Greensheet

Dr. Judy Weedman
Phone: (714) 278-2295
Fax: (714)278-5841
Office Location: 55 Pollak Library South, Fullerton
Office Hours: by appointment via email, chat, Elluminate, telephone, or in person

Course Links
Handout #1 (PDF)
Handout #2 (PDF)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Handout #3 (PDF)
Part 1
Part 2
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore
LIBR 202 Resources
Online Resource
Supplemental Readings
Inmagic Download

Please enroll for the Angel course between January 27th and January 30th. The first class “meeting” will be Friday, January 30th. The access enrollment code will be sent to you through my.sjsu by January 27th.   Materials for each week's class will be posted by 5 p.m. on Fridays.  Assignments will normally be due on Fridays as well. 

Two Mandatory Elluminate Meetings:  Saturday February 7th (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST), and Saturday, March 14th (10 a.m. to 1 p.,m. PST).  Please be sure to schedule these onto your calendars; they are required.

Course Description

Principles of information retrieval and their application to information systems and services. Emphasizing models of user information seeking behavior, human information processing and their relationship to retrieval models in information systems.

Course Prerequisites: Demonstrated computer literacy

Course Objectives

Student learning outcomes

  • Students will be able to design, query, and evaluate a database information retrieval system, using an appropriate user model
  • Students will be able to articulate fundamental concepts of information-seeking behavior and employ them in the design and evaluation of systems
  • Students will be able to define a set of terms reflecting fundamental concepts of information retrieval and use them in discussions of their projects for the class.
  • Students will understand metadata, both structure and representation, and be aware of dominant standards such as the MARC record, LC Classification, Dublin Core, and NISO 39-19.
  • Students will understand principles of good interface design and be able to evaluate interfaces using those principles.

LIBR 202 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems
  • 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
  • Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behavior

These additional SLIS Core Competencies are also ADDRESSED by the course:

  • Use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation, and organization of specific items or collections of information
  • 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

Weekly classes
Materials for each week’s class will be available on Fridays by 5 p.m. via Angel. Other course information about assignments, etc., may be found there as well. Please enroll for the Angel course between January27th and January 30th. The first class “meeting” is January 30th. By 5 p.m. that day, you’ll find a description of “how this class works” and the materials to read or view that constitute the first class. Look also at the “basic information” and “assignments” folders. The access enrollment code will be sent to you through my.sjsu by January 27th.

Elluminate Meetings
Two are scheduled , one for February 7th and one for March 14th  . Each will last from 10 to 1:00 PST.

The assignments are designed to provide the students to acquire and demonstrate the following skills:

  1. Create a user model, and based on the needs identified, design descriptive and subject metadata for a collection and create a database.
  2. Create a controlled vocabulary that adheres to a set of standards such as NISO Z39.19 and use it in creating records for a collection of scholarly articles.
  3. Search the databases created.
  4. Set performance criteria and, based on searches, evaluate the database.
  5. Evaluate one or more information retrieval interfaces.
  6. Describe fundamental concepts of information seeking behavior.
  7. Use information retrieval concepts in discussions.

The assignments are listed below along with the skills (see immediately above) that they address.

IR system design exercises
Attribute elicitation exercise required but not graded (pre-1,7)
Classification exercise required but not graded (pre-1,7)
Vocabulary design exercise required but not graded (pre-2,7)
Assignment #1
Descriptive metadata
350 points (1,pre-2,7)
Assignment #2
Vocabulary design & evaluation
350 points (1,2,3,4,7)
Midterm 150 points (1,2,7)
Final 150 points (1,4,5,6,7)
Total Points 1,000

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbooks:

  • Meadow, C. H., Boyce, B. R., Kraft, D. H. & Barry, C. L. (2007). Text information retrieval systems (3rd ed.). Academic Press. Available through Amazon: 0123694124. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Morville, P. (2005). Ambient findability: What we find changes who we become. O'Reilly Media. Available through Amazon: 0596007655. 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.