LIBR 245-01
LIBR 245-10
Advanced Online Searching
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Amelia Kassel
Virtual Office: Contact via e-mail

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Resources
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

The Greensheet is a course syllabus which may be revised before or during the semester.

The first day of class is Wednesday, January 26th. The class is online via Angel. Enroll at the Angel site between Monday, January 24th and Thursday, January 27th. You will need an access code, which will be sent to all registered students from MySJSU on Monday, January 24th.  Late enrollments are not accepted. 

Course Description

This course offers opportunities to improve online searching techniques, deepen understanding of an array of online resources, and investigate advanced problems in online research. Students will use major fee-based database services, complex search strategies, and the Internet.  You will examine issues in electronic information retrieval and delivery such as quality of information, formats, deliverables, copyright, cost, and current awareness services.  Students will complete assigned readings, design and carry out a research project, and submit an original paper about a contemporary online searching issue of interest to you. The course is taught as a “seminar”, which is defined as:

  • A form of small group instruction combining independent research and class discussions under the guidance of a professor.
  • A class that has a group discussion format rather than a lecture format
  • Most commonly offered as upper-level and graduate courses, these are relatively small classes designed to facilitate intensive study of specific subject areas.

As a seminar course, students will be expected to conduct projects independently according to guidelines described below and take initiative in making contributions to class discussion from reading assignments and individual project work, minimally, on a weekly basis.


  • LIBR 244
  • Knowledge of and skills in searching two of the Big Three (Dialog, Factiva, and LexisNexis).  Student passwords will be made available early in the semester and students will be expected to review and work with the Big Three and other recommended sources.

Course Objectives

LIBR 245 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems
  • 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

In addition, this section 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
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations.

Student Learning Outcomes
Students will improve knowledge and skills related to:

  • Fee-based database aggregator systems
  • Internet search engines and other search tools
  • Effective search strategies and techniques for conducting complex searches

Course Requirements

Students are required to complete the following assignments:

  1. Readings:  Read required books, articles, or other sources, some of which will be assigned during the semester.
  2. Class Discussion: Students are required to check Angel daily and participate in online discussions once weekly (minimally) by adding thoughtful, substantive comments or questions that relate to the reading or other assignments. Detailed class discussion requirements will be posted.  Class Discussion is 20% of the grade. Lack of satisfactory participation will automatically result in a grade below a B.
  3. Exercises:  Dialog How Do I assignment Due Monday, February 28th, 11:59 p.m. Pacific.  Instructions will be posted to Angel.  
  4. Midterm: Submit a case study or research scenario containing online research from multiple online resources including the Web and fee-based services. Students may find a client (student, professor, family member, friend, etc.) who has an information need or research a topic of interest.  Projects will include the following components and steps:

    • Interview your client and/or prepare a statement about the research question and its background including the purpose or goals of the request.
    • Identify, evaluate, and list potential sources of information
    • Develop, outline, and include an effective overall search strategy.
    • Conduct the search in as many databases as you think necessary.
    • For those with a client, ask them to evaluate success of the search.
    • Conduct research using the appropriate online systems and website protocols and search engines.
    • Summarize your steps.
    • Analyze and summarize results.
    • Include the query, interview questions, search statements, relevant search results, and the client’s comments about the results in your reports.
    • Prepare and upload a PowerPoint slide presentation based on your midterm report to the Angel class discussion area for classmates to review and comment on. Due Friday, March 25th by 11.59 pm Pacific; also submit your midterm report and slide presentation to me at Use the title or subject of your midterm as the Word file name and in the subject line of the email.
  5. Final Report:  Write an original paper on a significant issue in the online information environment. Topics can be gleaned from required reading and class discussion or students may explore other areas with the instructor's approval. The paper should be 15 to 20 pages inclusive of a list of references. Follow APA standards and all the rules of good grammar and syntax.  Use Times Roman 12 or Arial 11 typeface and include an abstract.  Use at least ten sources within the past two years to current.  Additionally, older sources are acceptable as long as you also include the required ten sources. You're expected to use the databases and sources worked with during the semester to research your final report.  All papers will be evaluated on the basis of their fit with the objectives of the course and assignments, your stated goals, normal standards of organization and composition, and quality of analysis and presentation. The final report is due the last day of class, May 17th by 11:59 pm Pacific. Submit your work in a Word file named with the title of your report to  Use the title of your paper in the subject line of your email.

Additional Requirements and Comments

  • Successful course participants will post a brief bio and statement of purpose to the discussion board during the first week of class.
  • Extra credit assignments are not accepted.
  • No incompletes will be awarded – no exceptions.

Grading incorporates consideration of creativity, thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and originality.

Participation in class discussion on Angel is 20% of the grade. Lack of satisfactory participation will automatically result in a grade below a B.

Weekly Class Discussion and Initiative 20 points
Dialog How Do I Exercises 15 points
Midterm Assignment 25 points 
Midterm Power Point Presentation 15 points
Final Paper 25 Points

Textbooks and Resources

Required Articles

Required Textbooks:

  • Berkman, R. (2005). The skeptical business searcher. Information Today. Available through Amazon: 0910965668. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Devine, j. & Egger-Sider, F. (2009). Going Beyond Google: The Invisible Web in Learning and Teaching. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555706339 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Morville, P. & Callender, J. (2010). Search Patterns. O'Reilly. Available through Amazon: 0596802277 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

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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