LIBR 202-18
Information Retrieval
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Dr. David E. Gross
Home phone: 408.265.9329; use e-mail
Office Hours: Weekly via Elluminate, Tuesday, 7-8 p.m. Pacific time; or by arrangement via phone. 

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore
LIBR 202 Resources
Online Resource
Supplemental Readings
Inmagic Download

ANGEL Information: This course will be taught online using Angel. The Angel access code for this course will be sent to those enrolled in the class before January 24th using MySJSU. The Angel site will be open for self-enrollment in Angel by January 24th and you should enroll in Angel before January 26th, when the course starts.

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 MLIS 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

Course Requirements

Complete LIBR203: Online Social Networking: Technology and Tools
This is a mandatory short, self-paced online workshop on Angel that must be completed by all new SLIS students before the first day of classes. The access code for this course will be sent to new students via MySJSU. If you have questions about this course, e-mail Debbie Faires or Dale David

For more information, see,

Course Format
This course is online, taught using Angel. There are assigned readings in the required textbook, and chapters from the recommended text that will be available online so you don't need to buy the recommended text to read them, and other readings that will be available online. There will be weekly recorded lectures available as powerpoint slides with audio and lecture notes, and a file of the slides available for printing. Students can contact me using Angel email and post questions about the course in the Angel discussion forum and come to a weekly online office hour using Elluminate. I can be reached by telephone at a previously arranged time. I will attempt to reply to email or questions posted in Angel within 24 hours.

New content will be posted in Angel each week on Monday mornings and the class week runs from Monday through Sundays.  Regular discussion posting is required throughout the course with your thoughts about the readings, lectures, and other course content.

There will be two exams, a midterm that covers material in the first half of the course, and a final exam that covers material from the second half of the course. Each will include essay questions that cover important information retrieval concepts. Both exams are "open-book" and "take-home".

The course has two major assignments that cover important IR topics. The first one has both group and individual elements, while the other is an individual assignment. There are two exercises that are required which help prepare for assignments 1 and 2, and all will be graded.

The graded assignments with points available are:

Exercise 1:  Attribute Elicitation     70 points
Assignment 1:  Description & Database Design   230 points
Midterm Exam   150 points
Exercise 2:  Classification   100 points
Assignment 2:  Subject Analysis & Evaluation   250 points
Final Exam   150 points
Discusions Participation     50 points
TOTAL 1,000 points

The total number of points received for assignments and exams (see above) will be converted to a letter grade using the standard SJSU SLIS Grading Scale based on 100 points, converted to the 100 points scale by dividing by 10.

Assignment 1 includes small group activities and project deliverables, with 100 of the 230 points based on a group grade; the remaining points are based on individual assignments submitted separately.

All assignments are due on Sundays before midnight.  Late submissions will have your points earned reduced by 10% for being late. 

Textbooks and Readings

Please order the one required textbook from any online bookstore or directly from the publishers in time to have it by at least the second week of class. Required readings from the Recommended text will be available online, so you don't have to purchase the recommended text.

  • There will also be "Supplemental Readings" on electronic reserve.

Required Textbooks:

  • 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.

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