LIBR 202-15
Information Retrieval
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Richard V. Jackson
Phone: (562) 920-9450
Office hours: Online by appointment

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
SLIS e-Bookstore
LIBR 202 Resources
Online Resource
Supplemental Readings
Inmagic Download

Students must self-enroll in the Angel site for this course between January 20 and January 26. An access code for enrolling in the class Angel site will be distributed through My.SJSU to students who are registered for the class. Class begins on Angel on Wednesday, January 26.

Course Description

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

Course Format
This course is conducted entirely online. The Angel site for the course will be the central "meeting place" for the class. Much of the course content will be delivered in weekly lectures using Elluminate. A few of the lectures will have been pre-recorded, but most will be given as live sessions (which will also be recorded). Participation in the live sessions, which generally will last 45-90 minutes, is strongly encouraged; however, students who are unable to attend a live session will later be able to listen to its recording. For more information on Elluminate, see

Online interaction and collaboration among class members are important aspects of this course.  The learning experience is enriched through the sharing of ideas, experiences, and questions.  Two major assignments are done, in part, as group projects. 

Angel Information
Angel will be used to disseminate information for the class, including course-related documents, assignments, tests, announcements, etc. It will also serve as a forum for ongoing class discussion among students and communication between students and the instructor, and will be used to facilitate work in groups. Students are expected to monitor the Angel site frequently (at least 3-4 times a week, daily during group assignments) and to participate in its forums.

Course Prerequisites:

  • LIBR 203: Online Social Networking: Technology and Tools.  This is a mandatory 1 unit course that introduces students to the various e-learning tools used in the SLIS program. This course must be completed by all new SLIS students within the first 4 weeks of their first semester. For more information, see
  • DB/TextWorksAll students are required to download and install this database program early in the semester, and to use it for two assignments.  See the instructions at

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 the fundamental concepts of information retrieval and information-seeking behavior, and employ them in the design and evaluation of systems
  • Students will understand the problems inherent in the representation of information in a retrieval system, and be aware of the dominant models used in information retrieval, such as MARC, AACR2, LC Classification, LCSH, and Dublin Core
  • 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:

  • E. Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems
  • G. 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
  • J. Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors

Course Requirements

The assignments are designed so that the students will acquire and demonstrate the following skills:

  • Create a user model, and based on the needs identified, design descriptive and subject metadata for a collection and create a database
  • Create a controlled vocabulary and use it in records for a collection of scholarly articles
  • Search the databases created
  • Set performance criteria and, based on searches, evaluate the database
  • Describe fundamental concepts of information seeking behavior
  • Articulate information retrieval concepts in discussions

Grades for the course will be based on the following exercises, assignments, and tests, as well as points for participation in the Angel forums. These will be weighted according to the point scale shown below.  At the end of the semester, the total points received will be converted to a percentage, which will determine the student's letter grade for the course according to the standard grading scale used by the School.  Percentages are not rounded off.  For example, to obtain a grade of B or better (88% ), you must earn a total of at least 880 points.

Exercise #1: Attribute Elicitation
70 points
Assignment #1: Description and Database Design
200 points
Exercise #2: Classification
120 points
Assignment #2: Subject Analysis and Evaluation
260 points
300 points
Participation in class forums on Angel 50 points (5%)
Total points possible
1,000 points

Assignments #1 and #2 involve group work, with students collaborating online in teams typically of 4-5 members.

Grades will be posted on Angel, and students should monitor their progress.  Note that all exercises, assignments, and tests must be completed; failure to submit work will result in a failing grade regardless of the number points earned.  Incompletes will not be given, except under very extraordinary circumstances.

Course Calendar
A detailed schedule will be maintained on Angel. The course will follow a week-by-week schedule, and students must keep current with the progress of the course.  There will usually be one lecture given each week as a live session on Elluminate. These will generally occur on weekends at times to be determined after the start of the semester. In the early part of the semester, there will be two lectures scheduled each week, one pre-recorded and one live.  All live Elluminate lectures will be recorded for later listening.

Textbook and Readings

In addition to the textbook shown below, students are required to read at least 15 supplemental readings during the semester.  The readings, chiefly journal articles from the information science literature, are available online.  Some readings will be assigned; others may be chosen by the student from the list of available readings.

Required Textbooks:

  • Rowley, J. & Harley, R. (2008). Organizing knowledge: An introduction to managing access to information (4th ed.). Ashgate. Available through Amazon: 0754644316 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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