LIBR 284-04
LIBR 284-13
Seminar in Archives and Records Management: Special Collections in a Web 2.0 World
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Lynne M. Thomas
Other contact information:Additional contact info available by request; please e-mail both instructors with questions; we strive to respond within 24 hours.
Office Hours: by appointment
Beth M. Whittaker
Other contact information:Additional contact info available by request; please e-mail both instructors with questions; we strive to respond within 24 hours.
Office Hours: by appointment

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

ANGEL Information: This course uses ANGEL. Students can enroll for this course beginning on [Date].  You are responsible for creating the site so begin with a date by which you will have the site ready. To obtain the access enrollment code for this class site, [go here] (this is usually through a message you send to them through My.SJSU).

Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to the challenges and rewards of managing special collections today. Archives, rare books, manuscripts, and other formats will be discussed within the context of collection development and management, access, ownership, digital delivery, and preservation. Administration of special collections operations will also be a focus. Students will gain an understanding of the historical basis of special collections librarianship, as well as a sense of where the field is going in the near future.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 202, 204 required. Other prerequisites may be added depending on content.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the past, present, and future of the special collections field, and its relation to librarianship as a whole
  • Explain the similarities and differences between special collections, archives, and museums
  • Critique and create library policies and procedures as they relate to special collections work
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of the history of the book through interpretation of special collections resources for general audiences

LIBR 284 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • compare the environments and organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice
  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use
  • apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing/advocacy
  • use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users; understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings;
  • retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations
  • evaluate programs and services on specified criteria
  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities

Course Requirements

Course Calendar
January 26-May 17th

  • Week One: Introduction and Overview of Special Collections 
  • Week Two: What “Rare Book People” assume you know: Bibliography, Bibliophily, and History of the Book: a crash course.
  • Assignment 1, due Feb. 2
  • Weeks Three & Four: Collection Development (acquisitions, purchases, gifts, records management)
  • Week Five: “Rare book cataloging” & classification
  • Week Six:  Collection Management
  • Assignment 2, due March 2
  • Week Seven & Eight: Outreach & Instruction
  • Week Nine: Preservation Week: From Paper to Digital
  • Assignment 3, due March 23
  • Spring break, March 28-April 1st
  • Week Ten: Special Collections Administration
  • Week Eleven: Fundraising: Donor relations & grantwriting
  • Week Twelve: Copyright in Special Collections
  • Assignment 4, due April 30
  • Week Thirteen: Special collections vs. Archives vs. Museums vs. Historical Societies
  • Week Fourteen: The Future of Special Collections
  • Week Fifteen: Wrap-up; Final student presentations w/peer commentary
  • Assignment 5, due May 11.

Dates subject to change with 2 weeks advance notice.

Course Grading

  • Assignments are due at 5pm on the due date given.
  • Assignment 1: “What have we gotten ourselves into?” Perception vs. Reality (10 points) [Class discussion on ANGEL discussion board]
  • Assignment 2: Collection development plan critique (20 points)
  • Assignment 3: Book Talk / Online Exhibit / Social Media Evaluation (20 points)
  • Assignment 4: Advocacy document / Grant application analysis / Copyright discussion (20 points) [GROUP PROJECT]
  • Assignment 5: Expanded version of one of the previous assignments (30 points=25 points for individual project +5 points for peer review of other students' projects)
  • Extra credit option: Students can complete an in-person visit (as a patron) to a local special collections or rare book room department and write a report based upon their experiences (10 points)
  • Penalty (if any) for late or missed work: Late work will be docked one letter grade for each 24 hour period it is late after the due date.

Textbooks and Readings


Additional readings for each lesson will be provided through the ANGEL system as each lesson is opened up for use.

Required Textbooks:

  • Whittaker, B. & Thomas, L. (2009). Special Collections 2.0: New Technologies for Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archival Collections . Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591587204 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.