LIBR 210-10
LIBR 210-11
Reference and Information Services
Summer 2011 Greensheet

Professor Steve J. Tash

Other contact information: mobile (949) 683-7151 9am-7pm PDT
Office location:
Instant Messaging on Yahoo messenger.
Office Hours: Virtual office hours with email, cell phone and IM.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements

Course Assignments
iSchool eBookstore

Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course.

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to the world of reference and information services  provided in various settings. We will explore different methods and models of information service delivery; examine and evaluate key information sources in various formats and types; and discuss emerging issues and trends pertinent to information access and service. Major Topics (in no particular order) are:

  1. Reference sources
  2. Search strategies and tools
  3. Reference service models
  4. Library instruction
  5. Ethics and policies/standards of reference and information services
  6. Impact of technology

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 202 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the course, the students will:

  1. Acquaint themselves with core reference sources in multiple disciplines.
  2. Have an understanding of the impact of technology on reference interactions.
  3. Be familiar with issues and trends in reference and information services.
  4. Identify various types of reference sources (in multiple formats), including their characteristics and functions.
  5. Become familiar with the reference process and the characteristics of a successful reference interview.
  6. demonstrate an ability to evaluate a variety of reference programs and their components.
  7. have explored reference and information delivery (incl. bibliographic instruction) as a library service and function.

LIBR 210 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 proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities.
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations.
  • retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups.

Course Requirements

Course Calendar
Assignment due dates are posted at the ANGEL course site however; they are all "subject to change with fair notice".

Week Overview of Class Activities & Assignments Due Dates
Wk 1 Intro to Ref Work
Basic Search Techniques
Readings Text chap 1 & 3
DB Forum -Introduction
Wk 2 Reference Interview
Reference Children & YA
Text chap.2 & 15
DB Forum #1

Bibliographic Tools Assignment
Wk 3 Internet as a Reference Tool
text chap 13
Read updates to text for Chapters 5,7,12
DB Forum #2
Wk 4 Instruction and Information Literacy
text chap 16
Biographical Resources assignment
Wk 5 Future Information Service
Reference 2.0
text chap   20,21
DB Forum #3
Wk 6 Reader's Advisory
text chap 14
Library Field Evaluation
Wk 7 Special Populations & Needs
text chap 15
DB Forum #4
Wk 8 Ethics and Reference Work
text pages 179-183
Database Project
Wk 9 Selecting & Evaluating Reference Sources
text chap 17
Managing Reference Services
text chap 18
Final Reference Project
Wk 10 Service Assessment & Improvement
text chap 19
Instruction Ends
DB Forum #5

Assignment points/total

Discussion Board Forums 20 pts
Library Field Evaluation 15 pts
Bibliographic Resources 15 pts
Biographical  Tools 15 pts
Database project 20 pts
Final Reference project 15 pts
Total 100 points

Student work will be evaluated according to this criteria, it should:

  1. display familiarity with the appropriate literature and/or bibliographic tools
  2. show insight into the concepts and/or issues in question
  3. written work and online presentations should be neat and error-free
  4. quality of writing must be clear, direct, and correct
  5. quality of the organization-smooth, logical flow and content
  6. quality and amount of reflection, analysis, and evaluation
  7. demonstrate a degree of orginality

Above standard work is defined as clearly displaying one or more of the following criteria:

  1. originality in the approach to the assignment
  2. greater depth of analysis than either the visual presentation or the written assignment expects
  3. critical evaluation of readings comparing authors, sources or different viewpoints
  4. ability to organize information for oneself and others plus create tools for lifelong learning and knowledge retrieval
  5. applied readings and presentations to your own experience, compared them to other readings, etc.
  6. superior work, complete command of subject, unusual depth, great creativity or originality, multiple audio/visual and/or social network tools utilized, etc. (attainment far beyond the call of duty).

Student Expectations
For the purposes of this class, participation includes thoughtful contribution to online discussions and other online activities, assigned readings, email communication and your own research and writing and demonstration that you are making an effort to master the material covered in this class. You are expected to read and carefully consider all the readings, particpate fully in all activities and discussions during the class duration, as well as turning in assignments by the due dates.

It is important to pay attention to time management in order to complete an online course successfully. Although you can access the course materials online at any time, plan to set aside time each week to complete the readings and assignments. It is easy to get behind, so be organized, disciplined and self-motivated. Due dates for assignments are not negotiable. procrastinatin should be avoided. Please check the site regularly for announcements, assignments, discussion forum questions, etc. Assignments and course schedule are subject to change given fair notice. If that happens, you will be notified as soon as possible.  If you do not understand assignments, projects, etc., it is your responsbility to inform me. If you are having difficulty, please contact me early so that we can resolve problems. You may ask your classmates for help. You must complete all assignments to pass the course.

Late Assignments
Except for medical reasons or other instructor authorized tardiness no late assignments will be excepted. If granted an extension your assignment grade will be reduced 10% of total score per day late.

Course Assignments
All written assignments must be typed, double spaced, with a font of at least 12 points. They must also conform to APA style.

    • Library Field Evaluation  (15 points)
      Evaluating reference and information services from the user's perspective gives you a more complete view on reference service provision. You will submit a critical and analytical report. 
    • Biographical Resources (15 points)
      part of good information service is having an understanding of information resources: what they are, how they work, and what they include. In this assignment, you are responsbile for examining a variety of standard and common reference tools with instructor assignment questions in mind.
      Each student will  be looking to find quality resources, not just any sources you find for several personalities. Rataionale is to assist a provided library user who needs both factual information and evaluative information.
    • Bibliographic Resources (15 points)
      part of good information service is having an understanding of information resources: what they are, how they work, and what they include. In this assignment, you are responsbile for examining a variety of standard and common reference tools with instructor assignment questions in mind.
    • Final Reference Project (15 points)
      Three to five page paper on a specific user community with an annotated bibliography of useful resources in APA style. Course site will provide details.
    • Database Project (20 points)
      Each student will become thoroughly knowledgeable about one research database. The student will be able to objectively evaluate the database, in terms of its usability, searchability, appropriateness for particular users (undergraduate, graduate, advanced high school, etc).


  • Class Participation -Discussion Board Forum -1 Intro(1 pt)+(3 postings x 3 pts each=10 points subtototal + 2 additional postings worth 5 points each). Grand Total= 20 Points
    Class participation is an important part of this course. I have topics posted for the discussion board forums. I expect students to ask good questions about the topics in question and respond constructively to others' postings. Your participation can take the form of active listening that incorporate or builds on comments by other students, thoughtful questions, suggestions, addressing related issues, and making observations based on personal or professional experiences and/or class readings. Although positive reinforcement is good, participation that does not add to the discussion (e.g., comments like "Yes, I agree" and "good Point" and LOL will not be counted toward your participation grade.

    Responding to other people’s comments is encouraged, as long as you’re actually contributing something to the conversation. 

    In your own postings show evidence of critical reading of the material. Indicate which work you’re referring to and what the basis of your thought or opinion is.


Textbooks and Readings

Core Journals
Finally, you should begin to become familiar with professional journals that address reference and information service issues appropriate to your career plans, e.g.:

  • College & Research Libraries (Z671 .C6)
  • Internet Reference Services Quarterly
  • Journal of Academic Librarianship (Z671 .J58)
  • Knowledge Quest (Z675.S3 K56)
  • Medical Reference Services Quarterly (R118.2 .M4)
  • Public Libraries (Z673.A5 .P88)
  • Reference & User Services Quarterly (Z671 .R7)
  • The Reference Librarian (Z711 .R43x)
  • Reference Services Review (Z1035.1 .R43)

The call numbers listed above are drawn from the SJSU library catalog, but they should also help you to locate materials, if available, at any academic library to which you may have access. Each of the titles above is also available through the SJSU Electronic Journals List. 

Discussion Lists
Electronic discussion lists are an important part of professional dialogue and support for reference and information service librarians. All students in this class should subscribe to LIBREF-L, the largest electronic discussion list dedicated to issues in reference librarianship.


In addition to LIBREF-L, you will find a variety of electronic discussion lists dedicated to specific subject areas (e.g., history librarianship), to specialized service areas often administered as part of reference and information service programs (e.g., instructional services), and to the use of information technology as a means of delivering reference and information services. A sample of these additional lists can be found in the "External Links" section of the Blackboard course site. Students may be especially interested in DIG_REF, the discussion list dedicated to digital reference services.

No Textbooks For This Course.

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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