LIBR 202-03
Information Retrieval
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Lori Lindberg

Greensheet Links
Course Requirements
Textbooks and Readings 
Course Assignments 
Course Outline
D2L Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore
LIBR 202 Resources
Online Resource
Supplemental Readings
Inmagic Download

D2L Information: Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course. The course will be automatically available to students on January 25th, 2012.

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.

This course introduces the intellectual foundations of information organization and retrieval: conceptual modeling, semantic representation, vocabulary and metadata design, classification, and standardization, as well as information organization and retrieval practices, technology, and applications, including an introduction to computational processes for analyzing information in both textual and non-textual formats. Students will learn how information organization and retrieval is carried out by professionals, authors, and users; by individuals in association with other individuals, and as part of business processes in an enterprise and across enterprises.

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 assignments for the class.
  • Students will understand metadata, both structure and representation, and be aware of dominant standards such as the MARC record, LC Classification, Dewey Decimal Classification 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 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

These additional MLIS Core Competencies are also supported by the course:

  • Use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation, and organization of specific items or collections of information
  • 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
  • Use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;

Course Requirements

Complete LIBR 203 - Online Social Networking: Technology and Tools (if not already done)

This is a mandatory short, self-paced online workshop on D2L that must be completed by all new SLIS students before February 22 for Spring 2012. Enrollment and access information 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.

Listen to the weekly recorded lecture on Elluminate, read all readings.

Complete three progressive group assignments, two quizzes, one group presentation, one final exam and participate in weekly discussion on D2L.

For a course of this nature, you can expect 9-12 hours of work weekly.

Course Assignments and Grading

The course is structured as a series of Monday-Friday weeks of 5 days (with the exception of Week 1 and holiday weeks). Each group assignment is due on the Friday of its week, by 11:59 PM in the Dropbox created for it on the D2L site. The two Quizzes and Final Exam will come available on the Monday morning of their week, at 9:00 AM PST, are due Friday at 11:59 PM PST, and will be administered entirely in D2L. The Group Presentations will be given one evening during week 14, so please be sure to respond to the Doodle poll as to your availability for that week no later than Week 10 so we can plan the meeting. The Doodle poll URL will be available on D2L the first day of classes and will remain available through Week 10.

Information and specifications for each assignment will be available under the LIBR 202 Administrative Documents module on the D2L site for this course. The Controlled Vocabulary (assignment #1), Database Structure (assignment #2), Database Query (assignment #3) and Class Presentation assignments are group assignments. Assignments #2 and #3 involve the download and use of DB/TextWorks as a testbed application of what you are learning in class.  You will receive your group listing on the first day of the course, and will work with your group for all three assignments. You may "meet" using any viable communication resource you please, such as Blackboard Collaborate and/or PBWorks, among others.

Assignments are:

  • Controlled Vocabulary assignment (group), due Week 4 (15 points)
  • Quiz 1, due Week 5 (10 points)
  • Database Structure assignment (group), due Week 8 (15 points)
  • Quiz 2, due Week 10 (10 points)
  • Database Query assignment (group), due Week 12 (15 points)
  • Class Presentation (group), due Week 14 (10 points)
  • Final Exam, due Week 15 (15 points)
  • Course Participation (includes group participation and D2L discussion) (10 points)

Course grade is determined upon the accumulation of 100 possible points.

Course Outline

This course is organized into three major Parts:

  • Part 1- The Organizing System: Organizing information for effective retrieval
  • Part 2- Understanding the User: Information Seeking and Information Behavior
  • Part 3- Utilizing the Organizing System: querying and evaluation

**Your first Part's readings plus Week 6 of Part 2 are posted here for your review ahead of the start of term.  Week 7 readings forward will be available in each week's respective module on D2L.**

Part 1 - The organizing system: Organizing information for effective retrieval

Week 1 (1/25-27): Course overview; The organizing system.

From the LIBR 202 online resource site on the iSchool website (link above, too), access and read the pages under Introduction: To the Class, To Information Retrieval

Then, read: Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think," The Atlantic Monthly, July 1945, and

Rowley/Hartley, Chapters 1 and 2.

When D2L is available, immmediately follow with:

Gemmell, J., Bell, G. and Lueder, R. (2006). MyLifeBits: a personal database for everything. Communications of the ACM, 49(1).

That should start some interesting discussion.

Week 2 (1/30-2/3): Carriers of information and information characteristics. Describing documents. Introducing the vocabulary problem.

Rowley/Hartley, Chapters 3 and 5.

Week 3 (2/6-10): Classification and aboutness. Subject access.

Rowley/Hartley, Chapter 6 and 7.

Also read: An Overview of Subject Representation from the 202 Online Resource.

Week 4 (2/13-17): More means of access: names and titles. Introducing DB/TextWorks. Controlled vocabulary assignment due.

Rowley/Hartley, Chapter 8.

Also read: Introduction and Basic Concepts under DB/TextWorks from the 202 Online Resource.

Week 5 (2/20-24): In my day we didn't have all these before IT. Setting up a database in Db/Textworks. Quiz 1 due.

Rowley/Hartley, Chapter 11.

Also read: Data Structures and Creating a Database under DB/TextWorks from the 202 Online Resource.

You should install DB/TextWorks on your systems this week and begin exploring it.

Part 2 - Understanding the User: Information Seeking and Information Behavior

Week 6 (2/27-3/2): The basics of the research on information seeking and search interfaces.

Rowley/Hartley Chapter 4.

Week 7 (3/5-9):  Working with DB/TextWorks week.

Week 8 (3/12-16): Models of information seeking. Database structure assignment due.

Week 9 (3/19-23): More on interface design.

3/26-30: Spring Recess

Week 10 (4/2-6): Quiz 2 due.

Part 3 - Utilizing the organizing system: querying and evaluation

Week 11 (4/9-13): Querying the information system.

Week 12 (4/16-20): Query types. Relevance, recall and precision. Query assignment due.

Week 13 (4/23-27):  Evaluating the organizing system.

Week 14 (4/30-5/4): Group presentations

Week 15 (5/7-11): Final Exam

Textbooks and Readings

The textbook for this course is located here and may be ordered through the iSchool eBookstore.

In addition, you will be making liberal use of the LIBR 202 resources carefully gathered for you from various LIBR 202 instructors and available on the SJSU SLIS website, here.

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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