LIBR 210-15
Reference and Information Services
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Dr. Susan Tschabrun
Office Hours: by appointment via Elluminate

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
iSchool eBookstore

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

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to 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. Topics will include:

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

Catalog Description
A process-oriented examination of how information professionals answer reference questions. The interpersonal skills required for effective question negotiation and the sources with which questions are answered are stressed.
Prerequisite: LIBR 202

Course Objectives

At the completion of the course, students will:

  •  Acquaint themselves with core reference sources in multiple subject areas and disciplines.
  • Have an understanding of the impact of technology on reference interactions.
  • Be familiar with issues and trends in reference and information services.
  • Identify various types of reference sources, including their characteristics and functions.
  • Become familiar with the reference process and the characteristics of a successful reference interview.

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.

Course Requirements

Mode of instruction
This is an online, web-based course that will use D2L for accessing course materials, online discussions, and submission of assignments. Students should access the course site regularly to work through course materials and participate in discussions. 

I will also be holding non-mandatory Elluminate meetings, times to be determined.

Full assignment instructions, including assignment objectives, submission instructions, and grading rubrics are available on D2L under Assignments.

  • Reference Observation Paper (15%)
  • Reference Sources Class Wiki and Practice Questions (25%)
  • Pathfinder Assignment (20%)
  • Reference-Instruction Trends Online Presentation (20%)
  • Class Participation (20%)

Instructor Expectations
The instructor expects:

  1. Communication in an online course is essential. Plan to check your e-mail and D2L at least three times per week for messages or announcements.
  2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Assignment instructions should be followed exactly; points will be deducted for failure to follow directions. Students are expected to submit assignments that are free of spelling and grammatical errors. All sources must be correctly cited using the APA style manual.
  3. Although the course is conducted online, not all reference sources are readily available online. It is essential that each student identify a local academic library with a sizable reference collection and plan to visit that library frequently throughout the semester.

Late Assignments
Late assignments will not be accepted unless previously approved by the instructor. It is the responsibility of the student to keep copies of all submitted assignments and all graded materials returned to the student by the instructor until grades are officially issued.
Incompletes will be assigned only in cases of medical or family emergency. Medical or other proof will be required.

Textbooks and Readings

Supplementary Readings
There are supplementary readings in D2L in addition to the required text book.

Required Textbooks:

  • Cassell, K.A. & Hiremath, U. (2011). Reference and information services in the 21st century (2nd ed. revised). Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555707408. 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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