LIBR 256-12
Archives & Manuscripts
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Dr. Michael Q. Hooks, CA
Office Hours: Contact via email

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
iSchool eBookstore

This course will be taught entirely online on D2L. Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course. The course will be automatically available to students on January 25, 2012, which is the first day of class. 

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished material. Topics covered include manuscripts and records acquisition; appraisal, arrangement and description; conservation and preservation; and reference and access.

The course will consist of material presented by the instructor, as well as assignments to be completed by the students and required weekly participation in discussions on topics and issues presented by both the instructor and the students.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 202, 204 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • understand basic archival principles and practices 
  • understand the variety of functions performed by archives and archivists
  • understand the issues involved in acquiring, processing, and making available records to researchers
  • understand similarities and differences between the roles of archivists and related information professionals 
  • understand the challenges facing the archives profession today and in the future 

LIBR 256 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom;
  • compare the environments and organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice;
  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information;
  • 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.

Course Requirements

All assignments are to be submitted electronically no later than by 11:59 pm PT on the date they are due. The assignments will be explained in more detail as they are given. If you have questions regarding any of the assignments, please ask the instructor directly via email.

  1. Tour an archival or manuscript repository or special collections department   and interview a professional archivist, manuscript curator, or librarian at that repository or special collections - due: February 21.  Students are to arrange a tour of an archival or manuscript repository or special collections department and interview a professional archivist, manuscript curator, or librarian associated with it, and submit a written report (5-7 pages) of the tour and interview. Once graded, the papers will be shared with the class on D2L. 
  2. Complete an appraisal exercise - due: February 28. Students are to appraise a collection provided by the instructor to determine its informational and/or evidential value and recommend which materials should be retained and preserved in an archival or manuscipt repository.
  3. Complete an arrangement and description exercise - due: April 3. Students are to review documents, including photographs, from an online collection, a link to which will be provided on D2L. These materials are to be appropriately arranged and described with an explanation, and a finding aid is to be created completely in Word.
  4. Write a research paper - due: April 24. Students are to write a research paper (12-15 pages) on an archival topic of their choice. The paper should be on a topic of current interest in the archival profession, an examination of potential challenges facing the archival profession in the future, or perhaps a historical topic related to an archival issue. Additional information will be provided on D2L.
  5. Participate in class discussions - ongoing to May 15. Students are expected to participate in class discussions based on topics presented by the instructor, from class assignments, and/or questions asked by the instructor and the class.  
  6. Final exam - due: May 18. The final exam will give students the opportunity to bring together various aspects of the information learned and discussed during the semester and to demonstrate their understanding of the role of archives in society and challenges facing the archival profession. Students will be expected to recommend relevant sources from the Required Readings lists in their answers.

Late Assignments  All assignments are to be submitted electronically on D2L no later than 11:59 pm PT on their specific due dates. Feel free to submit assignments early. On-time submittal of assignments is expected, but late assignments will be  accepted with a 10 per cent deduction taken for each day that the assignment is late.

Course Calendar This schedule is subject to change with notice. Changes will be announced on D2L.

Week 1 January 25 - 31

Introductions; Terminology; Introduction to archival and manuscript repositories and special collections

Week 2 February 1 - 7 Archival theory, practices, and principles
Week 3 February 8 - 14 Self-arranged repository tours and interviews
Week 4 February 15 - 21 Electronic records; Other record types and formats
Week 5 February 22 - 28 Appraisal and acquisitions; Accessioning
Week 6 February 29 - March 6 Arrangement and description, Part I
Week 7 March 7 - 13 Arrangement and description, Part II; Description standards
Week 8 March 14 - 20 Access issues
Week 9  March 21 - April 3 (includes Spring Recess) Reference services
Week 10 April 4 - 10 Outreach and promotion; Advocacy
Week 11 April 11 - 17 Preservation and conservation issues
Week 12 April 18 - 24 Security and disaster planning
Week 13 April 25 - May 1 Managing the repository
Week 14 May 2 - 8 Archives, history, and collective/public memory
Week 15 May 9 - 15 Archival ethics; What does the future hold? Wrap-up

Course Grading

Repository tour/interview Due: February 21 10 pts. 
Appraisal exercise Due: February 28 5 pts.
Arrangement & description exercise  Due: April 3  25 pts.
Research paper  Due: April 24 30 pts.
Class discussions  Due: Ongoing to May 15 50 pts.
Final exam  Due: May 18 30 pts. 

Textbooks and Readings

In addition to the textbook, additional readings will be listed on D2L.

Required Textbooks:

  • Hunter, G. S. (2003). Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: A How-To-Do-It Manual. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555704670. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Boles, F. (2005). Selecting and appraising archives and manuscripts. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666113. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Jimerson, R. C. (2000). American Archival Studies. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 0931828414. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Kurtz, M. J. (2004). Managing Archival and manuscript repositories. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931166609. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • O'Toole, J. M., & Cox, R. J. (2006). Understanding Archives and Manuscripts. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666206. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Pugh, M. J. (2005). Providing reference services for archives and manuscripts. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666121. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Roe, K. (2005). Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts (Archival Fundamentals Series II). Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 193166613X. 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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