MARA 284-10
Seminar in Archives & Records Management
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Dr. Erika L. Farr
Office Hours:Wednesdays 2-3pm PT & Thursdays 6-7pm PT (via Blackboard Collaborate)

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
D2L Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

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

Course Description

This course explores current issues and practices in archives and records management. The topic of this course will focus on policies, practices, and standards for digital preservation as it relates to the acquisition and management of born-digital collections. Over the course of the semester, we will explore the challenges of appraising and acquiring born-digital collections, current approaches to processing born-digital and hybrid collections, applications of digital forensics to archival content, and emerging trends in developing access tools for twenty-first century archival content.

Course Prerequisites: MARA 200, MARA 202 and MARA 204 required.

Repeatable with different content up to 6 units.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify key components to digital preservation programs in archives and libraries.
  2. Create policies and workflows for acquiring born-digital and hybrid collections.
  3. Implement tactics for acquiring and securing born-digital content in an archival setting.
  4. Better understand how approaches from other disciplines such as forensics and personal information management can advance digital archives.
  5. Evaluate and test tools and applications for acquiring, processing, and storing digital archives.
  6. Select and understand appropriate metadata standards for use with digital archives.
  7. Analyze and plan for emerging technologies in relation to the archives profession.

MARA Core Competencies-Program Learning Outcomes

  • D. Have expertise in the basic concepts and principles used to identify, evaluate, select, organize, maintain, and provide access to records of current and enduring value.
  • E. Understand the system of standards and structures endorsed and utilized by the recordkeeping professions, particularly in the areas of electronic records and digital assets management.
  • H. Be conversant with current information technologies and best practices relating to records preservation and security.

Course Requirements

Course Topics:

  • Week 1: Introductions and Beginnings
  • Week 2: An Introduction to Digital Preservation
  • Week 3: Digital Preservation in Libraries and Archives
  • Week 4: An Introduction to born-digital and hybrid collections
  • Week 5: Appraisal, donor relations, and policy making
  • Week 6: Acquiring born-digital materials
  • Week 7: Forensics in the Archives?
  • Week 8: Stewardship and data management, part one (technical metadata)
  • Week 9: Stewardship and data management, part two (technical infrastructure)
  • Week 10: SPRING BREAK
  • Week 11: Arrangement and description  (triage and initial assessment)
  • Week 12: Arrangement and description (processing and descriptive metadata)
  • Week 13: Researcher use and access
  • Week 14: Assessing preservation and use
  • Week 15: The future of archives

Course Assignments:

  • Assignment #1: Online Workshop Review [2 page paper]
    For this assignment, each student will participate in an online digital preservation workshop and then write a brief critique of the experience. The review should be professional in tone, well written and concise. Assignment details are included on the course D2L site.
  • Assignment #2: Real World Problem and Analysis [3 – 5 page paper]
    In this 3-5 page paper, each student will identify a real world digital preservation problem using current events or other news and then propose a solution or strategy to that problem using information acquired in class readings or other relevant research. Assignment details are included on the course D2L site.
  • Assignment #3: Digital Archives Tool Review [Class presentation via BB Collaborate]
    This assignment requires each student to select a tool intended or predisposed for use in digital archives, experiment with that tool, and then create a presentation that introduces that tools, its uses, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. Assignment details are included on the course D2L site.
  • Assignment #4: Case study on emerging technologies in archives and special collections [8 -10 page paper]
    This assignment will be the final project for the course. Through consultation with the instructor, each student will identify an emerging technology that promises to impact archives and then produce a case study identifying possible effects for the archives profession and strategies for addressing change and implementing solutions.
  • Participation: Your participation in course activities accounts for twenty percent of your grade and is earned through participation in discussion forums and either attendance at lectures or viewing of recorded lectures. Attendance at two live lectures is required.

Course Calendar
Dates for assignments and detailed course calendar available on course D2L site.

Course Grading
Grading will be based on a total accumulation of 100 possible points, distributed as follows: 

Assignment #1: Online Workshop Review  15 points
Assignment #2: Real World Problem  20 points
Assignment #3: Digital Archives Tool Review  20 points
Assignment #4: Case Study  25 points
Participation  20 point

Please submit all assignments via D2L. Naming conventions for files will be discussed during the first week of class, but file names must always include your last name and “assign#” (e.g. farr_assign1.doc).

Textbooks and Readings

Majority of our course readings will be available through out D2L course site.

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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