LIBR 210-12
Reference and Information Services
Summer 2012 Greensheet

Dr. Johanna Tunon
E-mail -- For class-related communications, use the D2L course e-mail.
Home phone: (954) 792-6814 
Office location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Office hours: By appointment by phone or via Collaborate. NOTE: I live in Florida so I live in the Eastern time zone. You are welcome to call before 10 pm in the Eastern time sone.

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore

This course will be officially available on D2L on June 4. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

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.

Full Description: This course provides an overview of reference and information services. We will be examining and evaluating key information sources in a variety of formats and becoming familiar with professional resources. Because the field of librarianship is changing rapidly, we will be exploring various methods and models for delivering information and examining how emerging trends and ways to use new ideas and skills may impact the future of reference services and access to information.

Course Requirements

  • Assignment 1 (A1)
    Mini exercises 24% (3% X 8 mini activities)

    (E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E7, E8, E10)
  • Assignment 2 (A2)
    Discussion topics for Weeks 2-10 X 3% -- 27% 

    (R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R8, R9, R10)
  • Assignment 3 (A3)
    LibGuide/pathfinder/subject guide 15%
  • Assignment 4 (A4)
    Reference desk shadowing (15%) 
    ** Alternative option - 
    If you cannot complete the shadowing activity for whatever reason, then you can do a prerecorded presentation.
  • Assignment 5 (A5)
    Reference bibliography = 15% 
  • Assignment 6 (A6) -- 4%
    Reference interview
  • SOTES -- extra credit (0.5%)

    NOTE: The description of class assignments and grading critieria are included after the class schedule.

Course Calendar

Week   Overview of Class Activities and Assignments Due Dates 
Wk 1

• Post introductions
• Read: Week 1 Overview in D2L, and Chapters 1, 4, 13 (Cassell and Hiremath)
• Video lectures:
     - Video on reference interviews
     - Chapter 1 - Introduction to Reference Services
     - Chapter 4 - Bibliographies
     - Chapter 13 - Internet Resources
     - Video on APA formatting of journal citations
     - Video on reference interviews --
      You may need to install RealPlayer.
      Username: reference Password: askme1
E1 mini activity -- 3%
• Assignment 6 (Reference interview)  = 4%

June 10
Wk 2

• Read:  Overview for Week 2 and Chapters 2, 5, 16 (Cassell & Hiremath) 
• Video lectures: 
   - Ch 2 -- Reference Questions
   - Ch. 5 -- Encyclopedias
   - Ch. 16 -- Information Literacy
   - Library Training, BI (Bibliographic Instruction), and Information Literacy video:
   - APA Formatting for Article Citations Video
R2 Week 2 discussion topic - 3%
E2 mini actiity-- 3%
Elluminate: Discussion of the expectations for the course and how to navigate around in the class. Time for questions and answers (June 13 – Monday, 10 pm PT)
If you cannot attend, you can view the archived session later.

June 17*
Wk 3

• Read Overview for Week 3 and Chapters 3 & 6 (Cassell & Hiremath)
• Video lectures:
   - Ch. 3 -- Answering Reference Questions
   - Ch. 6 -- Ready Reference Resources
R3 Week 3 discussion topic -- 3%
E3 mini activity-- 3%

June 24*
Wk 4

• Read Overview for Week 4 and Chapters 7-8 (Cassell & Hiremath)
• Video lectures:
   - Ch. 7 -- Dictionaries
   - Ch. 8 -- Full Text Databases
• Video on formatting text citations using APA formatting
R4 Week 4 discussion topic - 3%
E4 mini activity -- 3%

July 1*
Wk 5

• Read Overview for Week 5, Chapters 9 & 10 (Cassell & Hiremath), 
  and Best Chat Transactions
• Video lectures:
   - Ch. 9 -- Law, Business, and Healthcare Resources
   - Ch. 10 -- Geography Resources
R5 Week 5 discussion topic -- 3%
• E5 mini activity -- 3%

July 8*
Wk 6

• Read Overview for Week 6 and Chapters 11, 12, 20 (Cassell & Hiremath)
• Video lectures:
   - Ch. 11 -- Government Resources
   - Ch. 12 -- Biography Resources
   - Ch. 20 -- Reference 2.0
R6 Week 6 discussion topic -- 3%

July 15*
Wk 7

• Read Overview for Week 6 and Chapters 14-15 (Cassell & Hiremath)
• Video lectures:
   - Ch. 14 -- Reader's Advisory Sources
   - Ch. 15 -- Child and Young Adult Resources
R7 Week 7 discussion topic  -- 3%
• E7 mini activity -- 3%
Assignment 3 (LibGuide/pathfinder/subject guide) -- 15%  Due July 22

July 22*
Wk 8

• Read Overview for Week 8 and Chapters 17-19 (Cassell & Hiremath)
• Video lectures:
   - Ch. 17 - Selecting and Evaluating Reference Sources
   - Ch. 18 - Managing Reference Departments
   - Ch. 19 - Assessment and Evaluation of Reference Services
R8 Week 8 discussion topic -- 3%
E8 mini activity -- 3%
Assignment 4 (Shadowing or prerecorded presentation) -- 15% 
Due July 29

July 29*
Wk 9

• Read Overview for Week 9 and Chapters 21 (Cassell & Hiremath)
• Video lectures:
   - Ch. 21 -- The Future of Reference Services
• R9 Week 9 discussion topic - 3%
Assignment 5  (bibliography) = 15%   Due Aug. 5th.

Aug. 5*
 Wk 10

• Wrapping up -- Overview for Week 10
• E10 mini exercise -- 3%
• R10 Week 10 Discussion Forum -- 3%
• Course ends: All work much be submitted by the end of Aug. 10th.

Aug. 10

*These due dates are subject to change with fair notice. 

Description of Assignments and Grading Criteria
NOTE: If you have some special circumstance that makes completion of some activities difficult, contact me about possible alternative activities.

  • Assignment 1: Mini Exercises 24% (3% X 8 weeks) E1 - E5, E7, E8, E10 
    In eight out of the ten weeks of class, there will be mini exercises that will have you actually look for appropriate sources to information quest questions or examine specific types of resources or some kind of activity. Post the mini exercises in the dropboxs provided. The activities will be graded using the following criteria:

    Grading criteria:
    • (1) Correct responses were identified and (2) the source listed. If the answer for a question was not located, the student demonstrated due diligence by providing at least five appropriate authoritative sources that were checked for the answer. Correct grammar was used.
    • Appropriate sources -- A variety of print and appropriate electronic reference resources were used to completely answer information requests. Only authoritative Web reference resources were utilized.
    • If there is some other type of activity, it will be graded based on content, creativity, and attention to detail.  

Student Learning Outcome addressed: SLO2: Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.

Assignment 2:
Reference desk library and online visits/activities 
(R2 - R10  X 3%) = 27%

Grading criteria -- Each week's posting will be graded on:

    • Address the questions asked for the designated week.
    • Participate in on-going discussion for at least half of the discussion topics.
    • Used appropriate grammar and communicated in a professional manner.
    • Apply what you have learned in the textbook readings to the topics under discussion.  Demonstrate your grasp of the content in the textbook with text citations, and use at least two additional scholarly sources at some point in the discussions for R2 - R1

Student Learning Outcomes addressed: 
SLO4: Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
SL05: Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
SLO6: Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
SLO7: Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction. 
SLO8: Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.

Assignment 3:  LibGuide/Pathfinder/Subject Guide (15%)
Use LibGuides or some other web technology to develop a pathfinder on a topic useful for helping library patrons find relevant resources on a topic of interest. The subject guide or pathfinder can be organized as a web subject guide or using something like a LibGuides template. You can take a look at examples of some other LIBR 210 pathfinders

Grading Criteria:

    • Provides clear information about the scope of the tool.
    • Addresses the identified information need.
    • Provides appropriate subject headings, call numbers, names, and URLs for websites as appropriate.
    • Attractive, well laid out, and appropriate for the age and ability level of the intended user(s).
    • Identifies a variety of appropriate resources for the information need.
    • Organizes the information in a clear and concise manner.
    • Uses correct grammar and writing mechanics.

Student Learning Outcome addressedSLO2: Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions. 

  • Assignment 4: Reference Desk Shadowing (15%)
    Write a summary of and conclusions about your experience shadowing a reference librarian for two hours at the reference desk. Use the grading criteria when writing about your summary of the experience and your conclusions.

    Grading Criteria:
    • A clear and robust summary and appraisal of the reference desk shadowing experience is provided.
    • The discussion of the experience is framed in terms of the criteria for conducting good reference interviews provided in the textbook by Cassell and Hiremath.
    • Describe or assess what types of web, print, and databases were used by the librarian to answer reference questions.
    • For the summary, describe your conclusions or reflections about what you learned because of this experience. For example, did anything unexpected occur? Did you think that Cassell and Hiremath's recommended steps for a reference interview worked in real life? What types of reference resources worked well when "in the trenches"? Did you learn anything new from talking with the reference librarian?
    • Support your assessment with concrete and substantive examples of the reference interviews you witnessed.
    • Good writing mechanics and grammar were used. (6-8 pages)

: Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
SLO6: Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.

Assignment 5: Reference Bibliography 15% The goal of this assignment is for the class to have current and relevant reference resources as an update for the textbook for a topic of use or interest for you. Choose a specific library setting and topic and identify resources that have been updated in 2008 or later that would be appropriate print or digital additions in your subject area. This means that you can include both classic reference resources as long as they have been updated since in 2008 or later or new reference resources. It will help ensure consistency if you use a format that lists the price, identifies the characteristics and functions, and intended audience. 

Grading Criteria:

    • Overall design
    • Appropriate selection of resources for subject area
    • Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of the reference sources.  Include information about the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, intended audience, and cost of the resources as appropropriate
    • Information is accurate, well organized, and concise.
    • Consistent format used.
    • Used relevant selection tools to aid in the selection process when available
    • Solid justification for the choices is provided

: SLO1: Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.

Alternative option for Assignment 3, 4, or 5: Prerecorded Presentation  (15%)
People have the option to do an alternative assignment, but the topic needs to relate to the core competency of the assignment being replacing by this prerecorded assignment. If in doubt, check with the instructor.  Use Collaborate or some other technology of your choice such as Jing or YouTube to create a short 10-minute prerecorded introduction to a database at SJSU or a library in your area or some reference-related technology application such as a library app such as the WorldCat mobile application or social media applications. In addition to giving students to opportunity to teach in an online environment, these prerecorded sessions also provide the rest of the class with an introduction to some relevant databases or technologies that they might not otherwise become familiar with.

Grading Criteria:

    • The student presenter introduced him or herself and explained the goals for the instructional session. This will include an explanation of how the topic will address the designated core competency on the assignment this is being used to replace.
    • Presentation was well organized and covered the major points about the selected topic, database, or technology application.
    • The presentation made clear how the database or technology might be useful for reference librarians.
    • The student presenter presented the materials clearly and succinctly.
    • The presentation was well designed.
    • The student presenter was knowledgeable about the topic selected and tied the topic to the core competency being addressed.

Student Learning Outcome being addressed: The topic selected MUST tie to the SLO(s) of the assignment being replaced.

Assignment 6: Reference interview 4% 
Provide either a written script or a prerecorded presentation that illustrates the principals of a good reference interview. Choose a setting for the type of library you are interested in. Choose a topic appropriate for the setting, and use Cassell and Hiremath's suggested steps for a reference interview. However, you are free to supplement their suggested steps with additional appropriate sources.

Grading criteria:

    • The steps of the reference interview identified by Cassell and Hiremath were clearly addressed in the course of the interview
    • Topic and interactions were appropriate for the setting selected.
    • Appropriate resources and/or answers was utilized.
    • The script or video was well constructed and to the point.
    • Well written and grammatically correct.

: SLO3: Conduct effective reference interviews.

*** NOTE: The details of the assignments, grading criteria, and grading rubrics are subject to minor adjustments with fair notice. 

Course Grading
All work is due by the dates listed, but I will allow an extra two-day grace period for submission. If you are unable to complete work by two days after the due date, you will need to email me if you need to make alternative arrangements for the work to be accepted late. No work will be accepted after the last day of class unless arrangements have been made in writing and approved for an incomplete. I provide feedback for mini activities and discussion forums in the D2L comments, and you need to meet the school criteria to qualify for an extension. 

Check the grading criteria with class assignments before submitting assignments to be sure that you are addressing all of the elements that should be included in the assignments. If you do not see your grade and comments posted, let me know because I may not have checked the box that makes the grade visible in the gradebook. Feedback for major projects will be provided in the assignment dropbox.


Information about additional readings from online articles, Web resources, and videos will be posted as the semester progresses, but there will be no additional textbooks for the class that you need to purchase. Just FYI: We will be using APA for formatting of text and reference citations so you may want to get the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), but that is not required. I will provide some resources that can help with the APA rules.

** NOTE: The 2nd revised edition of Cassell and Hiremath's (2011) textbook provides the most updated list of reference resources and discussion of recent changes in reference services.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

LIBR 202

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  2. Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.
  3. Conduct effective reference interviews.
  4. Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
  5. Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
  6. Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
  7. Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction.
  8. Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 210 supports the following core competencies:

  1. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  2. N Evaluate programs and services based on measurable criteria.


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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