LIBR 210-13
Reference and Information Services
Fall 2012 Greensheet

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

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore

Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course. The course will be automatically available to students on August 22nd, 2012.

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 as well as ways to use new ideas and skills that are impacting the future of reference services and access to information.

Course Requirements

  • Assignment 1 (24%)
    Mini activities
  • Assignment 2 (27%)
    Discussion topics/activities
  • Assignment 3 (15%)
    Reference desk shadowing 
    ** Alternative option 
    - prerecorded presentation 
  • Assignment 4 - (15%)
    Complete a pathfinder/subject guide 
  • Assignment 5 (15%)
    Reference bibliography 15% 
  • Assignment 6 (4%)
    Reference interview scenario
  • SOTES -- extra credit (0.5%)

Course Calendar

Week   Overview of Class Readings, Activities, and Assignments Due Dates 
Wk 1
  • Post introductions
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 1 and 2
  • Week 1 Overview
  • Assignment 6 (4%)
Aug. 28
Wk 2
  • Reading and video for Chapter 3
  • Week 3 Overview
  • R2 Week 2 discussion topic (3%)
  • E2 mini activity (3%)
Sept. 4
Wk 3
  • Reading and video for Chapter 4
  • Week 3 Overview
  • R3 Week 3 discussion topic (3%)
No classes Sept. 5
Sept 11
Wk 4
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 5 and 7
  • Week 4 Overview
  • R4 Week 4 discussion topic (3%) 
  • E4 mini activity  (3%) 
Sept. 18
Wk 5
  • Reading and video for Chapter 6
  • Week 5 Overview
  • R5 Week 5 discussion topic (3%)
  • E5 mini activity (3%)
Sept. 25
Wk 6
  • Reading and video for Chapter 15
  • Week 6 Overview
  • Assignment 3  (15%)
Oct. 2
Wk 7
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 8 and 16
  • Week 7 Overview
  • R7 Week 7 discussion topic (3%)
Oct. 9
Wk 8
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 9 and 17
  • Week 8 Overview
  • R8 Week 8 discussion topic (3%)
  • E8 mini activity (3%)

Oct. 16
Wk 9
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 10 and 20
  • Week 9 Overview
  • R9 Week 9 discussion topic (3%)
  • E9 mini activity (3%)
Oct. 23
Wk 10
  • Reading and video for Chapter 11
  • Week 10 Overview
  • Assignment 4  (15%)
Oct. 30
Wk 11
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 12 and 13
  • Week 11 Overview
  • E11 mini acitivity (3%)
Nov. 6
Wk 12
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 18 and 19
  • Week 12 Overview
  • R12 Week 12 discussion topic (3%)
  • E12 mini activity (3%)
Nov. 13
Wk 13
  • Reading and video for Chapter 14
  • Week 13 Overview
  • E13 mini activity (3%)
Nov. 20
Wk 14 No classes   Thanksgiving (Nov. 22-23) Nov. 27
Wk 15
  • Reading and video for Chapter 21
  • Week 15 Overview
  • R15 -- optional discussion topic -- job hunting tips
  • Assignment 5 (15%)
Dec. 4
Wk 16
  • Week 16 Overview
  • Week 16 -- optional discussion topic – suggested changes for next term
  • R16 Week 16 discussion topic (3%)
  • Extra credit (0.5%) for completing SOTES survey
Dec. 5 - 10
  Course ends:
  • All work must be submitted by midnight of the last day of class!
  • The course content will be available until Dec. 23.
Dec. 10

*Due dates are subject to change with fair notice. 

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

  • Assignment 1: Mini Activities 24% (3% X 8 weeks)
    In eight out of the sixteen weeks of class, mini activities will have you actually look for appropriate sources for "information quest" questions or examine specific types of resources. Post the mini activities in the dropbox provided. In some cases, you may need to locate a print resource in a library so plan ahead. The activities will be graded using the following criteria:
    • Grading criteria:
      • 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. 
    • NOTE: If you are working in a special library setting and have a suggestion for an alternative assignment that would give you comparable skills using reference sources in a specific type of library setting, contact me.
    • LIBR 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed: 
      • SLO2: Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.
  • Assignment 2: Weekly Discussions
    R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R8, R9, R12 (9 X 3%= 27%)
    You will be asked to (a) visit a library or use some kind of reference service, (b) synthesize your experience based on the textbook readings and the questions provided in the discussion forums to help guide the discussions, and (c) report on your findings and conclusions. As a result, you will need to plan ahead for the weeks that may require you to physically visit a library. These weekly activities require more than posting your own personal opinions on the topic under discussion.  Address the posted discussion questions using substantive content by utilizing, analyzing, and synthesizing what you learned in the textbook, readings, etc., as well as providing any insights and experiences when appropriate.

    NOTE: If there is a week when you cannot do the prep work for the discussion topic, you will have the option to locate two research articles on a relevant reference or library instruction-related topic, and post summaries of the two articles and discuss how the findings are relevant to the weekly discussion topic.
    • Grading criteria:
      • A demonstrated grasp of the topic through a substantive discussion and reflection on the topic under discussion.
      • Demonstrated understanding of that week's topic by incorporating the textbook content and readings in the discussion posting.
      • Designated discussion points were addressed appropriately.
      • Clear communication style (writing, grammar, APA formatting of citations)
    • LIBR 210 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: 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 textbook, two outside articles articles on reference desk face-to-face services, and the grading criteria when writing about your summary of the experience and discussing your conclusions.
    • Grading Criteria:
      • A clear and robust summary 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 and at least two scholarly articles on reference services
      • Describe what types of web, print, and databases were used by the librarian to answer reference questions.
      • 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?
      • Good writing mechanics and grammar were used. Use APA for formatting of reference citations.
    • LIBR 210 Student Learning Outcomes addressed
      • SLO4: 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.
  • Alternative Option for Assignment 3: Prerecorded Presentation
    This option is designed to give students the opportunity to use some type of technology such as Collaborate or Jing for a 10-minute introduction to a database at SJSU, a library in your area, or some kind of digital repository. The presentation can be developed as a PowerPoint slide presentation with voiceovers, a screencast using a free application such as Jing, a video posted on YouTube, an archived Collaborate session, or some other appropriate method of your choice.  Just be sure to allow yourself enough time in case you run into technology glitches if you select this option! If you have problems at the last minute, let me know and we can discuss viable options.
    • Grading Criteria:
      • The presenter introduced him or herself and explained the goals for the instructional session.
      • Instructional session was well organized and covered the major points about the selected database.
      • The presentation made clear how the database might be useful for reference librarians.
      • The presenter presented the materials clearly and succinctly.
      • The presentation was well designed and utilized in a clear and logical manner.
      • The student presenter was knowledgeable about the topic selected. 
  • Assignment 4 (15%)
    Pathfinder/Subject Guide Option 
    Develop a pathfinder or subject guide useful for helping library patrons find relevant resources on a topic of interest for a real or fictional library.  This guide can be a two-sided handout to use at a reference desk or organized as a web-based subject guide using generic web tools or LibGuide templates. I would encourage people to do some kind of web-based guide because this is a useful skill to have when you interview for a professional library job! You can use LibGuides or options such as,, or If you do opt to use LibGuides, contact me, and I can create a LibGuide shell for you to customize. For more information about LibGuides, see and my PPT posted in the Content area.  You can also see examples of pathfinders and handouts from previous classes in the Content tab.
    • Grading Criteria:
      • The LibGuide/pathfinder/subject guide provided clear information about the scope of the tool.
      • The document addressed the identified information need.
      • The document provided appropriate subject headings, call numbers, titles, names, and URLs for websites as appropriate.
      • The document was attractive, well laid out, organized well, and appropriate for the age and ability level of the intended user(s).
      • The document identified a variety of appropriate resources for the information need.
      • The document organized the information in a clear and concise manner.
      • The document used correct grammar and writing mechanics
      • The document used fonts, headings, color, and graphics effectively so that the document was visually attractive.
    • LIBR 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed:
      • SLO4: Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
  • Assignment 5: Reference Bibliography (15%)
    Unlike Assignment 4, the goal of Assignment 5 is for the individuals in the class to develop an updated list of current and relevant reference resources in a specific subject area that will supplement the textbook. Identify the best reference online and print resources for a specific subject and audience published or updated in 2009 or later.  This means that you can include both classic reference resources as long as they have been updated since in 2009 or later or new reference resources. Scholarly web sources can be used when appropriate. The final product needs to be formatted  for the reference citations as appropriate, and short annotations use some kind of consistent formatting and include a critical evaluation of each source. Provide information on the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost (if appropriate) of your selected resources as appropriate. Also when appropriate, include imprint/publication information (name of publisher, place, and date of publication), frequency, the audience, uses, limitations, and a description of why the resource was selected. It will help ensure consistency if you use a format that lists the price, type, and audience as standard elements. Sample annotations are provided in the Content area.
    • Grading Criteria:
      • Overall design
      • Description of the overall scope of the sources selected
      • Appropriate selection of resources (print and online) for subject area
      • Solid justification for the choices is provided
      • Information about the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost (if appropriate) of the resources were accurate, well organized, and concise.
      • Appropriate and consistent formatting.
    • LIBR 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed:
      • SLO1: Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  • Assignment 6: Reference Scenario and Analysis (4%)
    Provide either a written script or a prerecorded presentation that illustrates the principals of a good reference interview. Identify the setting for the type of library selected, and choose a topic appropriate for the setting. Use some method to identify or flag Cassell and Hiremath's steps as they are addressed in your reference interview scenario. Last but not least, include an analysis describing how your scenario addressed the steps of the reference interview.
    • Grading criteria:
      • Cassell and Hiremath's steps of the reference interview were clearly addressed  and identified/flagged in the interview scenario.
      • Topic and interactions were appropriate for the setting selected.
      • Appropriate resources and/or answers were utilized.
      • The script was well constructed and to the point.
      • Well written and grammatically correct.
    • LIBR 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed:
      • SLO3: Conduct effective reference interviews.
  • Participation
    Only participation that goes beyond posting the content in required weekly postings will be considered when grades are on the edge between one letter grade and another. In other words, only additional participation in the form of thoughtful responses that go beyond the initial posting for weekly discussion topics or actively engaged participation for general course topics will merit rounding letter grades up rather than down! For example, this kind of value-added participation can include identifying useful reference resources or bringing useful articles on reference/technology/social media/information seeking skills/information literacy topics to the attention of the class. 

    *** 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 date listed. If you are unable to complete the work by the assigned date, you need to email me to make alternative arrangements.  
  • I provide feedback for discussion postings in the dropbox so if you do not receive it, let me know! 
  • Check the grading criteria with class assignments posted here in the greensheet before submitting assignments to be sure that you are addressing all of the elements that should be included in the assignments. 
  • Feedback for major projects and mini activities will be posted in the dropbox when grades are posted.  
  • No work will be accepted after the last day of class unless arrangements have been made in writing, meet university criteria, and approved by me for an incomplete. 

Additional Readings
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.

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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