LIBR 256-12
Archives & Manuscripts
Fall 2012 Greensheet

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

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This course will be taught entirely online on D2L. The course will be automatically available to students on August 22, 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managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished material.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. In addition, students will be required to participate in the discussion forums, which will be based on readings assigned by the instructor.

Course Requirements

All assignments are to be submitted using D2L no later than the deadlines posted for each assignment. The assignments will be explained in more detail in D2L as they are given. Questions regarding the assignments are to be asked using the Questions and Answers section provided on the Content page for this course.

  1. Tour an archival or manuscripts repository or special collections department and interview a professional archivist or manuscripts curator at that repository or special collections - due: September 25.  Students are to arrange a tour of an archival or manuscript repository or special collections department and interview a professional archivist or manuscript curator associated with it. A written report (5-7 pages) about the tour and interview is to be submitted. Students will be asked to share their reports with the class on D2L after the deadline. Maximum score: 10 pts.  SLO #1, #2#5
  2. Complete an appraisal exercise - due: October 2. Students are to appraise two collections provided by the instructor to determine their informational and/or evidential value, and then to recommend which materials should be retained for preservation and access. Students will be asked to share their papers with the class on D2L after the deadline. Maximum score: 10 pts.   SLO #1, #3
  3. Complete an arrangement and description exercise - due: October 23. Students will be provided with links to digital images of materials from an online collection to arrange and describe in an inventory format and to create a finding aid. Students will be encouraged to share their inventories/finding aids with the class on D2L when requested by the instructor. Maximum score: 25 pts.  SLO #1, #3
  4. Write a research paper - due: November 20. Students are to research and write a graduate-level paper on an archival topic of their choice. The paper (12-15 pages) 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 an historical topic related to an archival issue. Additional information will be provided on D2L. Students will be encouraged to share their papers with the class on D2L when requested by the instructor. Maximum score: 30 pts.   SLO #2, #3, #4, #5
  5. Participate in class discussions - ongoing to December 10. Students will be required to participate in 11 class discussions based on assigned readings  or current topics presented by the instructor. Students will be required to write an initial comment on the specific topic and then to follow-up with a reaction to at least one classmate's initial posting on that topic. Maximum score: 55 pts.   SLO #1, #2, #3, #4, #5
  6. Complete the final exam - due: December 14: Students will be given a final exam, in essay format, to bring together various aspects of the information learned and discussed during the semester. The purpose of the final exam is for students to demonstrate their understanding of archival and manuscripts repositories and archivists/manuscript curators in society and the variety of challenges they face and decisions they make. Students will be required to recommend relevant sources from the weekly readings lists as they formulate their answers. Maximum score: 30 pts.   SLO #1, #2, #3, #4

Late Assignments  All assignments, including the discussion posts and the final exam, are to be submitted in D2L no later than 11:00 pm PT on their specific due dates. Although late submittals of the assignments will be permitted with prior notification, a 10 per cent deduction from the maximum score will be taken for each day that a particular assignment is late. Note: discussion posts and the final exam will not be accepted late.

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

Week 1 August 22 - 28

Introductions of students; Terminology; Introduction to archival and manuscript repositories and special collections SLO #1, #4

Week 2 August 29 - September 4 History of archival theory and practices; archival principles SLO #1
Week 3 September 5 - 11 Archival and manuscript repositories; self-arranged repository tours and interviews SLO #1, #2, #3
Week 4 September 12 - 18 Electronic records; other record formats SLO #2, #3, #5
Week 5 September 19 - 25 Appraisal and acquisitions; accessioning SLO #1, #2, #3
Week 6 September 26 - October 2 Arrangement and description, Part I SLO #1, #2, #3
Week 7 October 3 - 9 Arrangement and description, Part II; description standards SLO #1, #2, #3
Week 8 October 10 - 16 Access issues  SLO #3
Week 9  October 17 - 23 Reference services  SLO #3
Week 10 October 24 - 30 Outreach and promotion; professional advocacy  SLO #2, #3
Week 11 October 31 - November 6 Preservation and conservation issues  SLO #2, #3
Week 12 November 7 - 13 Security; disaster planning  SLO #2, #3
Week 13 November 14 - 20 Managing the repository  SLO #2, #3
Week 14 November 21 - 27 Archival ethics  SLO #2, #3
Week 15 November 28 - December 4 Archives, history, and collective/public memory  SLO #1, #3
Week 16 December 5 - 10 What does the future hold? Wrap-up  SLO #5

Course Grading

The total maximum score for the semester is 160 pts. The total score earned by each student will be divided by that number to determine the final course grade for each student. The standard SJSU SLIS Grading Scale will be strictly followed.

Repository tour/interview Due: September 25 10 pts. 
Appraisal exercise Due: October 2 10 pts.
Arrangement & description exercise  Due: October 23 25 pts.
Research paper  Due: November 20 30 pts.
Class discussions  Due: Ongoing to December 10 55 pts.
Final exam  Due: December 14 30 pts. 

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

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 200LIBR 202LIBR 204

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic archival principles and practices.
  2. Describe the variety of functions performed by archives and archivists, and the range of environments in which archival professionals work.
  3. Identify the issues involved in acquiring, processing, and making records available to researchers.
  4. Identify the similarities and differences between the roles of archivists and related information professionals.
  5. Define the challenges facing the archives profession today and in the future.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 256 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Recognize and describe cultural and economic diversity in the clientele of libraries or information organizations.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital items and collections.
  3. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information, including classification, cataloging, metadata, or other systems.


Required Textbooks:

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

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Boles, F. (2005). Selecting and appraising archives and manuscripts. Chicago: Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666113. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Kurtz, M. J. (2004). Managing Archival and manuscript repositories. Chicago: 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. Chicago: 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. Chicago: 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). Chicago: 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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