LIBR 259-13
Preservation Management
Spring 2013 Greensheet

Dr. Andrew C Wilson
Office Hours: The instructor lives in Australia so time zones make synchronous sessions difficult to arrange. There will be weekly office hours via Collaborate, on Wednesdays at noon (PST) before 10 March; at 1pm (PDT) after 10 March.

Greensheet Links
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D2L Information: All course material will be presented in D2L in weekly learning units from Wednesdays through Tuesdays. The units will be opened sequentially each Wednesday.

This course will be available beginning Wednesday 23 January 2013. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

The class provides an introduction to the conceptual, management and technical issues in the preservation of archival and library materials in digital form. Digital preservation is a burning issue in the digital world, affecting not only archives, but libraries, other cultural heritage institutions, research data creators, and the academic world. It is fundamental to the functioning of modern businesses and governments at all levels, and has a direct impact on individuals and the documents of their lives. This course is intended to provide students with knowledge about current issues in digital preservation and some of the conceptual underpinnings of approaches to digital preservation. The course includes modules on the digital preservation problem; authenticity; preservation metadata; digital preservation; significant properties; and issues of trust for digital repositories.

Course Requirements


1. Discussions - Weekly (supports SLO 1, SLO 8)
Throughout the course, there will be a discussion questions posed in the content of each module. Students are expected to post a thoughtful and reflective response to the topic discussion boards on at least one topic related to each module.  In addition to responding to discussion topics, students are also encouraged to engage in dialog with each other by responding to other students' responses to the topics.

2. Short papers - 1st due 18 February; 2nd due 12 April (supports SLO 5)
Students will be required to submit 2 short papers of between 3 and 5 pages in length (approx. 1250-2000 words). The first of these will be about authenticity, and the second will be about preservation policies.

3. Practical exercise: preservation metadata - due 15 March (supports SLO 4 and SLO 5)
This activity is aimed at getting students to think about the sorts of metadata properties that might be needed to describe digital objects in sufficient detail that they will remain authentic, reliable and usable, and so that their integrity can be ensured. Students should choose any online digital object and make sure it is one that is publicly accessible so I am able to compare the object with the metadata. Provide the URL and a brief textual description of the object.

There are two components to this exercise: using  a simple descriptive metadata standard such as Dublin Core and then using the PREMIS data dictionary.

Part 1: using the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) describe the chosen object using at least 12 of the available properties.

Part 2: using the PREMIS data dictionary describe the chosen digital object. Choose at least 12 of the properties in PREMIS and describe the digital object using those properties. Try to use different properties from those used in part 1 of this assignment.

4. Research Paper - due 10 May (supports SLO 1, SLO 2, SLO 3, SLO 4, SLO 5, SLO 6, SLO 7)
This assignment requires students to write a research paper of 10-12 pages (approx. 4,000 - 5,000 words) on some aspect of digital preservation. The paper is designed to enable you to undertake in-depth reading and study. The research paper should describe the current state of understanding of the issue, review the recent literature and evaluate its strength and weaknesses, and include any conclusions about possible future research directions.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • issues of authenticity;
  • digital longevity;
  • significant properties;
  • the OAIS model;
  • preservation metadata;
  • preservation approaches;
  • tools and services;
  • trustworthy digital repositories; and
  • audit and certification.

The instructor is willing to consider other topics not listed here. If any student would like to write about something that doesn’t fit neatly with the above, but which is about digital preservation issues, please discuss it with the instructor before starting the assignment.

Course Calendar

1  1/23 - 1/29  Introduction to digital preservation
2  1/30 - 2/5  The digital preservation problem
3  2/6 - 2/12  What do we preserve?
4  2/13 - 2/19

Assignment 1 due 18 February

5  2/20 - 2/26  Significant properties
6  2/27 - 3/5  Preservation metadata
7  3/6 - 3/12  Technical approaches to digital preservation I
8  3/13 - 3/19

 Approaches to digital preservation II
Assignment 2 due 15 March

9  3/20 - 4/2

 The Open Archival Information System (OAIS)
(Spring break 3/25-3/29)

10  4/3 - 4/9  Repository audit and compliance
11  4/10 - 4/16  Preservation policies
12  4/17 - 4/23

Assignment 3 due 19 April

13  4/24 - 4/30  Preserving the world wide web
14  5/1 - 5/7  Major projects and initiatives
15  5/8 - 5/10  Work on research paper
 Assignment 4 due 5/10

Subject to change with fair notice.


Grades are based on an overall total out of 100, broken down as follows. The SJSU grading scale appears below.

Grading Component Points
Discussion and participation 15%
Metadata exercise 15%
Short papers 30%
Research paper 40%



Submitting Assignments 

Please turn in all assignments and exams via D2L. Please make sure always to include your last name in the character string.

Assignments must be formatted double-spaced. Font doesn't matter but please use a font size of at least 11. Papers may be submitted in MS Word (.doc or .docx) or Apple Pages. "Track changes" will be used for editing and commenting. A commented PDF will be returned to the student upon grading. Late assignments will not usually be accepted unless by prior agreement with the instructor. Consult the instructor about any situation that arises.

Plagiarism of any kind will be vigorously prosecuted. Please see SJSU/SLIS policy. 

Writing is expected to be at the graduate level and will be rewarded or penalized accordingly in overall points.


No textbook purchase is required. Please note that the recommended book by Stille is an interesting examination of the cultural impact of technological change and the effect of globalisation on cultural heritage. It is background scene setting and you do not need to read the book in order to understand the material presented in the course. You might find it worthwhile to read one or two of the essays but it is not necessary to do so.

Other readings will be available online. Readings will be posted in D2L under the week's lessons. Readings will be available through any of three channels:

  • URLs for the public web
  • Reserved Readings at the King Library
  • Citations for articles available in one or more of the SJSU databases

Please consult the weekly Learning Unit in D2L for the most up-to-date readings.

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. Describe the evolution of preservation theory and practice.
  2. Identify the decision-making process behind selection for preservation.
  3. Summarize the causes of deterioration of various types of information objects.
  4. Identify key concepts and standards in digital preservation, including the OAIS model and repository development.
  5. Define the principles of a workable preservation policy in libraries, archives, and corporate DAM settings.
  6. Identify and apply disaster planning, prevention, response, and recovery strategies.
  7. Locate and evaluate tools, research, and other resources on preservation.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 259 supports the following core competencies:

  1. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital items and collections.
  2. N Evaluate programs and services based on measurable criteria.


Recommended Textbooks:

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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