LIBR 210-12
Reference and Information Services
Summer 2013 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 Collaborate. NOTE: I live in Florida so I am on Eastern Standard time. You are welcome to call before 10 pm Eastern 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 June 3, 2013.

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 for A3, A4, or A5 
    - prerecorded presentation 
  • Assignment 4 - (15%)
    Complete a pathfinder/subject guide 
  • Assignment 5 (15%)
    Reference bibliography 15% 
  • Assignment 6 (4%)
    Reference interview scenario

Course Calendar

Week   Overview of Class Readings, Activities, and Assignments Due Dates 
Wk 1
  • Post introductions
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 1, 2, and 3
  • Week 1 Overview
  • D1 -- Week 1 discussion topic (3%)
  • A6 -- Assignment 6 (4%)
June 9
Wk 2
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 6 and 13
  • Week 2 Overview
  • D2--  Week 2 discussion topic (3%)
  • M2--  mini activity (3%)
June 16
Wk 3
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 4 and 5
  • Week 3 Overview
  • D3 -- Week 3 discussion topic (3%)
  • M3 -- mini activity (3%)
June 23
Wk 4
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 7 and 8
  • Week 4 Overview
  • D4 --  Week 4 discussion topic (3%) 
  • M4 -- mini activity(3%)
June 30
Wk 5
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 9 and 10
  • Week 5 Overview
  • D5 -- Week 5 discussion topic (3%)
  • M5 -- mini activity (3%)
  • A3 -- Assignment 3 (15%)
** No class on July 4
July 7
Wk 6
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 11, 12, and 21
  • Week 6 Overview
  • D6 -- Week 6 discussion topic(3%)
  • M6 -- mini activity (3%)
July 14
Wk 7
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 14, 15, and 16
  • Week 7 Overview
  • D7 -- Week 7 discussion topic (3%)
  • A4 -- Assignment 4 (15%)
July 21
Wk 8
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 17, 18, and 19
  • Week 8 Overview
  • D8 -- Week 8 discussion topic (3%)
  • M8 -- mini activity (3%)
July 28
Wk 9
  • Reading and video for Chapter 20
  • Week 9 Overview
  • Optional Week 9 discussion topic 
  • M9 -- mini activity (3%)
  • A5 -- Assignment 5 (15%)
Aug. 4
Wk 10
  • Reading and video for Chapter 22
  • Week 10 Overview
  • D10 -- Week 10 discussion topic (3%)
  • M10 -- mini activity (3%)
Aug. 9
  • Course ends Aug. 9th:
    • All work must be submitted by midnight of the last day of class!
    • The course content will be available for a couple of additional weeks.

*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 Activities 24% (3% X 8 weeks)
    In eight out of the ten weeks of class, mini activities will have you actually look for appropriate sources for "information quest" questions or examine specific types of resources. Frequently there will be alternative activity choices so that people can choose the activities that might be most useful in their library settings. Post the mini activities in the dropbox links provided. The activities will be graded using the following criteria:
    • Grading criteria:
      • Correct responses were identified and (2) the source listed. If the specific answer for a question could not be located, demonstrated due diligence was provided by identifying at least five appropriate authoritative sources that were checked for the answer.
      • Appropriate sources -- A variety of subscription and free reference resources were used to completely answer information requests. Print or online versions of reference tools can be utilized. However, 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 with your suggestions.
    • LIBR 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed: 
      • SLO2: Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.
  • Assignment 2: Discussion Topics (9 X 3%= 27%)
    You will be asked to visit a library or use some kind of related reference or instructional library 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 in the discussion posting. 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 and/or readings or using various reference tools 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 at least two hours at a reference desk. Use the textbook,  the RUSA guidelines, two outside articles on reference desk face-to-face services, and the grading criteria when writing about your summary of the experience and discussing your conclusions. Focus on analyzing the experience rather than simply chronocling the time at the reference desk. For example, 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?"
    • Grading Criteria:
      • A clear and robust analysis of the reference desk shadowing experience is provided that goes beyond simply a chronicling of the events.
      • 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, the RUSA guidelines, and at least two scholarly articles on reference services
      • Discuss the types of web, print, and databases used by the librarian to answer reference questions and anlyze the relative merits.
      • Describe your conclusions or reflections about what you learned because of this experience.
      • Good writing mechanics and grammar were used. Use APA for appropriate formatting of text and 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.
  • 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 some other technology of your choice. 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 when 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 as well as a variety of resources formats
      • The document organized the information in a clear and concise manner.
      • The document used correct grammar and writing mechanics
    • 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 up-to-date list of current and relevant reference resources for reference professionals on a general or specific topic to be used in a specific type of library. The topic can be broad if you are identifying useful resources for small libraries or more focused for larger libraries. The goal is to identify the best reference online and print resources for your identified subject and audience published or updated in 2008 or later.  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. Scholarly web sources and subscription should be used when appropriate. Print and online bibliographic examples are provided in the Content area.
        Print bibliography option: The final product needs to be formatted  for the reference citations as appropriate. Include short annotations using consistent formatting. 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 print selected resources as appropriate. When appropriate, include publication information for print sources (name of publisher, place, and date of publication), and frequency. NOTE: You do not have to worry about pricing for databases, etc., where there is a sliding scale.  However, you should provide information on the audience, uses, limitations, and a description of why online resource was selected. Use a standard format for the elements included. Note if reference tools have won awards or been recommended by selection tools.
       Online bibliography option: You can use an online technology of your choice such as a blog, LibGuide, or Pinterest to create an online bibliography. If the technology permits, include the same kinds of information that are required for a print resource. However, some technologies such as Pinterest have significant issues in terms of the amount of information that can be included and the flexibility in organizing the content. If you opt for a technology such as Pinterest that does not allow for the inclusion of the same level of detail, then you will be expected to provide a summary paragraph discussing the pros and cons of this instrument for providing a bibliography on your topic for reference professionals. Use a standard format for the elements included.
    • 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 provided. For online bibliographies where space constraints limited the level of detail and organization of the sources, a paragraph was provided to discuss the pros and cons of the technology utilized.
      • Information was 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.

  • Alternative Option for Either Assignment 3, 4, or 5: Prerecorded Presentation
    This option is designed to give students the opportunity to use some type of technology such as Collaborate, Jing, or Screenr for a 10-minute introduction to a database at SJSU, a library in your area, or some kind of digital repository.
        You can use your recorded video as a substitute for either Assignment 3, 4, or 5. Submit a Word document in the dropbox providing a link or instructions on how to access your recorded presentation.  NOTE: If you use a PPT presentation with voiceovers, keep a copy of the transcript in case there are problems with the voiceovers.
    • 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.
      • The selected technology was used effectively when creating the instructional video.
      • The presentation was attractive and engaging.
      • The presenter was knowledgeable about the topic and covered an appropriate level of detail in the time allotted. 
  • 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 a one-paragraph analysis/synthesis describing how your scenario also addressed the RUSA Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Service Providers.
    • 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 illustrated an effective reference transaction.
      • The analysis/synthesis addressed how the scenario addressed the RUSA guidelines.
      • Well written and grammatically correct.
    • LIBR 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed:
      • SLO3: Conduct effective reference interviews.
  • Participation
    There is no grade for participation per se beyond that of grades for weekly discussion topics. However, student participation that goes beyond the weekly requirements will be taken into considered when grades are on the edge between one letter grade and another. In other words, only students who have been actively engaged in participation (thoughtful responses that go beyond the initial posting for weekly discussion topics or that actively engaged in participation for general course topics) will merit having their letter grades rounded up rather than down!

    *** 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 or the grade does not get submitted, 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 for an incomplete unless arrangements have been made in writing, meet university criteria, and have been approved by me. 

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. (2013). Reference and information services: An introduction (3rd ed.). Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555708595arrow 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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