LIBR 210-04
Reference and Information Services
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Professor Steve J. Tash
Other contact information: mobile (949) 683-7151 9am-7pm PST
Office location:
Instant Messaging on Yahoo messenger.
Office Hours: Virtual office hours with email, cell phone and IM.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements

Course Assignments
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

ANGEL information: Students must self-enroll for this course using ANGEL. Students must self-enroll between January 15-21, 2009. You will be required to use a password that I will provide using the MYSJSU messaging system.

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to the world of reference and information services  provided in various settings. We will explore different methods and models of information service delivery; examine and evaluate key information sources in various formats and types; and discuss emerging issues and trends pertinent to information access and service. Major Topics (in no particular order) are:

  1. Reference sources
  2. Search strategies and tools
  3. Reference service models (face2face Vs electronic & digital)
  4. Library instruction
  5. Ethics and policies/standards of reference and information services
  6. Impact of technology

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 202 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the course, the students will:

  1. Acquaint themselves with core reference sources in multiple disciplines.
  2. Have an understanding of the impact of technology on reference interactions.
  3. Be familiar with issues and trends in reference and information services.
  4. Identify various types of reference sources, including their characteristics and functions.
  5. Become familiar with the reference process and the characteristics of a successful reference interview.

LIBR 210 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users.
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities.
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations.
  • retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups.

Course Requirements

Course Calendar
Assignment due dates are posted at the ANGEL course site however; they are
all  "subject to change with fair notice".

Mandatory Elluminate Sessions

  • 2/20/09  5:30pm-8pm PST
  • 4/6/09    5:30pm-8pm PST
  • 5/2/09    9am-11:30am PST

Course Grading

  • Reference Service Evaluation= 25 points
  • Subject Specific Reference Sources= 15 points
  • Reference Issues= 15 points
  • Reference Interactions Observation Report= 10 points
  • Pathfinder= 35 points

Student work will be evaluated according to this criteria, it should:

  1. display familiarity with the appropriate literature and/or bibliographic tools
  2. show insight into the concepts and/or issues in question
  3. written work and online presentations should be neat and error-free
  4. quality of writing must be clear, direct, and correct
  5. quality of the organization-smooth, logical flow and content
  6. quality and amount of reflection, analysis, and evaluation

Above standard work is defined as clearly displaying one or more of the following criteria:

  1. originality in the approach to the assignment
  2. greater depth of analysis than the written assignment expects
  3. critical evaluation of readings comparing authors, sources or different viewpoiints
  4. ability to organize information for oneself and others plus create tools for lifelong learning and knowledge retrieval
  5. applied readings and presentations to your own experience, compared them to other readings, etc.
  6. superior work, complete command of subject, unusual depth, great creativity or originality, etc. (attainment far beyond the call of duty).

Course Participation
For the purposes of this class, participation includes thoughtful contribution to online discussions and other online activities, assigned readings, email communication and your own research and writing and demonstration that you are making an effort to master the material covered in this class.

Late Assignments
For each day late an assignment will be reduced one full grade from what would have been granted if submitted on time.

Course Assignments
All written assignments must be typed, double spaced, with a font of at least 12 points. They must also conform to APA style.

  1. Reference Service Evaluation (25 points)
    Evaluating reference and information services from the user's perspective gives you a more complete view on reference service provision. You will participate as a user in various reference transactions utilizing different modes of access (i.e. face2face, Instant Messaging, Chat, Email) and submit a critical and analytical report.
  2. Subject Specific Reference Sources (Team presentations) (15 points)
    Teams will be assigned a particular subject-specific reference source area. Teams will make virtual presentations utilizing bibliographic instruction techniques.
  3. Pathfinder (35 points)
    Creating a resource pathfinder on a certain topic is the final project of the class. It is a comprehensive assignment where a variety of important reference skills are involved. Being a reference librarian requires one to understand your patrons' information needs and help them locate appropriate resources. In order to hone these skills, you will compile an electronic pathfinder designed to assist a user with a particular information need.
  4. Reference Issues (15 points)
    The reading and understanding of articles in the professional periodical literature of library science is a must for all librarians. To assist in familiarizing students in the LIS literature, students will choose an article from professional literature that focuses on some aspect of reference service. The second part of this assignment involves subscription to a professional discussion list along with an analysis of a reference and information service issue.
  5. Reference Interactions Observation Report (10 points)
    For this project student will shadow reference librarians while they work at a reference desk, and then think critically about the experience.

Textbooks and Readings

Core Journals and Electronic Resources
You should be familiar with professional journals and other practitioner publications that explore reference and information service issues appropriate to this course.

Required Textbooks:

  • Bopp, R. E., & Smith, L. C. (2001). Reference and information services: An introduction. (3rd ed.). Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1563086247. 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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