LIBR 256-10
Archives & Manuscripts
Summer 2013 Greensheet

Erin Lawrimore
Contact information: Contact via e-mail; telephone or Elluminate appointments can be arranged

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This course will be available on D2L on Monday, June 4. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

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managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished material.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 manuscript and records acquisition and appraisal, arrangement and description, conservation and preservation, reference and access.

In addition to basic theory and practice, students will be introduced to the variety of types of archival institutions, both in the United States and abroad.

This course will take place completely online via D2L, with weekly participation on the bulletin boards required.

Course Requirements

All assignments should be submitted electronically through the assignment’s dropbox.

  1. Archives tour assignment (Supports SLO#1) – 15 points (due June 23)
    Students should arrange a tour of an archival facility. A short summary (3-5 pages) outlining the trip will be shared with classmates on Angel. The summary should include basic information about the repository, its mission, its collections, its staffing, and its researchers. Students unable to tour a facility will be given an alternative assignment.
  2. Arrangement and description project (Supports SLO#2) - 15 points (due July 7)
    A small archival collection will be scanned and made available through Angel. Arrange these materials and create a complete finding aid for the collection using sample finding aids provided as a guide.
  3. Web Analysis/User-Centered assignment (Supports SLO #3) – 15 points (due July 28)
    Each student will be assigned a “home” institution. The student will examine the institution’s website, with a particular focus on finding aids and other methods of learning about collections and determining holdings. Using information from class and outside research, the student will create an essay (about 5 pages) providing a thoughtful and comprehensive critical analysis of the website’s tools for archival access.
  4. Final exam (Supports SLO #1) - 35 points (due FRIDAY, August 9)
    The final exam will consist of two discussion questions covering the breadth of material discussed in class. Students will create a succinct answer of no more than 5 pages to each question utilizing course lecture notes and readings as well as outside materials deemed appropriate by the student. The exam questions will be distributed on July 29.
  5. Participation in online discussions (Supports SLO #5) (due weekly) - 20 points
    Students are expected to participate in the weekly online discussions. Each week, questions will be posted to the online forums to stimulate discussion. While the student need not address the initial question directly, each student is required to participate in the discussion by making (at least two) brief (approximately 200 words each) yet thoughtful postings each week. Ideally, these postings will result in a conversation between the student and classmates, stimulated by the initial question but guided by student and instructor postings.
  6. Extra Credit: Interview with an archivist (Supports SLO #2) - 5 points (due no later than August 4, but may be turned in at any time during the semester)
    Students may conduct an interview with a professional archivist either by phone, in person, or by email. Then, the student should write an essay (5-7 pages) that might discuss the archivist’s professional background and development, his/her work responsibilities and activities, the type of work done and the types of materials collected by his/her repository, the archivist’s views on major professional issues, and/or the unique challenges faced by working at his/her repository. To provide the student with a breadth of experience in the archival profession, this archivist should be employed at an institution other than the one visited for assignment #1.

Course Calendar

This information is subject to change.

Required Texts
**There are NO required texts for this class.** Numerous articles and excerpts from books, however, will be made available on the course D2L site.

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 200

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.


No Textbooks For This Course.

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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