LIBR 202-03
LIBR 202-13
Information Retrieval
Fall 2013 Greensheet

Dr. Geoffrey Z. Liu
Other contact information: telephone: (408) 924-2467
Office location: Clark Hall 418L, SJSU Campus
Office Hours: Email, Blackboard IM, and in-person by appointment

Greensheet Links
Additional Links
Course Calendar
D2L Login and Tutorials
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LIBR 202 Resources
Shared Resources
Supplemental Readings
WebData Pro Tutorials

D2L & Blackboard Collaborate (Elluminate) Information: Class activities will be carried out in both the D2L and Blackboard Collaborate (previously known as Elluminate) systems. Students will be automatically enrolled into the D2L class based on MySJSU registration, and therefore do not need to manually enroll. This course will be available after August 16, 2012.

Course Description

Principles of information retrieval and their application to information systems and services. Emphasizing models of user information seeking behavior, human information processing and their relationship to retrieval models in information systems.

Course Requirements

Complete LIBR 203: Online Social Networking: Technology and Tools.
This is a mandatory 1 unit course that introduces students to the various e-learning tools used in the SLIS program. For more information, see:


Students' performance in this class will be evaluated based on completion of the following tasks:

  • Posting of self introduction (2%)
  • Group projects
    • Database design (GPDD) -- SLO #2, #3
      • Part A: Design and implementaiton (15%)
      • Part B: Peer evaluation and response (5%)
    • System review of OPAC/search engine (GPSR) (10%) -- SLO #1, #3-7
  • Group discussion of information seeking behaviors (ISB) -- SLO #7
    • Leading/moderating (4%)
    • Particpation by responding (4%)
  • Individual report on information seeking behaviors (10%) -- SLO #2, #5, #7
  • Term paper (TP) (50%) -- SLO #1-7

At the start of semester, students will be randomly assigned into groups (of optimal size of five) to complete the group projects of database design/evaluation and  system (search engine) review and to conduct online discussion of information seeking behaviors.

For the task of system review, each group will choose one IR system (web/fulltext/multimedia search engine or OPAC), and all members in a group will work on the same chosen system. Each member will focus on one of different aspects of the chosen system (search functions, indexing mechanisms, interface design, effectiveness assessment, and collection scale/quality/general features), being responsible for sharing findings with other group members and later for writing up the corresponding part/section of the group report.

For the group discussion of users' information seeking behaviors, each member will focus on a different user group/community (and/or setting). The member will be responsible for posting initial summary based on key scholarly literature (1-3 recent publications) and for leading/moderating online group discussion thereafter. At the conclusion, each member will submit an individual written report, summarizing his/her research and insights from group discussion.

The term paper is to discuss emerging trends, technologies, or issues in the general areas of information processing, information retrieval, information management, and information use, based on review of scholarly literature. Students are to identify a topic of his/her interest, and the proposed topic needs to be approved by the instructor. For each student, the focus of term paper needs to be significatly different from his/her individual report of information seeking behaviors.

All written works should be word processed and free of grammatical and spelling errors. The APA guidelines of citation, references, and formatting are to be followed consistently. Tutorial, assistence, and resources for improving academic writing skills are available at the SLIS Writing Resources Center.

It is students' responsibility to submit and maintain the electronic version of their work until the final grade is issued.

Course Calendar
(The brief calendar below is tentative. Final and extensive version will be provided in the D2L class site.)

Week Topic Task/Dues
(All by 11:30pm)
Orientation Blackboard Collaborate meeting
Introduction Posting self introduction
GPDD – Start
Entity-Based Information Retrieval  
Subject Analysis and Subject Headings GPDD-A DUE
Library Classification GPDD-B1 DUE
Cognition and Behavior of Information Seeking GPDD-B2 DUE
Group Discussion of ISB - Initial posting
File Structure of IR Systems GPSR - Approval of system choice
Inverted File and Keyword/Field Indexing GPSR - Collection
ISB Individual Report DUE
Boolean Logic and Searching Mechanism GPSR - Search functions
Full Text-Based Information Retrieval GPSR - Indexing/searching
TP – approval of topic
Relevance Judgment and Performance Evaluation GPSR - Assessment/general
(Web-Based) Interface Design for IR Systems GPSR - interface design
Overview of Advanced IR Technologies GPSR Group Report DUE
  (TP research and writing)  
Term Paper TP DUE

Students' work will be evaluated according to the following specific criteria.

  • Basic content as required (70%);
  • Originality and creativity (20%);
  • Quality of writing (10%);

Letter grades will be assigned to all assignments. The Standard SJSU SLIS Grading Scale will be used to translate letter grades to points and vice versa. No extra credit is offered for additional work.

Late submission will not be accepted unless appropriate documentation of legitmate cause for the delay is provided. Request for extension of deadline will be treated the same as of Incomplete in accordance to the university/school policy.

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 has no prequisite requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define metadata, both structure and representation, and identify standards such as the MARC record, LC Classification, Dublin Core, and NISO 39.19.
  2. Create a user model, articulate the information needs of the intended users, and design a database information retrieval system to meet those needs.
  3. Use Boolean logic to query the databases they create as class projects. with effective searches in both natural language and controlled vocabulary fields
  4. Evaluate a database information retrieval system, including its indexing, using standard measures such as recall and precision.
  5. Articulate fundamental concepts of information-seeking behavior and their application in the design and evaluation of systems.
  6. Explain basic principles of good interface design and be able to evaluate interfaces using those principles.
  7. Define terms reflecting fundamental concepts of information retrieval, apply them in analyses of their projects, and use them in class discussions.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 202 supports the following core competencies:

  1. E Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  2. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information, including classification, cataloging, metadata, or other systems.
  3. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.


Required Textbooks:

  • Chowdhury, G. G. (2010). Introduction to modern information retrieval (3rd ed.). Neal-Schuman. Amazon: 1555707157. 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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