LIBR 281-03
LIBR 281-13
Seminar in Contemporary Issues 
Topic: Information Environments: Where can you work with an MLIS?
Fall 2013 Greensheet

Jean Bedord
Emergencies/Prior Appointment: 408-257-9221
Office location: Virtual
Office hours: E-mail reaches me faster than other communication. But I expect most communication to occur within the D2L environment, so I can answer to the entire class. Use LIBR281 in the Subject line or it may get lost in my email filters.

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore

Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course on the first day of class, August 21.

Course Description

This course will investigate the types of environments/venues, and organizational settings (physical and virtual) in which information professionals may operate. These venues include public, academic, and special libraries/information centers, archives, museums and records centers,  as well as search engine companies and software companies, information producers (various flavors of publishers, including the "born digital" types), information management companies (software and services which manage content) and information aggregators (search engines, portals, and abstracting/indexing companies). Their development, administration, resources, functions and services will be evaluated. Issues and trends will be addressed.

Course Requirements

D2L Environment
Lectures, assignments, discussions and announcements will be on DL2  All written assignments are submitted electronically via the D2L Dropbox, NOT as email attachments.

Collaborate Sessions
There will be an introductory Collaborate session to provide an overview of site visits, and conference/tradeshows.  There will also at least one Collaborate session for students doing live narrated PowerPoint presentations.  Live attendance is recommended, though the sessions will be recorded for later viewing. 

The course is broken into topics which will include:

  • An online lecture provided by the instructor via D2L
  • Articles from the professional literature, and;
  • Other materials, including vendor information and web sites.

Online Discussions
Each topic will have a corresponding Discussion, which will focus on different information environments, issues and trends.

Participation in the online discussions is essential for success in this course. Students are expected to post at least two comments on each discussion topic, one an original contribution and the other a response to another student’s post. Please check in on the discussions occasionally throughout the week. Note that participation is 20% of your grade, so non-participation will automatically reduce your grade below a B.

Report #1: Library Website Comparison:
Evaluate two public or academic websites from the standpoint of a digital branch manager.  You will write a report comparing the services provided and the technology utilized in providing access to information users, as well as issues for each environment.  Supports SLO #1

Report #2: Information Environments - Services in Other Institutional Venues (OIVs)
Visit two non-traditional venues which provide library and information services.  Examples are hospitals, prisons, public law libraries, government and churches.  They should not be public, academic or school libraries, though specialized research libraries within academic institutions may be considered. You will write a report to critically compare and contrast their purposes and the information users for whom they provide services.  Supports SLO #2
Report #3: Information Environments -  Archives and Records Management
Interview an employee or do an onsite visit to two organizations whose primary purpose is archives and/or records management. These can be digital collections. Examples are government collections and museums, as well as film libraries, and other media.  You will write a report to critically compare and contrast the purposes of the collections and their information users. Supports SLO #3

Professional Presence: LinkedIn Profile
Setup your LinkedIn profile and link to other information professionals, as you learn to use online networking tools for research into other information environments.

Conference / Tradeshow Narrated PowerPoint Presentation
Attend a conference /trade show with the primary purpose of evaluating vendors.  The conference can be related to libraries, information science, search, web 2.0, computer science, education or related topics. It must have vendors in an exhibit hall that you can meet face-to-face for product evaluations. 

Students will be responsible for identifying an conference / tradeshow for their interests.  Attending the conference itself is recommended, not required, but visiting vendor exhibits is required.  Note:  Free or low cost passes are often available, particularly for exhibits. Supports SLO #4SLO #5

You will create a short PowerPoint presentation on the conference you attended, the vendors you evaluated, and your insights.  This will be presented either live in an Elluminate session or by creating a video which can be shared with the class.

Final Paper
Select one of the areas covered in this course that interests you professionally. Explore and do additional research on the issues and opportunities in the area that you have selected. What types of organizations or institutions hire information professionals? What are their purposes? What are the demographics of their information users? What types of information are they managing?  Are they providing services or managing collections? What insights into this area did you gain through course material, your site visits and conference/trade show attendance?
This is a 10 to 15 page paper due the final week of class. Use APA formatting and  the usual rules of good grammar and syntax. You will be expected to use a minimum of 8 cited sources (articles, book chapters, website materials, etc.)    Supports SLO #2, SLO #3, SLO #4

The following information environments will be covered in this course:

  • Introduction / Criteria for identifying a conference /trade show
  • Public /Academic/School libraries
  • Specialized Libraries / Information Centers / Knowledge Centers
  • Archives and Records Management 
  • Information Producers /Publishers, from print to electronic and multimedia
  • Information Aggregators, from search engines and portals  to abstracting and indexing services
  • Information Management software and services vendors


Assignment Points
Report #1: Library Websites Comparison 10 points
Report #2: Information Environments-Services 15 points
Report #3: Information Environments-Archives/Records 15 points
Professional Presence:  LinkedIn Profile / Research 10 points
Conference/trade show Narrated PowerPoint    20 points
Final paper 10 points
Class Participation/D2L Discussion 20 points
Total 100 points

No extra credit will be available.

Course Calendar
Assignment due dates will be provided in the D2L course. They are subject to change with reasonable notice.

Late Assignments
Points earned for late assignments will be reduced by 10 percent for every 24 hour period between the due date and the submitted date. No incompletes will be assigned.


See Textbook below the Learning Ojbectives.  Course readings and websites will be provided within D2L. 

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, LIBR 202, LIBR 204, Other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Articulate major issues and problems related to metadata.
  2. Apply current metadata terminology and concepts, including major content and encoding schemes for digital libraries.
  3. Analyze and critically apply different approaches to metadata creation, storage, management, and dissemination within different information communities for different purposes.
  4. Critically analyze and compare different metadata standards and their applicability to different contexts, and apply basic metadata quality metrics to assess the relative quality of different types of descriptive metadata.
  5. Create descriptive metadata for digital resources, and design and plan metadata database templates for digital resource projects.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of information policy issues and services from an ethical standpoint, as well as noting the differences between professional ethics and legality.
  7. Build the skills needed to make decisions on complex cases related to information access, services, technology and society.
  8. Analyze the importance of professional conduct in the workplace, including those elements related to interpersonal interactions, sensitivity to organizational culture, ability to take initiative and risks, and socially responsible behavior as it relates to ethical (professional) dilemmas.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Articulate the ethics, values, and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom.
  2. C Recognize and describe cultural and economic diversity in the clientele of libraries or information organizations.
  3. E Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  4. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital items and collections.
  5. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information, including classification, cataloging, metadata, or other systems.


Required Textbooks:

  • Rezac, D., Thomson, J. & Hallgren-Rezac, G. (2005). Work The Pond! Use the power of positive networking to leap forward in work and life. Prentice-Hall. Available through Amazon: 0735204020 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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