LIBR 281-14
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Crisis/Disaster Health Informatics
Fall 2013 Greensheet

Dr. Christine Hagar
Office Hours:
Virtually, via e-mail, Blackboard IM drop-in office hours - TBA on the D2L course website, and telephone advising by appointment.

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D2L Information: This course will be available beginning August 21st 12:00 AM. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

This course explores the inter-connectedness of information, people, and technologies in a crisis/disaster and the intersecting trajectories of social, technical and information perspectives in crises/disasters. In particular, it examines how information is generated, accessed, organized, coordinated, and disseminated during a crisis/disaster. The course also examines the multiple roles that libraries can play in crisis preparedness and response.

The course has an emphasis on crisis/disaster health information: for example, health information sources useful in crises/disasters; information dissemination during pandemics; health information provided by global related organizations, and agencies involved in crises/disasters. Students reflect on lessons learned from past crises and on strategies to manage future crises. This course equips students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to be key players in crisis response e.g. crisis/disaster health information specialists.

Course Requirements


  • Participation & engagement (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5)
    Students are required to make thoughtful contributions to class discussions, complete activities as posted on the course website (12 points - 4 discussion/activities, 3 points each).
  • Blogs (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5)
    Students will write 4 blog postings which may include comments and reflections on: the weekly topics, an information perspective on a current crisis/disaster, blogs posted by crisis information commentators (8 points - 4 blog postings, 2 points each).
  • Crisis informatics information resource (CIIR) (Supports SLO6)
    Students will create a Crisis Informatics Information Resource on a crisis/disaster of their choice. The CIIR may be related to the final paper (20 points).
  • Pandemic movie response (Supports SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5)
    Students are required to give an information perspective response to a movie about a global pandemic. Students will need to buy/rent the movie (20 points).
  • Final paper (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5)

Students will develop a final paper proposal on a topic of their choice, write the paper (12 pages), make a presentation which will be shared with the class (Final paper 30 points, proposal 5 points, presentation 10 points (total 40 points).

Further information about the assignments is given on the D2L course website.

Course Calendar

Date Topic and assignment due dates
Unit 1
Aug 21
Introductions, syllabus, course requirements
Unit 2
Aug 26 
Defining crisis informatics

Crisis life cycle: preparation, response, and recovery
Unit 3
Sept 2 
Information needs and information behaviors in crises/disasters
Unit 4
Sept 9
Information systems used in crisis/disaster management

Using social media in crises/disasters
Unit 5
Sept 16
Crowdsourcing and crowdmapping in crises/disasters

Digital volunteer organizations
Unit 6
Sept 23
Using traditional technologies in crises/disasters

Human-centered responses to crises/disasters
Unit 7
Sept 30
Roles for libraries and archives
Unit 8
Oct 7
Trust and information in crises/disasters

Final paper proposal due October 13th
Unit 9
Oct 14
Disaster Health Information Outreach Network
Unit 10
Oct 21
Public health information

Information dissemination during pandemics

Crisis informatics information resource (CIIR) due October 27th
Unit 11
Oct 28
Health information in humanitarian crises/disasters
Unit 12
Nov 4
Case studies

Pandemic movie response Nov 10th
Unit 13
Nov 11
Global health organizations
Unit 14
Nov 18
"Mobile Healthcare Information For All" Project

Final paper due Nov 24th
Unit 15
Nov 25

Final paper presentation due Dec 1st
Unit 16
Dec 2
Course reflections

Grading and assignment due dates

Participation & engagement 12 pts TBA on D2L
Blogs  8 pts Student choice
Crisis informatics information resource (CIIR) 20 pts October 27th
Pandemic movie response      20 pts November 10th
Final paper proposal       5 pts October 13th
Final paper  25 pts November 24th
Final paper presentation 10 pts Decemebr 1st

All assignments must be submitted by midnight (Pacific Time) on the day the assignment is due. Late assignments will be reduced by 20% of point value per day late. Please contact Dr.Hagar if a medical or a family/personal emergency prevents you from submitting an assignment on time.

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:

  • Hagar, C. (Ed.). (2012). Crisis information management: Communication and technologies. Chandos Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1843346478arrow 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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