LIBR 287-02
LIBR 287-11
Seminar in Information Science
Topic: Web Search
Fall 2013 Greensheet

Amelia Kassel 
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D2L Information: Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course. The course will be available to students on the first day of class, Wednesday, August 21, 2013.

The Greensheet: The Greensheet is the course syllabus and may be revised before or during the semester.  Any changes will be announced via D2L News.

Course Description

The course focuses on search techniques, tools, and content needed for conducting Web-based reference and complex research using search engines and diverse sources that comprise the Deep Web, also called the Invisible Web or the Hidden Web.  Librarians and information professionals answer questions, conduct Internet research, and instruct library users in how to conduct their own searches in public, school, academic, and special and corporate libraries to meet diverse user needs.  While many information needs can be answered with a key word,  complex research often requires the need to develop search strategies based on concept analysis and synonyms or variant terminology.  The course focuses on using Web content, search systems, and search strategies for providing the right answers and in-depth research results in a time and cost-effective way.

Students will examine Web resources and learn basic and advanced techniques for answering both simple and complex questions with Google, Bing and alternative and specialty search engines. Course topics include the impact of the Internet on society, business, and government and trends in Web research.  Through readings, exercises, and discussion, students will learn about business, science, health, and technology content.

Course Requirements

Students are required to complete the following assignments:

  • Readings (Supports SLO #1): Read and discuss required books and articles assigned throughout the semester.
  • Online Discussion (Supports SLO #1, #2, #3): Read all discussion forum postings and participate minimally one time a week in online discussions by:
    • Adding thoughtful, substantive comments or questions that relate to the reading material and other assignments.
    • Interacting with other students, which is essential for creating a constructive class experience. Detailed class discussion requirements will be posted at the beginning of the semester.  Class discussion is 20%.  Lack of meeting the class discussion requirement will automatically result in a grade below a B.
  • Exercises (Supports SLO #1, #2, #3): Perform searches for a series of exercises.
  • Final Research Report (Supports SLO #1, #2, #3).
    Select one of three options for a final report:
    1. Conduct research about and experiment with one of Google’s tools or a Web search tool of your choice.  Write a descriptive and analytic report. Include a discussion of applications for a selected library or information setting and analyze advantages and disadvantages of the tool you select.
    2. A detailed and analytical comparison of several Web search tools.
    3. Select a topic of interest, conduct research, and write a report describing the sources, tools, and search strategies learned this semester.  You may include other applicable sources or tools you consider appropriate for your research.
    Final report requirements:
    • Include a title page and single-spaced abstract.
    • The report must be a minimum of eight pages not including the title page, abstract and sources used.  Longer reports are accepted.
    • Include a list of sources used
    • Follow APA style and all the rules of good organization, grammar, and syntax.
    • Use Times Roman 12 or Arial 11 typeface and double space your report.
    • Submit the file to the D2L Dropbox in a Word file with your last name and the paper title as the file name.
    All reports will be evaluated on the basis of their fit with the objectives of the course and assignments, your stated goals, normal standards of organization and composition, and quality of analysis and presentation.

    The final research report is due the last day of class, Monday, December 9, by 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

Course Calendar
Dates are subject to change with fair notice.
All exercises are due by 11.59 p.m. PST.

Assignment Due Date Point Value
Exercise 1 Monday, September 9, 2013 16
Exercise 2 Monday, September 30, 2013 16
Exercise 3 Monday, October 21, 2013 16
Exercise 4 Monday, November 18, 2013 16
Discussion Participation Participate minimally once weekly (any day of the week; read all postings 20
Final Report Monday, December 9, 2013 16

Completing all assignments accurately and on time and participating in class discussion according to instructions will earn a grade of B. To raise this grade, you will need to demonstrate above average creativity, imagination, analysis, and scholarship including:

  • Originality in the approach to assignments
  • Greater depth of analysis than assignments call for
  • Superior organizational and/or written skills in the presentation of the material
  • Grading for the final report includes its fit with the objectives of the course, your stated goals, normal standards of organization and composition, and quality of analysis and presentation.

Late Assignments
Late assignments are not accepted.  If you have a life-threatening medical emergency or a family tragedy, please contact me.  A letter from your physician is required for medical emergencies.

Extra credit is not available.

Successful students will:

  • Post a brief bio and statement of purpose during the first week of class.
  • Read and discuss the required textbooks and all other assignments.
  • Initiate and respond to discussion postings with substantive and analytical comments and questions.
  • Integrate knowledge from readings and class discussion into all assignments by quoting and citing sources.

Additional Requirements and Comments

  1. All students are graded on the same basis regardless of workload, personal, medical, or technical problems, which are each student’s responsibility.
  2. Please make yourself aware of SJSU drop dates and policies. Even if past the regular drop date, it may be better for some students to drop late rather than receive a grade below a B.
  3. Incompletes will not be awarded, no exceptions.

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, Other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Develop conceptual and practical strategies for presenting information on a mobile device.
  2. Explain the elements of a good user experience.
  3. Describe user research techniques and a design and innovation methodology.
  4. Articulate the relationship between design thinking, user experience, and innovation.
  5. Analyze library websites with user research techniques.
  6. Evaluate a library website and identify good aspects and areas that could be improved.
  7. Describe how libraries can improve their physical touchpoints with user research techniques.
  8. Apply design thinking skills to identify opportunities for libraries.
  9. Identify nontraditional user-centered library programs or services and use them to explain opportunity for the future of libraries.
  10. Describe the web service model and be able to access and retrieve information from a 3rd party service.
  11. Design interfaces to display web service content on a variety of mobile devices through responsive web design.
  12. Examine programming and markup languages used for web application development.
  13. Navigate an IDE (integrated development environment) for web application development.
  14. Describe the model-view-controller (MVC) programming model.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 287 supports the following core competencies:

  1. E Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  2. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  3. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
  4. N Evaluate programs and services based on measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Devine, J., & Egger-Sider, F. (2013). Going beyond Google again: Strategies for using and teaching the invisible web. ALA Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555708986arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hock, R. (2013). The extreme searcher's internet handbook: A guide for the serious searcher (4th ed.). Information Today. Available through Amazon: 1937290026arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Mintz, A.P. (Ed.). (2012). Web of deceit: Misinformation and manipulation in the age of social media. Information Today. Available through Amazon: 0910965919arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Ballard, T. (2012). Google this! Putting Google and other social media sites to work for your library. Chandos Publishing. Available through Amazon: 184334677Xarrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Scheeren, W. O. (2012). The hidden Web: A sourcebook. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1598846272arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Shiri, A. (2012). Powering search: The role of thesauri in new information environments. Information Today. Available through Amazon: 157387454Xarrow 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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