INFO 220-10
Resources and Information Services in the Disciplines and Professions - Maps & GIS
Fall 2015 Greensheet

Dr. S. Aber
Other contact information: 620-340-2353
Office location:  Emporia, Kansas and online
Office Hours: Available via email & BbIML Susan.Aber

Greensheet Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 20th, 6 am PDT unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open on the first day that the class meets. Course sites will close on February 28, 2016.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Enrollment Information

This is a 2-unit course from October 1 through December 3. It is delivered via Canvas learning management system, which was adopted in 2014.  Enrolled students should receive course invitations via email, the same day the course site will become available. Advanced information will be sent via MySJSU on or before September 28.

Course Description

Across distances we communicate in work and play tethered to a phone.  Whereas land line phones tie us to place, we are on the move with mobile technology.  Cellular phones compel us to ask… Where are you?  While you know you are here, how does someone else find the path to get there?  If map comes to mind, then you are thinking like a cartographer who studies and maps regional variation in human activity as well as flora and fauna, rocks and stars, weather and natural disasters, and more. 

Cartographers work to record routes, describe and illustrate patterns, and show change over time from historic to current landscapes using maps and geospatial data. This is accomplished in graphical terms, coordinated with a scale and an imaginary grid draped over Earth or even the night sky.  Yet today with the plethora of online mapping programs and software as well as access to satellites and global positioning systems, the question is not what cartography is, rather who is the cartographer and where can we find resources needed to orient and create maps?

INFO 220 is a reference course focused on maps and geospatial data users and needed resources as well as on the services librarians provide and collections in libraries. This is an opportunity to get to know characteristics of people who use maps and duties of map librarians who help to locate maps, geospatial data and imagery.  No prior knowledge of geography or geoscience in general is assumed. All students are welcome whether or not you find your way using global positioning system technologies or familiar landmarks. This course will benefit the geospatially challenged and geography bee winner alike.

Course Requirements

Like all SJSU iSchool classes, this course is taught in a totally online environment and will involve synchronous and asynchronous activity. Important deadlines for the class include:

  • October 26: Assignments for modules 1, 2, and 3 are due and this is the day for a
    synchronous sharing session (participation is strongly encouraged but, voluntary; alternative task for sharing will be required if not attending synchronous session).
  • November 16: Assignments for modules 4, 5, and 6 are due and this is the day for a synchronous sharing session (participation is strongly encouraged but, voluntary; alternative task for sharing will be required if not attending synchronous session).
  • December 3: The final project and all work must be successfully completed. 

Course Assignment Details

  • Information-seeking behaviors (Supports CLO #1)
    Students will recognize characteristics of map & GIS users by holding informal conversations and demonstrate competency by:
    • identifying how maps & GIS are used
    • describing types and formats of resources needed
    • detailing methods and locations used to find and acquire needed resources
  • Analyzing user experiences (Supports CLO #2)
    Students will solve basic map & GIS reference questions and demonstrate competency by: 
    • locating cartographic resources via library classification and catalog search
    • describing services needed to find and acquire
  • Duties of map librarians (Supports CLO #3)
    Students will hold informal conversations with a map or GIS librarian and demonstrate competency by:
    • identifying what is done on a typical day to help maps & GIS users
    • describe resource types and formats currently held in the library
    • detail methods used to find and acquire resources off site
  • Promoting map and GIS resources and/or services (Supports CLO #4)
    Students will design a project to promote map library services and demonstrate competency by:
    • creating resource guide or detailing instructions for using online mapping programs or locating map and geospatial data  

Course lectures and readings will be provided.  The textbooks listed below are excellent resources, but expensive.  As such, the books are recommended, not required for this elective course.  Search WorldCat to find a nearby library and check-out the books.  Albresh et al. (2008) has a focus on integrating GIS academic library including chapters on map librarianship, reference, cataloging, and collection development.  Dodsworth (2012) has a practical focus on online mapping and GIS, including tutorials on Web Mapping; direction for GIS data and ESRI Arc software products; and expanding library services with GIS.

Course Calendar
The fall 2015 semester for a 2-unit course is October 1-December 3 with breaks for SJSU holiday observances.  The calendar below is a guide and subject to change with fair notice.

Fall Calendar - Topics & Assignments
Getting Acquainted
DF 01: Intro – 10/5
Maps & GIS Resources – User Needs
Project 1: Information-seeking behaviors:
Users & Uses of Maps & GIS – 10/26
Module 1
Lecture: Defining Maps, GIS,
& Geoliteracy -
DF02:  Resources- Print & Online Maps – 10/19
Module 2
Lecture: Basic Map &
Geospatial Concepts
Module 3
Lecture: Web GIS & Geospatial Data
DF03:  Services-Data & Use Interactive Maps– 11/2

You are invited to attend!
 Collaborate Session for Project #1 Results:
How People use Maps & GIS
6:30-8:00 pm Pacific Time
Map Libraries & Librarians - Reference & Services
Project 2:  Duties: Map & Geospatial Librarians – 11/16
Module 4
Lecture: Map & Geospatial Librarianship
DF04: Analyze- Map/Geospatial LibGuides – 11/16
Module 5
Lecture: Research & Instruction - Navigating Labyrinth of
Cartographic Resources
Module 6
Lecture: Reference Desk Basics
11/11 Veteran’s Day–SJSU observance

You are invited to attend!
 Collaborate Session for Project #2 Results:
A Map/GIS Librarian's Story

6:30-8:00 pm Pacific Time
Promoting & Marketing
Project 3: Promote Map/GIS Library
Resources & Services – 12/3
Module 7
Lecture: Collection Management /
Classifying & Cataloging
DF05: GIS Day (11/18) & Geography Awareness (11/15-21) -11/30
Promoting & Marketing: Map & GIS Resources & Services
11/26-27 Thanksgiving Holiday–SJSU observance
Module 8
Lecture: Map Care & Preservation
Module 9
Promoting Map & Geospatial
Libraries & Librarians
SOTE form is available
Congratulations - You did it!
Time to Celebrate!


  • 20% weight of grade given to each one of the three projects; 40% weight of grade is given to the remaining five mini-assignments.
  • Late Assignment Policy is meant to keep an easy pace of progress throughout the semester.  Due dates for projects are firm and late submissions may be subject to grade penalties. Please contact me in advance of the stated due date, when if more time is needed; a late pass may be granted once during the semester, for up to one week beyond the due date without penalty. Beyond the one week extension, late assignments will still be accepted with the understanding that 5% penalties accrue daily.

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

INFO 220 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 220 supports the following core competencies:

  1. INFO 220 has no supported core competencies defined in the database.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Abresch, J., Hanson, A., & Heron, S. J. (2008). Integrating geographic information systems into library services: A guide for academic libraries. Information Science Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1599047268. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Dodsworth, E. (2013). Getting started with GIS: A LITA guide. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555707750arrow 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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