INFO 210-10
Reference and Information Services
Spring 2016 Greensheet

Rosanne Macek
Phone: (408)202-0099
Blackboard IM:
Office location:
 Campbell, California - Pacific Standard Time
Office Hours:
 Weekends by appointment

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 28th, 6 am PT 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.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Catalog Description
A process-oriented examination of how information professionals answer reference questions. The interpersonal skills required for effective question negotiation and the sources with which questions are answered are stressed.

Additional Description
This course will introduce you to the exciting world of reference!  We will learn about the major roles of the reference librarian including answering questions, analyzing information sources, teaching information tools, and assisting users in finding good books to read.  Additional topics will include ethics, managing reference departments, evaluating reference services, reference for special populations, and we'll look ahead to what the future might hold for reference services.

Course Requirements

Course Structure
This course will be entirely asynchronous, using Canvas for all discussions and assignments.  We will follow the textbook fairly closely, with some additional readings to supplement the material in the book.  The course will consist of 15 weekly units, each starting on Monday with assignments due the following Sunday by midnight.


Practice Questions - To help you learn about many of the standard sources used to answer reference questions, you will practice answering question using those sources.  Supports CLO#1, CLO#2.  15% of grade.

Readers' Advisory - To help you answer the question "Can you help me find a good book to read?" you will become familiar with some of the tools used in readers' advisory, analyze how the tools could be used, and determine strategies for answering this type of question.  Supports CLO#1, CLO#3.  15% of grade.

Information Literacy - To introduce you to the user instruction aspect of providing reference service, you will develop a short handout that details how to use an electronic resource such as the library catalog, a database, an eBook, or other electronic resource.  Supports CLO#4CLO#5CLO#7.  15% of grade.

Reference Observation - To introduce you to the reference interview in a real-world setting, you will observe reference transactions from both the user and reference librarian points of view and write a summary of what you learned.  Suports CLO#1, CLO#3, CLO#6.  25% of grade.

Future of Reference - To look ahead to the role of reference in a rapidly-changing world, you will read several recent articles about the future of reference and write a short paper describing your personal view of how you think reference service will need to evolve to support users in the future.  Supports CLO#4, CLO#5, CLO#6, CLO#8.  10% of grade.

Class Discussions - To help you process the course content, share ideas, and support your fellow classmates, you will post one analytical response to a question and respond thoughtfully to another posting for 11 of the 15 weeks of the semester.  To allow some flexibility for busy schedules you can take 1 week off from the 11 weeks of discussions.  Supports CLO#8.  20% of grade.

Course Calendar
Here is the detailed weekly calendar, subject to change with prior notice:

1/28 Orientation & Introductions View orientation and Canvas introduction videos
1/31 Introduction Assignment Post personal introduction
2/1 Unit 1 - Intro to reference & the reference interview Chapters 1-2, ALA Code of Ethics, RUSA guidelines
2/7 Unit 1 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun
2/8 Unit 2 - Basic search techniques & the Internet as a research tool Chapters 3 & 13
2/14 Unit 2 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun
2/15 Unit 3 - Bibliographic resources & encyclopedias Chapters 4-5
2/21 Unit 3 - Assignments

Discussion posts due Fri & Sun; Practice questions due Sun

2/22 Unit 4 - Ready reference & dictionaries Chapters 6-7
2/28 Unit 4 - Assignments No discussion posts; Practice questions due Sun
2/29 Unit 5 - Databases & health/law/business Chapters 8-9
3/6 Unit 5 - Assignments No discussion posts; Practice questions due Sun
3/7 Unit 6 - Geography & biography Chapters 10-11
3/13 Unit 6 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun; Practice questions due Sun
3/14 Unit 7 - Government resources Chapter 12
3/20 Unit 7 - Assignments No discussion posts; Practice questions due Sun
3/21 Unit 8 - Reader's Advisory Chapter 14
3/27 Unit 8 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun
3/28 SPRING RECESS!! No assignments
4/4 Unit 9 - Special populations Chapter 15 + additional readings
4/10 Unit 9 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun; Readers' advisory assignment due Sun
4/11 Unit 10 - Ethics Chapter 10
4/17 Unit 10 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun
4/18 Unit 11 - Information Literacy Chapter 16
4/24 Unit 11 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun; Information literacy assignment due Sun
4/25 Unit 12 & 13 - Selecting & Managing Chapter 17 & 19
5/1 Unit 12 & 13 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun
5/2 Unit 14 - Assessing Chapter 20
5/8 Unit 14 - Assignments Reference observation assignment due Sun
5/9 Unit 15 - Future of Reference Chapter 20
5/15 Unit 15 - Assignments Discussion posts due Fri & Sun
5/20 Final Assignment Future of reference assignment due Friday

Other Relevant Information
Each unit will run Monday through Sunday, with assignments and discussion posts due on Sundays by midnight, except the final assignment which will be due on a Friday during finals. Additional readings will be assigned throughout the semester to supplement the textbook.  I appreciate that we are all busy people so you will be posting to 10 of the 11 discussions, allowing you some flexibility when needed.  There will be an automatic 15% reduction in the grade for any assignments that are turned in late, with an additional 10% for each subsequent week that they are late. Late submittals for the practice reference questions cannot be accepted.

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 210 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Investigate the current issues in managing reference departments and evaluating reference staff and various types of reference services.
  2. Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  3. Explore outreach and marketing roles of reference librarians.
  4. Describe current issues and trends on reference departments, including the impact of technology on marketing, outreach, management, and evaluation.
  5. Evaluate reference outreach, marketing, and advocacy services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
  6. Use appropriate collection development tools for selecting and evaluating reference sources.
  7. Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
  8. Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
  9. Evaluate reference sources that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 210 supports the following core competencies:

  1. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  4. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services: An introduction (3rd ed.). Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555708595arrow 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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