Reference and Information Services
Fall 2016 Syllabus
About your Instructor
Canvas Login and Tutorials
Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 24th, 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. INFO 210-01 begins on Wed. Aug. 24 and ends on Mon. Dec. 12.
You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.
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.
This course imparts core knowledge of reference and information services in a variety of environments, including: methods and models of information service delivery, basic tools for reference and information services, and emerging trends in reference and information delivery.
The major topics (in no particular order) are:
- reference sources
- the reference interview
- search strategies
- evaluation and management of reference collections (databases and websites)
- reference service models (face-to-face versus electronic)
- evaluation of reference services
- collection development and management
- serving special populations (international, minority, senior citizens, gay/lesbian, first-generation, etc.)
- the history of reference services
- management of reference services
- what is a reference librarian?
- the impact of technology
- ethics in reference
- reference standards
Intended for all interested students, though the focus will be mainly on academic library resources.
The primary requirements for this course are:
- Successfully completing assignments related to objectives listed above. Participation during each unit in the form of asynchronous Threaded Discussion.
- Reading assignment must be completed each week. Readings not in the text book are provided through Canvas.
I shall evaluate ALL written work according to the following criteria in addition to the specific requirements for each assignment:
Quality of the presentation--neat and error-free
- Quality of the writing--clear, direct, and correct
- Quality of the organization--smooth, logical flow and content
- Quality and amount of reflection, analysis, and evaluation
All papers must be typed, double spaced, with a font size of at least 12 points. They must also conform to APA style. You should own a copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition (2001) or more recent. For further information, see the iSchool APA Style Resources page.
Let the instructor know in advance if you will be unable to participate during a given week. Late assignments will be accepted up to five days past the deadline, with a penalty of 1 point (1% of course grade) per day. With an appropriate reason stated BEFORE the due date, students may be allowed additional time without penalty for UP TO THREE ASSIGNMENTS. I shall not accept any paper that is more than five days late.
You must have access to the following: Internet/World Wide Web access, Java-enabled Web browser, Microsoft Office (particularly Word), and Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.
You must be able to send and receive e-mail, including attachments. You should plan to check your e-mail and the Canvas course site regularly for announcements.
For more detailed information, consult the iSchool home computing environment page.
This course is run via Canvas. See tutorials here: Canvas Login and Tutorials
I shall have no specific online office hours, but shall be available to answer questions submitted either through the Canvas course site, or directly to me via e-mail. Please note that I am on Eastern Standard Time, and that you should expect to receive a reply to any questions within 48 hours of receipt. If you do not receive a reply to an email within 48 hours please call me at (203) 432-1761. While this rarely happens, it's possible your email got trapped in my spam filter and deleted. Any extended absences that might affect response time will be announced through the Canvas course site.
There are 100 possible points for this course, divided as follows:
|4 Article Reviews [support clo #4 and clo #5]||5 points each x 4 (20 points total)|
|3 Exercises [i.e., sets of 10 reference questions each] [support clo #2]||5 points each x 3 (15 points total)|
|2 Investigations [support clo #6, clo #3]||10 points each x 2 (20 points total)|
|2 Papers [support clo #1, clo #7, and clo #8]||10 points and 20 points (30 points total)|
|ONTIME Participation in 15 threaded discussions
(ONTIME=by midnight of the last day of the Unit to which the discussion corresponds) [support clo #8]
|1 point each x 15 (15 points total)|
Specific requirements for each assignment, including due dates, will be posted in the course site via Canvas.
EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE: Every semester students lose points by neglecting to double-check that their work has been submitted properly. DON'T LET THIS BE YOU!! To avoid disappointment, after you submit any work via Canvas, make sure you look at it once more from within the course site in Canvas, noting (1) that the file is visible; (2) that it opens correctly (no error messages); and (3) that it is the file you meant to upload. Do not rely on your instructor to catch these errors. This is YOUR responsibility.
Each student will:
- assume responsibility for his/her learning
- use the provided learning guides and resources; conduct data searches when necessary
- manage his/her time effectively (plan a schedule and practice time management)
- ask for assistance when needed; avoid unnecessary frustration and confusion
- remain active in the Discussions and Email
- prepare all work at graduate performance levels
- enter each Unit beginning the date that Unit starts. He/she is then free to access that Unit as many times as he/she likes through the end of the course
- follow good online etiquette
- You must have access to a “bricks and mortar” (i.e., physical, not just virtual) library that houses a standard collection of academic reference works.
- I prefer not to use the Chat function for this course, though you are welcome to; formal interaction of the class as a whole will take the form of Discussions.
- So that I am not inundated with email, please limit the number of emails you send me to two per week if possible. That means saving up questions, perhaps, for several days.
- Plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the assignment in question (see more on plagiarism below).
The instructor will:
- provide assistance/knowledge in facilitating understanding of the course content
- guide students through the course
- facilitate discussion through questioning, probing, examples, etc.
- provide feedback
- maintain records
- mark exams/assignments and maintain records within 15 working days
- respond to messages on Tuesdays and Thursdays
|1||Introduction to Reference and Information Services; Determining the Question|
|2||Reference 2.0; The Future of Information Service|
|3||Finding the Answer: Basic Search Techniques|
|4||When and How to Use the Internet as a Reference Tool|
|5||Reader's Advisory Work|
|7||Indexes and Full-Text Databases|
|8||Health, Legal, and Business Resources|
|10||Ready Reference Sources|
|11||Biographical Information Sources|
|13||Geographical Information Sources|
|14||Government Information Sources|
|15||Information Literacy in the Reference Department; Assessing and Improving Reference Services|
Professor Gilman holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Toronto and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston. He is Librarian for Literature in English at Yale University Library (www.library.yale.edu).
Additional course materials will be available through the Canvas course site.
You should be familiar with professional journals that explore reference and information service issues appropriate to this course, including:
- College & Research Libraries (Z671 .C6)*
- Journal of Academic Librarianship (Z671 .J58)*
- Medical Reference Services Quarterly (R118.2 .M4)*
- Public Libraries (Z673.A5 .P88)*
- Reference & User Services Quarterly (Z671 .R7)*
- The Reference Librarian (Z711 .R43x)*
- Reference Services Review (Z1035.1 .R43)*
I have taken the call numbers above from the SJSU library catalog, but they should also help you locate materials, if available, at any academic library to which you have access. Titles marked with an asterisk (*) show electronic access through the SJSU Electronic Journals List.
Electronic discussion lists constitute an important part of professional dialogue and support for reference and information service librarians. All students in this class should subscribe to LIBREF-L, the largest electronic discussion list dedicated to issues in reference librarianship.
- * Join LIBREF-L *
You will also find a variety of electronic discussion lists dedicated to specific subject areas (e.g., history librarianship), to specialized service areas often administered as part of reference and information service programs (e.g., instructional services), and to the use of information technology as a means of supporting reference and information services. You can see some of these lists in the "Webliography" section of the Canvas course site.
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 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
- Investigate the current issues in managing reference departments and evaluating reference staff and various types of reference services.
- Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
- Explore outreach and marketing roles of reference librarians.
- Describe current issues and trends on reference departments, including the impact of technology on marketing, outreach, management, and evaluation.
- Evaluate reference outreach, marketing, and advocacy services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
- Use appropriate collection development tools for selecting and evaluating reference sources.
- Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
- Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
- 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:
- D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
- F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
- I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
- N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.
- Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services: An introduction (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Neal Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555708595
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|
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 or Informatics) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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).
Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: https://www.sjsu.edu/curriculum/courses/syllabus-info.php. Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.
In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.
More accessibility resources.