INFO 210-13 (1 unit)
Reference and Information Services
Topic: Reference Collections in the 21st Century
Fall 2016 Syllabus

Dr. Johanna Tunon
E-mail -- For class-related communications, use the Canvas e-mail.
Home phone: (954) 249-1449
Office location: Richmond, VA
Office hours: By appointment via Collaborate. You are welcome to call before 9 pm ET.

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning Aug. 24th, 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.

This one-unit course will be automatically available to students on Sept. 12, 2016.

NOTE: Early birds can email me if you would like the list of video lecture links for the class before the course starts.

Course Description

Catalog Description: A process-oriented examination of how information professionals select and evaluate reference collections. The selection criteria and related collection development policies required for building and maintaining reference collections are stressed.

Course Requirements

  • Assignment 1 : discussions (3 X 9%) + 3% sharing post (30% total)
    Discussions (D1, D2, D3, S4)
  • Assignment 2 (70%)
    Choose one of the project options discussed in Canvas for this assignment.

Course Calendar

Week Overview of Class Readings, Activities, and Assignments Due Dates
Wk 1
  • Getting started:
    • Post introductions
    • Course overview page and video
    • Week 1 overview page
    • Reading -- Chapter 17 pdf (Cassell & Hiremath)
    • Leondard, E. (2014).  The State of Reference Collections
    • Video lectures
  • Digging in:
    • Optional video lectures on research methods that can be used to assess reference collections (Flash videos)
    • Useful websites and sources
  • Discuss:
    • D1 -- discussions on Portal articles (9%)
Sept. 18
Wk 2
  • Getting started:
    • Week 2 overview page
    • Reading - e--book chapter
    • Video lectures
  • Digging in:
    • Useful sources and exemplars of policies
  • Discuss:
    • Week 2 discussion topic (D2) -- 9%
Sept. 25
Wk 3
  • Getting started:
    • Week 3 overview page
    • Readings -- article and e-book chapter
    • Video lectures
  • Digging in:
    • Useful sources
  • Discuss:
    • Week 3 discussion topic (D3) -- 9%
Oct. 2
Wk 4
  • Getting started:
    • Week 4 overview page and video
    • Video lectures
  • Digging in:
    • Useful sources
  • Applying what you learned:
    • Assignment 2 (A2) -- 70%
    • Sharing post  ---------  3%
Oct. 12
  • Course ends Oct. 12th:
    • All work must be submitted by midnight of the last day of class except for Assignment 2. The two-day no-questions-asked grace period applies for A2.
    • The course content will be available for a couple of additional weeks.

*Due dates are subject to change with fair notice. 

Description of Assignments and Grading Criteria
NOTE: If you have some special circumstance that makes completion of some activities difficult, contact me about possible alternative activities.

  • Assignment 1: Discussions (9% X 3 weeks = 27%) + Sharing post (3%) = 30% total
    Discussion topics take place in the first three weeks of class, and the discussion topic for Week 3 does require you to visit a library and speak with a librarian or staff person. All the weekly activities require more than posting your own personal opinions on the topic under discussion.  Address the posted discussion questions using substantive content by utilizing, analyzing, and synthesizing what you learned in the textbook, class readings, etc.
    In Week 4, there is a share post on some library-related topic.
    See the scoring rubric for  the grading criteria.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcomes addressed: 
      • CLO 3: Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
      • CLO 4: Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
    • NOTE: A number of the topics for the weekly discussions may serve as evidence to support various core competencies for your e-portfolio.

  • Assignment 2: Project  (70%)

    Choose a topic for your project from the list of project options in the Assignment folder. See a description of the project options, the scoring rubrics, and the Panopto video for details, tips, and exemplars.

    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcome addressed:
      • CLO 1: Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
      • CLO 2: Use appropriate collection development tools for selecting and evaluating reference sources.
      • CLO 5: Evaluate reference sources that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
    • NOTE: See video on using this assignment may serve as a possible artifact for the e-portfolio.

Course Grading

  • See the description of the assignments in Canvas and the grading rubrics.
  • All work is due by the date listed, but there is a two-day no-questions-asked grace period for all assignments. If you are unable to complete the work by the end of the grace period, there is a 10% penalty unless you contact me and formally make special arrangements for an extension.  
  • Check the grading criteria provided in the scoring rubrics before submitting assignments to be sure that you are addressing all of the elements that should be included in the assignments.
  • If you "blow" an assignment and get a really poor grade, you do have the option to resubmit it, but the highest possible grade for the resubmission is capped at 90%.
  • The details of the assignments, grading criteria, and grading rubrics are subject to minor adjustments with fair notice. 
  • With the exception of the standard two-day, no-questions-asked grace period, no work will be accepted after the end of the course unless you have made arrangements that meet the university criteria and have been approved by me in writing or by email.

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 202

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  2. Use appropriate collection development tools for selecting and evaluating reference sources.
  3. Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
  4. Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
  5. 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. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  2. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  3. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services: An introduction (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: 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 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).

University Policies

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: 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.

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