LIBR 210-02
Reference and Information Services
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Professor Steve J. Tash
Other contact information: mobile (949) 683-7151 9am-7pm PST
Office location:
Instant Messaging on Yahoo messenger.
Office Hours: Virtual office hours with email, cell phone and IM.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements

Course Assignments
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

ANGEL information: Students must self-enroll for this course using ANGEL. Students must self-enroll between August 21 and  August 24, 2009. You will be required to use a password that I will provide using the MYSJSU messaging system.

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to the world of reference and information services  provided in various settings. We will explore different methods and models of information service delivery; examine and evaluate key information sources in various formats and types; and discuss emerging issues and trends pertinent to information access and service. Major Topics (in no particular order) are:

  1. Reference sources
  2. Search strategies and tools
  3. Reference service models (face2face Vs electronic & digital)
  4. Library instruction
  5. Ethics and policies/standards of reference and information services
  6. Impact of technology

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 202 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the course, the students will:

  1. Acquaint themselves with core reference sources in multiple disciplines.
  2. Have an understanding of the impact of technology on reference interactions.
  3. Be familiar with issues and trends in reference and information services.
  4. Identify various types of reference sources (in multiple formats), including their characteristics and functions.
  5. Become familiar with the reference process and the characteristics of a successful reference interview.
  6. demonstrate an ability to evaluate a variety of reference programs and their components.
  7. have explored reference and information delivery (incl. bibliographic instruction) as a library service and function.

LIBR 210 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users.
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities.
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations.
  • retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups.

Course Requirements

Course Calendar
Assignment due dates are posted at the ANGEL course site however; they are
all  "subject to change with fair notice".

Week Overview of Class Activities & Assignments Due Dates
Wk 1

  Overview/Ref interview/history

Readings Text chap 1& 3 Text website chap 1 & 3
Review Ref Interview Videos-Course Site Resources for links

Post Introductions to DB Forum

Elluminate 8/29 9-11:30am PST
course site intro/ref interview videos discussion/break/teams meet & greet .

Post Introductions

Wk 2 Sept.4 Phil of Service/Ethics
Text chap.2 website chap 2
DB Forum topic-Describe family and friends' perceptions of the library profession.
Wk 3
Sept 7

Information Organization & Search Strategies

Text chap.4 website 4

DB Forum-Ref issues-Article summaries of best practices or case studies on reference interviews. Post by 5pm PST Sept. 13
Wk 4
Electronic Resources
text chap.5 website 5
DB Forum Topic:Make a recommendation for the relative merits of various search engines
Wk 5

Reference issues

text chap.6 website 6

DB Forum-Ref issues-Article summaries for phone/email/virtual/chat/mobile reference services. Post by 5pm PST Sept. 27
Wk 6
Sept. 28
Ref Services
Bopp. chap.7 website 7
DB Forum topic: Assess in person reference interview experience
Wk 7
Bibliographic instruction
Bopp, chap 8 website c.8 website 8

Elluminate Session: 10/10/09 9am-12noon PST.  Presenters will be those w/last names A-K and/or volunteers for BI Session Individual  presentations. 

DB Forum-Ref issues-Article summaries on reference outreach, roving reference, embedded libraries, information commons, or reader's advisories. Post by 5pm PST. Oct.11

Wk 8
Oct. 12
Staffing, Training
Bopp 9 website 9
DB Forum Question: Assess your digitial reference interview experience
Wk 9
oct. 19
Evaluation of Ref Services
Bopp, Chap 10 website 10

DB Forum-Ref issues-Article summaries of research on reference service.  Post by 5pm PST. Oct.25

Due Reference Service Evaluation-Submit by 5pm PST October 25

Wk 10
oct. 26
Special populations
Bopp, C.12, website 12

DB Forum-Ref Issues-Article summaries on bibliographic instruction/information literacy/instructional design/assessing instruction. Post by 5pm PST Nov. 1


Wk 11
Nov. 2
Finalize work on group and individual presentations

Elluminate Session: 11/3/09  5pm-8pm PST.
Bibliographic Instruction Session -Individual Student presentations (remainder of class).

Elluminate Session: 11/7/09  9am-12:30pm PST. Reference Bibliographic Instruction-TEAM PRESENTATIONS.

DB Forum-Ref issues-Article summaries on library instruction for distance education/remote/online users or Web 2.0 applications.

post by 5pm PST November 8

Wk 12
Nov. 9
 Reference Delivery
Bopp, C.11 website 11

DB Forum-Ref issues-Article summaries on serving special populations. Post by 5pm PST Nov. 15

due ON OR BEFORE 5pm PST. Nov. 15--Bibliographic instruction peer review feedback on classmate presentation; reflective posting on experience.

Wk 13
Nov. 16
Selection & Evaluation Ref Sources
Bopp, chap.13, website 13
DB Forum-Ref issues-Article summaries on the future of reference services. Post by 5pm PST Nov. 22
Wk 14
Nov. 23
 Wrapping things up

DB Forum-Ref issues-Student reflections posting on a topic addressed in article summaries. Post by 5pm PST Dec. 1.

Due 5pm PST-November 29: Last day to post class discussion postings.

Due 5pm PST -November 29: Ref issues ListServ

Wk 15
Dec. 2
optional discussion topic-suggested changes for next term  
  Course Ends December 8

Mandatory Elluminate Sessions

  • 8/29/09
    9am-11am PST
  • 10/10/09
    9:00am- 12 noon pm PST
  • 11/3/09
    5:00pm-8pm PST
    9:00am-12:30pm PST

Assignment points/total

1. Class participation 5 pts
2. Ref issues-Article summaries 10 pts
3. Reference Service Evaluation (f2f;digital;pathfinder) 25 pts
4. BI Sesson on Elluminate 20 pts
5. Reference issues/ListServ-Discussion List 5 pts
6. Reference Bibliographic Instruction -Elluminate  (team project) 35 pts
Total 100 points

Student work will be evaluated according to this criteria, it should:

  1. display familiarity with the appropriate literature and/or bibliographic tools
  2. show insight into the concepts and/or issues in question
  3. written work and online presentations should be neat and error-free
  4. quality of writing must be clear, direct, and correct
  5. quality of the organization-smooth, logical flow and content
  6. quality and amount of reflection, analysis, and evaluation
  7. demonstrate a degree of orginality

Above standard work is defined as clearly displaying one or more of the following criteria:

  1. originality in the approach to the assignment
  2. greater depth of analysis than either the visual presentation or the written assignment expects
  3. critical evaluation of readings comparing authors, sources or different viewpoints
  4. ability to organize information for oneself and others plus create tools for lifelong learning and knowledge retrieval
  5. applied readings and presentations to your own experience, compared them to other readings, etc.
  6. superior work, complete command of subject, unusual depth, great creativity or originality, multiple audio/visual and/or social network tools utilized, etc. (attainment far beyond the call of duty).

Student Expectations
For the purposes of this class, participation includes thoughtful contribution to online discussions and other online activities, assigned readings, email communication and your own research and writing and demonstration that you are making an effort to master the material covered in this class. You are expected to read and carefully consider all the readings, particpate fully in all activities and discussions during the class duration, as well as turning in assignments by the due dates.

It is important to pay attention to time management in order to complete an online course successfully. Although you can access the course materials online at any time, plan to set aside time each week to complete the readings and assignments. It is easy to get behind, so be organized, disciplined and self-motivated. Due dates for assignments are not negotiable. procrastinatin should be avoided. Please check the site regularly for announcements, assignments, discussion forum questions, etc. Assignments and course schedule are subject to change given fair notice. If that happens, you will be notified as soon as possible.  If you do not understand assignments, projects, etc., it is your responsbility to inform me. If you are having difficulty, please contact me early so that we can resolve problems. You may ask your classmates for help. You must complete all assignments to pass the course.

Late Assignments
Except for medical reasons or other instructor authorized tardiness no late assignments will be excepted. If granted an extension your assignment grade will be reduced 10% of total score per day late.

Course Assignments
All written assignments must be typed, double spaced, with a font of at least 12 points. They must also conform to APA style.

  • Reference Service Evaluation (25 points)
    Evaluating reference and information services from the user's perspective gives you a more complete view on reference service provision. You will participate as a user in various reference transactions utilizing different modes of access (i.e. face2face, Instant Messaging, Chat, Email) and submit a critical and analytical report. Part 1 of this assignment involves a f2f reference interview. Part 2 involves two digital reference interviews with part 3 culminating with you developing a 1-2 page pathfinder to help you find relevant resources on the topic of interest based on resources gathered during your reference interviews. Part 4 of this assignment requires student to write a 1-2 page analysis comparing/contrasting the f2f and digital interviews. Helpful sample LIBR 210 pathfinders at

    Grading Criteria:
    • The information need of the student was identified in the reference interviews.
    • The description of the reference interview(s) demonstrated a strong focus on how to correctly conduct a reference interview
    • The pathfinder addressed the student's identified information needs.
    • The pathfinder was attractive and appropriate for the age and ability level of the user(s).
    • The pathfinder identified a variety of appropriate resources for the information need.
    • The pathfinder organized the information in a clear and concise manner.
    • Both the description of the reference interview(s) and the pathfinder used correct grammar and writing mechanics.
  • Reference Bibliography Instruction Project  (Team Presentation) (35 points)
    This is the culminating component of the course and thus is worth a third of the your total score.  You will need to prepare an information literacy presentation on Elluminate. You may utilize any or all resources such as a class wiki, blog or other Web 2.0 Resource to maintain your pathfinder/bibliography/webliography.  Your final product MUST include a bibliography but may be expanded to include a pathfinder and/or webliography.  Topics and teams will be developed during our first Elluminate meeting. Time will be set aside for team meetings at first elluminate session. For this project there are several components. Your team's assignment is to identify the best reference online and print resources for  public, school, and academic libraries available in 2009 in your assigned subject-specific area.

    The final product(pathfinder, bibliography and/or webliography)  must be formatted using APA for the reference citations, and the annotations are included with a critical evaluation of each source that includes information on the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost (if appropriate) of your selected resources. You must utilize the RUSA guidelines( in constructing each subject area of the bibliography. They should include many of the following: Powerpoint presentation, audio/visual components , supporting materials for participants including a bibliography and pathfinder/webliography on the specific subject area,  speaker cheat sheet/notes or other guides for the presenter, an outline of the presentation format,  and user guides (for print or online use). Teams will be assigned a particular subject-specific reference source area during our first elluminate session.

    Each team can decide on how to divide your work, but to facilitate grading, each resource needs the name of the person who wrote the annotation at the end of the summary.  The majority of your grade will be based on your selection of resources and annotations, and a smaller percentage of the grade will be based on the team's overall preparation and presentation of  assignment and cooperation between team members to produce a professional product that looks cohesive and organized in a logical manner. Teams will make virtual presentations utilizing bibliographic instruction techniques on Elluminate and should include a variety of new information and skills you have acquired to be used in a real life or simulated instructional format.

    Grading Criteria:
    • Team work in various subject areas and overall design
    • Focused selection of resources for subject area
    • Logical  justification for the choices is provided
    • Information about the the coverage and scope, format, authority, treatment, arrangement, special features, and cost(if appropriate) of the resources accurate, well organized, and concise.
      APA formatting and followed RUSA guidelines for preparing a bibliography
  • Bibliographic Instruction Session via Elluminate (20 points)
    BI Session- 14 points
    Instructional Handout- 4 pts
    Peer Review Feedback- 1 pt

    Reflection on what you learned in the process- 1 pt
    This project is designed to give students an opportunity to use Elluminate for a short (5 minute) demonstration and introduction to a SJSU library database OR Web 2.0/Library 2.0 application. This allows the student practice time with bibliographic instruction and an opportunity to teach in an online environment; these sessions also provide the rest of the class with an introduction to some relevant databases and Web 2.0 resources that they might not otherwise come in contact with or learn about. My student elluminate assistant will only be able to help you with Elluminate questions.  It is up to the student to develop their own lesson plan and any needed supplemental materials such as a handout or web resource or speaker notes. I will have a DB forum for this assignment on a first-come, first-serve basis to select a topic.

    I am encouraging you to discuss your selections with any of the SJSU Librarian specialists in your DB area.  See SJSU King library website ( I am assuming that these subject specialist librarians are familiar with Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 applications as well so you may contact them as well or our SLIS liaison (Lorene Sisson;  (408-808-2044; She does make appointments with my students to meet with them on Elluminate during the Self Help hours.

    Because librarians work in groups and teams in most library and information center settings and thus provide feedback and work in brainstorming sessions, I am including a follow-up part to this assignment where you will be expected to provide at least one other student in the class with substantive feedback on his or her presentation. In order that some students do not get unfairly bombarded with feedback, I will be assigning each of you,  to provide feedback on someone presenting on the same day as your own presentation. it should include a variety of new information and skills you have acquired to be used in a real life or simulated instructional setting.

    Grading Criteria:
    • The student presenter introduced him or herself and explained the goals for the instructional session.
    • Instructional session was well organized and covered the major points about the selected database or Web 2.0 application. The student presenter demonstrated how to use the database or Web 2.0 application as time permitted.
    • The presentation made clear how the database or Web 2.0 application might be useful for reference librarians.
    • Elluminate was used appropriately for the purposes of the instruction session.
    • The student presenter presented the materials clearly and succinctly.
    • The student presenter interacted with others in the class, answered questions, and encouraged interaction as time permitted.
    • The student presenter ws knowledgeable about the DB or Web 2.0 application selected.
    • At least one handout, Web resource, or other instructional aid was provided to supplement the instruction session.
    • Student provided peer review on someone else's instruction session/presentation.
    • Student provided a paragraph with a self-reflection about what the individual learned about the instructional process.
  • Reference Issues-ListServ Analysis (5  points)
    This assignment involves subscription to a professional discussion list during a good portion of the course term. Student will write up an analysis of a reference and information service issue as depicted during the list/discussion list forum postings during the selected time  period.
  • Reference Issues -Article Summaries & Research (10 points)
    Articles 8 pts (1 pt x 8) Reflections post (2 pts) due 11/29
    The reading and understanding of articles in the professional periodical literatrue of library science is a must for all librarians.  To assist in familiarizing students in the LIS literature, students will select articles that focus on aspects of reference service and write short summaries.

    Eight summaries of LIS articles are to be posted over the course of the term in the provided discussion board folders. The schedule for posting article summaries (300-500 words) for Fall 2009 is as follows:
    • Week 3: Article summaries of best practices or case studies on reference interviews (1 pt)
    • Week 5: Article summaries for phone/email/virtual/chat/mobile reference servies (1 pt)
    • Week 7: Article summaries on reference outreach, roving reference, embedded libraries, information commons, or reader's advisories (1 pt)
    • Week 9: Summaries of research articles on reference services (1 pt)
    • Week 10: Article summaries on bibliographic instruction/information literacy/instructional design/assessing instruction (1 pt)
    • Week 11: Article summaries on library instruction for distance/remote/online users or Web 2.0 applications. (1 pt)
    • Week 12: Article summaries on serving special populations (1 pt)
    • Week 13: Article summaries on the future of reference services (1 pt)
    • Week 14: Student reflections postings on a topic addressed in article summaries (2 pts)
  • Class participation (5 points) (1.33 pt x 3 postings)
    Class participation is an important part of this course. We have topics posted for the discussion board (see Reference Issues assignment)which are posted for weeks 3,5,7,9,10,11,12,and 13. I expect students to ask good questions about the topics in question and respond constructively to others' postings. Your participation can take the form of active listening that incorporate or builds on comments by other students, thoughtful questions, suggestions, addressing related issues, and making observations based on personal or professional experiences and/or class readings. Although positive reinforcement is good, participation that does not add to the discussion (e.g., comments like "Yes, I agree" and"good Point" will not be counted toward your participation grade. You can earn up to 5 points for Three separate discussion board postings based on grading criteria below. You must post three (3) times total during the term. These postings are in addition to the Article Summaries postings. You can respond to an instructor posted forum question or ask a topical question or respond to another students' question or about an article summary posting. Last posting due November 30.

    Grading Criteria

    • Content- Comments and questions are substantive and relate to the topic. Your responses were relevant to the topics addressed int he class and show that you were prepared for the class discussion and were applying the principles learned in the class text and lectures.
    • Organization- comments are presented in logical manner and concise.
    • Knowledge- Comments reflect knowledge about research and your readings in the text, your postings in the forum, and any other professional literature.
    • Active listening- Incorporate or building off the comments of others in class participation.
    • Used the professinal literatrue and your text to support comments.
    • Substantive input/comments/questions/feedback for other students.
    • Postings with relevant resources that you want to share with the class in the forum.
    • Communicate in a professional manner and avoid computer abbreviations like LOL.
    • Correct grammar and writing mechanics.
  • Optional: Peer Moderator for a Weekly Discussion Topic (2 pts)
    The process of utilizing peer moderators does lead to more interactive and animated discussion forums. Thus I would like to give you the option to be a peer moderator for a week. I will have sign up forum, on a first-come,first-serve basis. This optional activity can be completed in lieu of doing two article summaries.

    Grading Criteria:
    • Create a friendly discussion board forum environment for that week's discussion topic
    • Start the week with an introduction to the topic under discussion
    • End the week's discussion by summarizing the ideas discussed
    • Prompt participants to pursue their ideas
    • encourage participation and sharing of ideas 

Textbooks and Readings

Core Journals and Electronic Resources
You should be familiar with professional journals and other practitioner publications that explore reference and information service issues appropriate to this course.

Core Journals
Finally, you should begin to become familiar with professional journals that address reference and information service issues appropriate to your career plans, e.g.:

  • College & Research Libraries (Z671 .C6)
  • Internet Reference Services Quarterly
  • Journal of Academic Librarianship (Z671 .J58)
  • Knowledge Quest (Z675.S3 K56)
  • 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)

The call numbers listed above are drawn from the SJSU library catalog, but they should also help you to locate materials, if available, at any academic library to which you may have access. Each of the titles above is also available through the SJSU Electronic Journals List.

Note: any of these journals would be appropriate for your use in our Article summaries assignment.

Discussion Lists
Electronic discussion lists are 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.


In addition to LIBREF-L, you will 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 delivering reference and information services. A sample of these additional lists can be found in the "External Links" section of the Blackboard course site. Students may be especially interested in DIG_REF, the discussion list dedicated to digital reference services.

This would be useful for our Reference issues_ListServ analysis assignment. See angel course site for more explanation.

Companion website to the Third Edition( 2001) and Fourth Edition (forthcoming) of Reference and Information Services by Richard E. Bopp and Linda C. Smith (


Required Textbook:

  • Bopp, R. E., & Smith, L. C. (2001). Reference and information services: An introduction. (3rd ed.). Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1563086247. arrow 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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