INFO 284-12
Seminar in Archives and Records Management
Topic: Characteristics and Curation of New Digital Media
Fall 2016 Syllabus

Dr. Henry Lowood
E-mail (NOTE: Please put LIBR 284 at the beginning of the subject header in all e-mail about this course, esp. if you would like me to respond.)
Phone: 650-723-4602 Office: HSSG, Green Library, Stanford University
Twitter: Liebenwalde
IM: Facebook, Google+, Skype (contact me first to arrange)
Office Hours: Please schedule appointments, which will occur on-line via Google+ Hangouts or Skype. Please feel free to "friend" me at any time during the course in Google+ to make this process a little easier. If you prefer a telephone conversation, please set up an appointment to call me. If you are in the area, I would be happy to meet with you at my Stanford office.
Group Discussions: On-line sessions in venues other than Blackboard Collaborate are possible and TBD - I welcome suggestions with the requirements that no cost is involved to attend and the site is available to both PC- and Macintosh users. Possibilities include virtual worlds like Second Life or game worlds. Scheduling of online sessions is TBD, but likely to occur Fridays 7-9PM PST; attendance will be optional but encouraged. Sessions held in Collaborate will be recorded; sessions held elsewhere will be recorded or transcribed, if possible. 

Syllabus Links

Canvas (via D2L)
iSchool eBookstore


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.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

We will be using Canvas as our course management system for the syllabus, course materials, assignments, and grading. Please enroll in Canvas no later than Wednesday, 24 August, which is the first day of the semester and thus of the course.

The course will be automatically available to students on 24 August 2016. After the semester begins, I believe that I will need your name and SJSU ID number in order to request a permission number for your enrollment.

Again, the semester begins on 24 August, and it ends on Monday, 12 December. Course materials and the first week's assignments will be available on 24 August. Please contact me if there are any issues with your access to Canvas and you are enrolled in the course.

Course Description

In this course, we will explore approaches to the collection and curation of selected examples of new digital media in libraries and other cultural repositories.  Our subject matter is relatively new in terms of the media that we will cover, their collection and use in libraries, and research on their nature and impact. Due to this novelty and the likelihood that we are not all equally familiar with the various digital media covered in the course, we will proceed in stages that will gradually bring you all up to roughly the same level of general knowledge.  All of us (including me) will learn as we go along and from each other. For that reason, please try to participate in group meetings (if any) and keep up on the assignments, several of which will involve contributions to a group discussion list or other ways of interacting with other students in the course. To the extent possible with an online course, I would like you to all feel like you are in this together.

Note that this course is focused primarily on new media as presenting library and information professionals with new challenges as collections or collection objects. The emphasis will generally be on practical matters such as assessing, acquiring, describing, preserving, exhibiting and providing access to new media.

In the first stage of the course, roughly the first four weeks, I will emphasize developing an understanding of the general characteristics of new media and refining what we mean by the term "curation." Following this introductory stage, the second stage will make up most of the course, consisting of five two-week engagements with five specific media and issues associated with them.   The five media areas will be: 

  • Hypermedia and internet/web art
  • Social media, including virtual worlds
  • Mixed reality technology/art 
  • Digital games/software
  • Digital cinema and other video forms (machinima, animation, etc.)

We will learn about these media through readings, discussion, and assignments. Each of the five media will be paired with a specific issue about curation in libraries or museums – selection/appraisal, acquisitions, description/archiving, preservation, and access/exhibition, each paired up with one of the specific media types.  The last stage of the class comprises a short final project and a wrap-up week at the end of the semester. The final project, as befits the course, will have a practical orientation while touching back to the media types and issues reviewed in the course.

Once again, the complete weekly schedule will be available in Canvas on 24 August. Please do not ask me for access to the full schedule before that date.

Course Requirements

All required readings, assignments, and course resources will be specified on the course Canvas site, with the schedule and weekly breakdown of assignments. You are expected to complete all of the assignments.

Assignments will break down into three categories:

  • 0. Baseline (10 points). All assigned readings are required unless noted as optional or recommended. Includes my general assessment of your participation in any group activities and your efforts to keep up with course assignments. 
  • 1. Eight (8) weekly ungraded tasks worth 2.5 points each (20 pts. total). These will require visits to websites, activities, posting or response to community sites or the class forum, etc.  Expect feedback from me only if you fail to complete the task satisfactorily. (Supports CLO #1 and CLO #3)
  • 2. Five (5) assignments worth 8 points each (40 pts. total). These will be short written responses to prompts (250-500 words each).  These assignments will conclude each of the five new media units.  You will receive feedback from me on these assignments. (Supports CLO #2)
  • 3. A final project assignment (30 points).  This will be a collection acquisition proposal in a format that I will provide. This assignment is intended to prepare you for work related to new media collections in professional library or museum settings.  More details later in the course. (Supports CLO#2 and CLO #3)

Course Calendar
The course will be held entirely on-line, mostly via Canvas, and is organized on a weekly basis. Every Monday at 8am, assignments from the previous week are due. Note that he first week begins on Wednesday, 24 August, so the task for that week must be completed and submitted to Canvas  by 8am on Monday, 29 August.  The assignment for the second week will be available on 29 August and due the following Monday, and so on through the semester.  I will try to have the weekly assignments posted by noon every Monday.  

Note that the weekly "assignment" will generally be in the form of Word document, written as a combination of class update, informal lecture and assignment prompt.  As this class has developed, this format has taken over most of the functions of the traditional lecture for keeping pace of the presentation of course content.  Videotaped "lectures" will be brief and for the most part will focus on summarizing key points of concentration for a given week. I suggest first reading the weekly assignment, then viewing the lecture, if there is one for the week in question.

By my calculation, the course lasts 15 weeks. As noted above, the first four weeks will be devoted to basic issues: What are new media and what is curation? There will be three tasks during these four weeks. The next ten weeks will be devoted to the five specific new media mentioned above. Each two-week module will consist of a first week focused on characteristics of the medium in question and a second week moving into curation of that medium.  Each of the five modules will feature a different aspect of curation, such as description, preservation, etc.  In each two-week module, the first week will include an assigned task, and the second week a writing assignment. The final week of the course will be devoted to wrap-up, both of the course, and of your final projects.

We will devote time in group discussions and some of the tasks and assignments to making sure that you are making progress towards your project's completion.  Feel free to use office hours or other means to contact me about your own progress in the course.

Again, all details concerning readings, assignments, and course resources will be on our Canvas site. Note that all course information is provided subject to change with fair notice.

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 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content. 

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the characteristics of new digital media and potential use cases for these media in a real or virtual library or museum setting.
  2. Analyze, discuss, and propose solutions to problems encountered in the identification, selection, acquisition, description, preservation, and provision of access to new media.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics and curation of new digital media sufficient to prepare them for related internship or practicum opportunities.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 284 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. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.


Required Textbooks:

  • Newman, J. (2012). Best before: Videogames, supersession and obsolescence. New York: Routledge. Available through Amazon: 0415577926arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Oliver, G., & Harvey, R. (2016). Digital curation (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Available through Amazon: 0838913857arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Stubbs, P. (Ed.) (2014). Art and the Internet. London, UK: Black Dog Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1907317988arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Paul, C. (2008). Digital art (2nd ed.). New York: Thames & Hudson. Available through Amazon: 0500203989arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Paul, C. (Ed.) (2008). New Media in the White Cube and Beyond. Berkeley: University of California Press. Available through Amazon: 0520255976 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Montfort, N. (Eds.). (2003). The New Media Reader. Cambridge: MIT Press. Available through Amazon: 0262232278 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 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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