LIBR 220-02
LIBR 220-11
Resources and Information Services in the Disciplines and Professions
Topic: Maps and Geographic Information Systems
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Susan E. Aber
Phone (work): 620-341-5977;
Phone (home): available to enrolled students. Calls should be between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. PDT/PST.
Office location: Emporia, Kansas and online.
Office Hours: I can be reached by email, telephone, and discussion board. I will respond to messages within 48 hours and notify you in advance when I will be unavailable. Informal Elluminate session meeting times will be scheduled and given in course announcements at least one week in advance; participation is voluntary unless otherwise agreed upon.

Greensheet Links
Enrollment Information
Course Description
Course Objectives
Learning Outcomes
SLIS Core Competencies
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
General Resources
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore
Fall Course Webpages
Regular Session
Special Session
Student Resources

Enrollment Information

Students must self-enroll for this course on Angel prior to the first day of classes. Fall semester begins on August 24, 2009, and a message with the access code will be sent to you via My.SJSU sometime after August 17 when the Angel course website becomes available.

Course Description

According to the SJSU catalog, LIBR220 is an “examination of the nature of resources for, and services to, professions and disciplines including methods of communication, characteristics of researchers and other users, and current methods of meeting research needs in libraries and information centers” (

As a part of this LIBR220 series, these sections (02 and 11) will focus on maps, geographic information systems (GIS), and map librarianship. The course is designed to acquaint students with the nature of cartographic resource types such as print and electronic maps and visual imagery (e.g., aerial photography and satellite images). Cartographic concepts will be presented such as map scales, projections, and symbols, as well as maps and GIS as tool, technique, application, and thought process. Specifically, how to read a topographic map and create a map display using Web GIS will be demonstrated. Also, the course is designed to acquaint students with services and duties unique to map librarianship and geoscience library liaisons. With a client-centered focus in mind, methods of communicating among map librarians and between librarian and client will be examined. Services and duties associated with reference as related to map and geospatial data resources will be emphasized, but selection/acquisition, collection management, classification/cataloging as related to map and geospatial data resources will be briefly covered. Finally, methods of marketing and promoting cartographic resources and services to the public are presented.

This course is designed for interested students who have a desire to learn about maps and GIS resources to better understand services, which libraries and information centers can provide. No prior knowledge of geography or geoscience in general is assumed. All students are welcome whether or not you navigate using global positioning system technology or familiar landmarks. This course will benefit the geospatially challenged and geography bee winner alike.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 210 Reference & Information Services, which has a prerequisite of LIBR 202 Information Retrieval, are the two prerequisite courses ( According to SJSU SLIS policy course prerequisite rules, there are no exceptions.

Course Objectives

The overall goal of this course is for students to learn about basic cartographic resources and to gain an appreciation of services that map librarians or geoscience library liaisons provide to assist clients. In order to adopt a client-centered focus toward map librarianship, an additional course goal is to diagram characteristics of map and GIS users in order to better predict effective services and market resources. Thus, the following student learning objectives apply.

Student Learning Objectives
Upon completion of the course...

  • given map and imagery examples, students will be able to identify descriptive elements associated with map resources such as map scales and symbols, as well as define map and imagery types such as topographic and DOQ;
  • given online government sources such as those offered at the U.S. Geological Survey, students will be able to locate and download data and imagery;
  • given Web-based GIS map servers such as the National Map Viewer, Kansas MapMaker, and Google Maps students will be able to construct simple map displays;
  • given suggested reference resources such gazetteer or atlas, students will be able to answer simple questions by evaluating map-related sources;
  • given map user observation and communication, students will be able to describe and diagram map and data user characteristics;
  • given monitoring of librarian to librarian listserv communication, students will be able to categorize services and duties of map librarians;
  • given catalog descriptions of maps in various libraries, students will be able to identify and distinguish classifying and cataloging systems;
  • given virtual/actual library visits and observable criteria, students will be able to analyze the users’ experiences in accessing and acquiring cartographic resources and services;
  • using knowledge gained throughout the course, students will be able to create and present a project for effective promoting and marketing map services and resources.

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to...

  • locate and utilize cartographic and geospatial information/data resources to facilitate communication with clients and other library staff;
  • recognize characteristics of users and assess techniques and duties unique to map librarianship or geoscience library liaisons to improve services;
  • construct and demonstrate a promotional project for cartographic resources or map librarian services to increase awareness for map and GIS resources among individuals or groups of users in educational or public communities.

LIBR 220 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies

  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.

Course Requirements

Angel will be used as a platform for course lecture readings, assignments, and discussions. All assignments must be your own work with properly cited and referenced sources. The expected citation and reference style is APA, which is consistent with SJSU SLIS policy. See SLIS APA Style Resources at, but be aware that the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was released July 1, 2009.


  1. Student Learning Outcome: Locate and utilize map, geospatial information/data, and Web GIS resources. Assessment: All students will complete short-answer assignments on various aspects of maps, geospatial information/data and Web GIS resources, as well as contribute to the discussion forum and other information sharing applications (worth 400 pts of total grade).
  2. Student Learning Outcome: Recognize and assess characteristics of users and duties of librarians who work with map resources and GIS. Assessment: All students will be required to complete observation/discussion assignments and share results on various aspects of map and GIS users, librarians, and library collections as well as contribute to discussion forum and other information sharing applications (worth 400 pts of total grade).
  3. Student Learning Outcome: Construct and demonstrate a promotional project for cartographic resources or map librarian services contributing to educational and social well-being of our communities. Assessment: All students are required to blend and integrate information and knowledge gained from course readings and assignments to create a final project in an online presentation format related to marketing and promoting mapping resources and map library services (worth 200 pts of total grade).

Course Calendar

A tentative course calendar is shown below; activities and project due dates are subject to change with fair notice. The Angel course webpage will be available August 17.  

Date Module/Activity Activity Due

Theme-SJSU Graduation Reflections: An Illustrated Journey from Kansas to California! Activity 1: Getting to Know You & Me (20 pts)

8/31-9/7 Theme-Map Users and GIS Professionals. Activity 2: Discussing/Observing Map & GIS Users (100 pts) 9/16
9/7-9/14 Theme-Map Librarians. Activity 3: Monitoring Map Librarian to Librarian Support Groups (50 pts) 10/7
9/14-921 Theme-Map Library Resources. Activity 4: Introduction to Map Types and Concepts (50 pts) 9/23
9/21-9/28 Theme-Map Library Resources. Activity 5: Topographic Map Basics (50 pts) 9/30
9/28-10/5 Theme-Map Library Resources. Activity 6: Locating/ Downloading Geospatial Data and Web GIS (30 pts) 10/7
10/5-10/12 Theme-Map Users and Geoscience Librarians.
Activity 7: Reflections on Activity 2 & 3; share findings on Elluminate (15 pts extra credit)
10/12-10/19 Theme-Map, GIS, and Geospatial Data Resources.
Activity 8: Google mapping & Web GIS (50 pts)
10/19-10/26 Theme-Reference Desk Resources and Services. Activity 9: Exploring the Reference Desk (50 pts) 10/28
10/26-11/2 Theme-Classifying and Cataloging. Activity 10: Exploring Classification/Cataloging Systems (50 pts) 11/4
11/2-11/9 Theme-Map/GIS Dissemination among Federal Agencies. Activity 11: Discussing/Observing CUAC/IFLA Map Librarians (100 pts) 11/18
11/9-11/16 Theme-Map Libraries. Activity 12a: Investigating Federal Depository Map Libraries (100 pts) 11/25
11/16-11/23 Theme-Map and Resource Care, Storage, and Damage Repairs. Activity 12b: Sharing Reflections on Map Librarians, Agencies, and Libraries (50 pts) 12/2
11/23-11/30 Theme-Promoting and Marketing the Map Library Collection. Activity 14a: Final Project-electronic "written" format (200 pts) 12/2
11/30-12/7 Theme-Finishing Up-Reflections on the Final Project.
Activity 14b: Final Project Presentations; share project on Elluminate (15 pts extra credit)

Course Grading

  1. Activities - short answer 30%
  2. Activities - discussion/observation 40%
  3. Discussion/Participation - 10%
  4. Final Project - 20%

Details on assignments, due dates, and grading will be in each Angel course module. Participation in the informal Elluminate Sharing sessions is strongly encouraged and will count as extra credit opportunities. The exact SJSU SLIS grading scale is given below.

Course and Official University Policy

Late Assignments Policy
Due dates for activities and participation opportunities are set to keep an easy pace of progress throughout the semester. If requested in advance of the due date, assignment late passes will be granted for two different assignments. The pass is good for a week extension past the stated due date.

Beyond the two free one week extensions, late assignments will still be accepted with the understanding that a decrease in the number of points earned for the assignment will apply. A penalty of 10% of the total number of points possible will be deducted each week past the due date.

Textbook and Readings

No textbook is required for this elective course. Recommended online, book, and journal readings will be forthcoming in Angel course modules. One recommended book is listed at the SJSU SLIS ebookstore; however, I urge you to examine this book at a library or in a bookstore before considering a purchase in order to determine if the specific nature of this book would be useful for your future career direction. Read on for the title and information on a recommended textbook.

Recommended Textbook:

  • Abresch, J., Hanson, A., & Heron, S. J. (2008). Integrating geographic information systems into library services: A guide for academic libraries. Information Science Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1599047268. 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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