LIBR 220-04
LIBR 220-13
Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines: Medical Librarianship
Fall 2009 Semester, Regular and Special Session

Charles Greenberg, MLS MEd
Phone (work): 203-737-2960
Phone (home): 203-847-4784
Phone (cell): available to enrolled students
Instant Messaging: librarian4ysm(AIM,MSN), cjgberg(gtalk),charlieatyalelib(yahoo)
Second Life ID: Chaz Quijote
Office Location: Skype (available to enrolled students)
Class Topic Discussion hours (August 25th to December 8th, with Elluminate): One Weekly Mandatory Elluminate Discussion, Sundays (6-7pm PST) OR Tuesdays (6-7pm PST).
The August 25th session is OPTIONAL.  Please take advantage of this opportunity to practice with Elluminate.
(unpredicted class cancellations will be posted in Angel Course announcements; when I am traveling for work-related reasons, some discussions sessions may be prerecorded or precepted by a guest speaker)

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Angel Information: The SJSU Angel course management system will serve as the primary repository for course information and assignments. Please enroll for this course on the Angel site after August 24th. Registered students will receive an enrollment code for the Angel site via a message sent by the instructor, through My.SJSU, on August 23rd.

Course Description

Eighty percent of American internet users, or some 113 million adults, have searched for information on at least one of seventeen health topics. Information professionals in a variety of settings are just as likely as librarians in hospital or medical centers to encounter requests for useful health information. Usefulness can be calculated as relevancy multiplied by accuracy, divided by the work necessary to obtain an answer. Despite the availability of accurate medical information, the work necessary to access and utilize such information often discourages both discovery and use. LIBR 220-04, LIBR 220-13, Resources and Information Services in Medical Librarianship, will offer contemporary perspectives on topics such as health sciences library history, medical subject classification, finding quality health information, consumer health programming, evidence-based health care, and cooperative medical library programs.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 202 Information Retrieval, LIBR 210, Reference and Information Services, or equivalent coursework.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
Students should, by the end of the course, be able to:

  • Explain several factors that led to the establishment of medical libraries and the specialization of medical librarianship.
  • Describe medical librarian ethical behavior and discuss scenarios when job performance could challenge ethical behavior.
  • Describe the need and benefits of a national medical information infrastructure.
  • Find and describe the current National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) Regional Medical Library (RML) structure and services.
  • Discuss the history of and locate medical subject vocabularies.
  • Demonstrate the appropriate use of MeSH structures and tools, such as hierarchies of relevant terms, classified equivalents, and minor subject headings.
  • Describe characteristics of the transition from print to electronic searching, including before and beyond the web browser.
  • Perform basic searching in biomedical databases, using appropriate use of controlled vocabularies, particularly when specificity is required.
  • Describe and distinguish the content differences in PUBMED and Medline, as well as easily locate relevant online guides and tutorials for Medline and PUBMED.
  • Find recommendations for core (small) clinical or research collections.
  • Find reviews for monographs in lesser known fields and determine the leading journals in a variety of medical specialties.
  • Locate and describe a variety of biomedical databases and provide basic comparisons.
  • Distinguish subject vocabularies or classification schemes in health specialties.
  • Distinguish primary clientele for health sciences libraries in particular contexts and predict a standard or level of expected demand for services.
  • Describe the principle of best [available] evidence and construct an "evidence pyramid" which shows the relative abundance of types of evidence.
  • Locate "clinical filters" in PubMed and understand how they improve a search strategy.
  • Describe the continuum that exists between sensitive and specific searching.
  • Recommend consumer health sources and apply quality evaluation criteria.
  • Describe several types of biomedical libraries, based on knowledge of clientele and collections.
  • Locate job postings, as well as opportunities for advanced training and fellowships.
  • describe the opportunities for partnerships and collaboration that exist for libraries within an institutional setting.
  • Articulate the library role in a health care, education, or research settings.
  • Describe several ways that medical libraries collaborate to change public opinion and promote best practices for information access and usage.

LIBR 220-04 and 220-13 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom;
  • Compare the environments and organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice;
  • Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems;
  • Use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information;
  • Understand the system of standards and methods used to control and create information structures and apply basic principles involved in the organization and representation of knowledge;
  • 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;
  • Understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups;
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations;
  • Contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.

Course Requirements

Evaluation Criteria

  • Class participation, 15% of final grade; including discussion forum comments  and participation in the weekly online discussion, Sundays 6:00pm-7:00pm PST or Tuesdays 6:00pm-7:00pm PST) Attendance will be taken and contribute to class participation. Attendance at one session per week is expected.
  • Project-written 25% of final grade (no more than 3000 words, including bibliography, based on a student-selected topic from readings)
  • Presentation 15% of final grade (Students will present a 15-20 minute live presentation of their paper topic, using Elluminate, during the last two weeks of the semester)
  • Report of an interview with health information professional 15%
  • Evaluating Health web sites: 10% of final grade; evaluate two health information web sites with set of provided criteria
  • Readings and Reactions: 20% of final grade; weekly short essays posted to a topic discussion forum, demonstrating your understanding of how topic readings relate to SLIS school-wide competencies

Written project evaluation criteria:

  • Introduction
  • Body,Summary & Conclusion;
  • Bibliography;
  • 3000 words or less
  • Theme, Hypothesis, or
  • Topic statement
  • Evidence of wide variety of sources related to Medical Librarianship
  • Technical accuracy of Research Material
  • Appearance
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Overall neatness

The evaluation of reading responses will be assessed on a satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or honors basis, based on principles of effective written communication, discussion which compares or contrasts readings, and conciseness. Reading responses should be between 200-250 words. A response of less than 200 words and greater than 250 will be cause for grade reduction. Responses may included references, particularly as an instrument to reduce an essay length. The instructor will provide feedback and comments for individual reading responses.

The evaluation of the final presentation will be based on the criteria of organization, content knowledge, visuals, mechanics (presentation), and delivery (performance).

Course Calendar

August 23rd Receive Access Code for Angel course site.  All topics and readings are found in Angel
August 24th First Day of Fall 2009 Instruction; Submit personal introduction on Angel site by August 30th
August 25th OPTIONAL Elluminate Discussion Hour (Tuesdays 6:00pm-7:00pm PST or Sundays: 6:00pm-7:00pm PST)
August 30th  First Elluminate Discussion Topic Hour (Sundays 6:00pm-7:00pm PST or Tuesdays: 6:00pm-7:00pm PST) 
October 17th Deadline to declare paper/presentation topic.
October 25th and 27th

Pre-recorded Elluminate Topic Lecture - no Attendance taken

(instructor attendance MLA Chapter Annual Meeting)

November 8th and 10th

Pre-recorded Elluminate Topic Lecture - no Attendance taken

(Instructor at AAMC Annual Meeting)

November 29, December 1,6,8 Elluminate Session Expanded 6:00-7:30 PST for student presentations (all students expected to attend all of their colleagues' final presentations, except for work or family obligations
December 11 Final Paper Due, 11:59pm, emailed to Instructor

Assignment due dates subject to change with fair notice.

Students are encouraged to use email and Mr. Greenberg’s Meebo Instant messaging Office at any time to see clarification of calendar dates and assignments.

Incompletes will be granted only in rare and extreme emergency situations. Students who cannot fulfill all the work for a course due to a medical or family emergency may be assigned an Incomplete only if arrangements are made with the instructor. Please see the University policy on incompletes

Textbooks and Readings

Required Readings
Required readings, search and interview assignments, and web site evaluations are assigned on a weekly basis through Angel.

Many readings are selected from the complete run (1901-present) of the Bulletin and Journal of the Medical Library Association, available at

Additional Readings
Additional readings and assignments will be posted in Angel.

Student access accounts will also be obtained for relevant commercial biomedical databases that are not already part of SJSU Library holdings.

No Textbooks For This Course

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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