INFO 210-11 (3 unit)
Reference and Information Services
Spring 2017 Greensheet

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 by phone or via Collaborate. NOTE:  You are welcome to call before 9 pm ET.

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 26th, 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.

The course will be automatically available to students on Jan. 26, 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 answer reference questions. The interpersonal skills required for effective question negotiation and the sources with which questions are answered are stressed.

Full Description: This course provides an overview of reference and information services. We will be examining and evaluating key information sources in a variety of formats and becoming familiar with professional resources. Because the field of librarianship is changing rapidly, we will be exploring various methods and models for delivering information and examining how emerging trends as well as ways to use new ideas and skills that are impacting the future of reference services and access to information.

Course Requirements

  • Assignment 1 (30%)
    Discussion topics/activities (3 X 9 = 27%)
    + sharing (0.5 X 6 = 3%)
  • Assignment 2 (9%)
    Virtual reference transaction script and analysis
  • Assignment 3 (21%)
    Mini activities
  • Assignment 4 - (20%)
    Choose one of the assignment project options.
  • Assignment 5 (20%)
    Choose another of the assignment project options. 

Course Calendar

Week Overview of Class Readings, Activities, and Assignments Due Dates
Wk 1 Feb. 1
Wk 2
  • Getting started:
    • Week 2 overview page
    • Readings: Chapters 13, 18, and 21
    • Video lecture videos
  • Digging deeper
    •  YALSA Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth
    • Useful resources
  • Applying what you learned:
    • Week 2 discussion (D2) -- 3%
    • Assignment 2 (9%)
Feb. 8
Wk 3
  • Getting started:
    • Week 3 overview page
    • Readings: Chapters 4, 5, and 6
    • Course lecture videos
  • Digging deeper:
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss:
    • Week 3 discussion (3%)
Feb. 15
Wk 4
  • Getting started:
    • Week 4 overview page
    • Readings: Chapters 7 and 8
    • Course lecture videos
  • Digging deeper:
    • Crash Course of Search Strategies -- videos
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply:
    • Week 4 discussion topic (D4) -- 3%
    • Mini activity (M4) -- 3%
Feb. 22
Wk 5
  • Getting started:
    • Week 5 overview page
    • Readings: Chapters 9 and 10
    • Course video lectures
  • Digging deeper
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply:
    • Sharing -- 0.5%
    • Mini activity (M5) -- 3%
Mar. 1
Wk 6
  • Getting started:
    • Week 6 overview page
  • Digging deeper:
    •  Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply:
    • Sharing (0.5%)
    • Assignment 4 (20%)
Mar. 8
Wk 7
  • Getting started:
    • Week 7 overview page
    •  Reading: Chapter 19
    • Course video lectures
  • Digging deeper
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply
    • Sharing (0.5%)
    • Mini activity (M7) -- 3%
Mar. 15
Wk 8
  • Getting started
    • Week 8 overview page
    • Readings: Chapters 11 and 12
    • Course video lectures
  • Digging deeper:
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply
    • Sharing (0.5%)
    • Mini activity (M8) -- 3%
Mar. 22
Wk 9         Spring Recess (March 27-31) overlaps with Week 9
Mar. 29
Wk 10
  • Getting started:
    • Week 10 overview page
    • Reading: Chapter 17
    • Course video lectures
  • Digging deeper:
    • Locate and read one relevant article on the topic of special, diverse, and underserved populations
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply
    • Week 10 discussion topic (D10) -- 3%
    • Mini activity (M10) -- 3%
Apr. 5
Wk 11
  • Getting started:
    • Week 11 overview page
    • Reading: Chapter 16
    • Course video lecture
  • Digging deeper
    • Locate and read two relevant articles on some aspect of library instruction/information literacy.
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply
    • Week 11 discussion topic (D11) -- 3%
Apr. 12
Wk 12
    • Discuss/apply
    • Assignment 5 (20%) 
Apr. 19
Wk 13
  • Getting started:
    • Week 13 overview page
    • Reading: Chapters 14 and 20
    • Course video lectures
  • Digging deeper:
    • Locate two articles in the business and/or library literature about outreach, programming, or marketing
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply
    • Mini activity (M13) -- 3%
    • Week 13 discussion (D13) -- 3%
Apr. 26
Wk 14
  • Getting started:
    • Week 14 overview page
    • Reading: Chapter 15
    • Course video lectures
  • Digging deeper:
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply
    • Week 14 discussion (D14) -- 3%
    • Mini activity (M14) -- 3%
May 3
WK 15
  • Getting started:
    • Week 15 overview page
    • Reading: Chapter 22
  • Discuss/apply
    • Sharing
    • Mini activity (M15) -- 3%
May 10
Wk 16
  • Getting started:
    • Week 16 overview page
    • Course video lecture:
  • Digging deeper:
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss/apply
    • Week 16 discussion topic (D16) -- 3%

May 16

(short wk)

  • Course ends May 16th:
    • All work needs to be submitted by midnight of the last day of class unless alternative arrangements have been made with me by email. The one exception is the final assignment which has the standard two-day no-questions-asked grace period.
    • 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: Discussion Topics (9 X 3% + 3% sharing = 30%)
    • Nine discussion topics address a variety of themes in the class and frequently require you to visit a library or use a library service. These discussion topics are worth 3% of the final grade. As a result, they require using substantive content by utilizing, analyzing, and synthesizing what you learned in the textbook, class readings, articles you have located in the professional literature, etc.  The other six weeks in the class have short "sharing" posts that are each worth 0.5% of the final grade. These are short discussion postings do not have an assigned theme. They can cover everything from something that you wanted to share about something that happened at your library to something you read tht caught your attention to a funny library-related cartoon.  See the scoring rubric.
      • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcomes addressed: 
        • CLO4: Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
        • CL05: Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
        • CLO6: Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
        • CLO7: Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction.
        • CLO8: Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.
      • NOTE: You may be able to use a number of the topics for the weekly discussions as evidence to support various core competencies for your e-portfolio so choose your topics strategically!

  • Assignment 2: Reference Transaction Script and Analysis (9%)
    Provide a written script for a short reference transaction that addresses some kind of ethical question. It can be on something like a medical or legal topic or a reader's advisory question specifically asked by a child: Just be sure to provide an analysis of the reference transaction as well as a discussion of ethical considerations. Your scenario does not need to be long, but it should illustrate the RUSA or some other identified principals of a good reference interview using the RUSA Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference Information Service Providers and/or the RUSA Guidelines for Medical, Legal, and Business Responses, the YALSA Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth, etc. See the Panopto video and the scoring rubric for details for Assignment 2 and the grading criteria.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcome addressed:
      • CLO3: Conduct effective reference interviews.
  • NOTE: See the video on using assignments and disussions as possible artifacts for your e-portfolio. For example, you may want to consider using Assignment 6 as evidence for Core Competency I or also possibly Core Competency A as evidence of ethics and foundational principles of librarians and information professionals.

  • Assignment 3: Mini Activities 21% (3% X 7 weeks)
    In seven weeks of class, mini activities will have you actually look for appropriate sources for "information quest" questions, try search strategies, or examine specific types of resources. See my Panopto video and the scoring rubric for details on the mini activities and the grading criteria.
    NOTE: If you are working in a special library setting and would like to propose an alternative assignment that would give you comparable skills using reference sources in a specific type of library setting, I will be happy to consider it.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcome addressed: 
      • CLO2: Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.

  • Assignment 4 (20%) and Assignment 5 (20%)
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcomes addressed depend on the assignment option selected:
      • CLO1: Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
      • CLO4: Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
      • CL05: Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
      • CLO6: Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
      • CLO7: Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction.

Course Grading

  • See the description of the assignments in Canvas for links to possible exemplars, the grading rubrics, and links to "how-to" videos.
  • 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. 
  • 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 for the assignment due the last week of class, 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 210 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Investigate the current issues in managing reference departments and evaluating reference staff and various types of reference services.
  2. Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  3. Explore outreach and marketing roles of reference librarians.
  4. Describe current issues and trends on reference departments, including the impact of technology on marketing, outreach, management, and evaluation.
  5. Evaluate reference outreach, marketing, and advocacy services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
  6. Use appropriate collection development tools for selecting and evaluating reference sources.
  7. Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
  8. Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
  9. 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. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  4. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services: An introduction (3rd ed.). 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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 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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