LIBR 228-01
LIBR 228-10
Advanced Information Resources and Services
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Michelle Holschuh Simmons
Phone: (336) 854-3034; call as needed
Office Hours: Virtually via weekly Elluminate sessions (see ANGEL for schedule), by e-mail, and by phone

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

I will send the access code for the ANGEL site via the MySJSU messaging system to those enrolled in the class on Saturday the 22nd of August. Please enroll in the ANGEL site no later than Monday, August 24th.

Course Description

In-depth survey of information needs, uses, and sources across different user groups; current methods of providing reference services and instruction in different information seeking contexts; and techniques for evaluating reference sources and services.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 202, 210 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • understand the history, current status, and future trends in reference services;
  • evaluate the various models of reference service;
  • recognize and be able to use the key sources in a variety of academic disciplines;
  • analyze and evaluate instructional research guides on library websites;
  • consider how disciplinary practices affect information searching;
  • adapt reference services to accommodate differences in disciplinary practices;
  • design and create instructional materials tailored to specific audiences;
  • understand the connection between reference service and information literacy instruction.

This section of LIBR 228 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • i.  use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • k.  design training programs based on appropriate learning principles and theories;
  • n.  evaluate programs and services on specified criteria.

Course Requirements

Mode of instruction
This course will be entirely asynchronous. We will use ANGEL for online discussions, for the submission of assignments, and for accessing readings and course materials. Attendance at the synchronous office hour in Elluminate is optional; the office hour is intended for me to answer students’ questions, for students to get to know me and each other, and for students who would prefer to interact in a synchronous environment. If students ask questions during the office hour from which I believe the rest of the class will benefit, I will post the question and my response to our ANGEL site. 

For due dates, detailed requirements, and grading rubrics for each of the assignments, please see documents in ANGEL.

  • Research guide analysis and critique: As more and more patrons access our libraries remotely without ever stepping foot inside our physical libraries, we need to offer research assistance in a variety of ways, directly and indirectly. Many libraries—including public, school, and academic—provide research guides online to assist patrons in researching even if they never communicate with the reference librarian directly. (See, for example, the multi-page research guides for each academic area created by the librarians at UNCG: For this assignment, you will have the opportunity to analyze and critique two research guides for the same subject area from two different libraries. In an 8-10 page paper (double-spaced, standard fonts and margins), you will describe and analyze each research guide and then evaluate each, commenting on possible improvements or enhancements. If possible, contact the librarian responsible for the research guide and inquire about the process of developing and maintaining it. Please see the Research Guide Analysis assignment sheet in ANGEL for detailed information and a grading rubric. (30% of final grade)
  • Online tutorial/screencast: In addition to creating research guides, librarians also design, create, and post online tutorials/screencasts that explain how to use specific research tools (such as subject-specific databases). For this multi-part assignment, you will have the opportunity to design and create your own brief screencast (less than five-minutes) using the freely-downloadable Jing or a similar product for your chosen audience. Additionally, you will create a “quick start” guide (no more than two pages, either composed as a print document or as a webpage) for the same research tool designed to familiarize other librarians with this tool. In the quick start guide, you will need to do a thorough analysis of the tool, pointing out deficiencies, ways to search most efficiently, unique features, etc. You will share these two products with two of your classmates who will provide you with written feedback. Finally, you will write a paper (around 6-8 pages, double-spaced, standard fonts and margins) reflecting on your process of composing both, explaining your choices of what to include and what to exclude in each of your products, and reflecting on changes you would make if you could redo each in light of the feedback you received from your peers. Please see the Screencast assignment sheet in ANGEL for detailed information and a grading rubric. (35% of final grade)
  • Sources: Each week for lessons #3-13, I will be providing references and annotations in my lecture notes for important sources (both print and electronic) for a variety of academic disciplines. I will be adding all of these sources to a class wiki, and throughout the term I would like you to inspect sources that interest you, briefly note any interesting features that you notice (optional), and then create a question (along with the answer) that you can imagine that this source would be especially helpful in answering if you were practicing as a reference librarian. You will be adding this information to the wiki for each source so that by the end of the semester, we have a large document with titles of sources with a collection of potential questions/answers for each source. Multiple students can add questions to the same source, thereby illustrating the multitude of ways that sources can be used. You will need to create 20 questions in total throughout the term. Please see the Sources assignment sheet in ANGEL for detailed information. (10% of final grade)
  • Online Discussions: Because this class is entirely asynchronous, the online discussions are an integral part of this course. These will be structured, and participation is mandatory. For each week’s class material, one substantive, thoughtful initial post and two responses to other people’s posts are required. Please see the online discussion expectations sheet in ANGEL for detailed information. (25% of total grade)

Textbooks and Readings

We will be reading articles from the professional literature each week; these readings will be available in the ANGEL site. The textbooks listed below are not required, but they are seminal texts in the field of reference librarianship. If you are considering buying one or more of the textbooks, please email me for a brief summary of each so you can make your selection wisely.

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Bopp, R. E. (2010). Reference and Information Services: An Introduction (4th ed.). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. (Publication date moved to 2010.) Available through Amazon: 1591583748.
  • Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2009). Reference & Information Services in the 21st Century (2nd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Available through Amazon: 155570672X.
  • Janes, J. (2003). Introduction to Reference Work in the Digital Age. New York: Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555704298.

Recommended Textbook:

  • Katz, W. A. (2002). Introduction to reference work vol. I, (8th ed.). McGraw Hill. Available through Amazon: 0072441070. 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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