INFO 210-13 [1 unit]
Reference and Information Services
Topic: Reference Collections in the 21st Century
Spring 2018 Syllabus

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 Zoom. NOTE:  You are welcome to call before 9 pm ET.

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Regular courses will be available beginning January 24th, 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.

This one-unit course will be automatically available to students on April 2, 2018. The course Runs from April 2nd - May 4th

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

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 select and evaluate reference collections. The selection criteria and related collection development policies required for building and maintaining reference collections are stressed.

Course Requirements

  • Assignment 1 : discussions (3 X 9%) + 3% sharing post
    Discussions (D1, D2, D3, S4)
  • Assignment 2 (70%)
    Annotated bibliography of core reference sources, budget, reflections

Course Calendar

Week Overview of Class Readings, Activities, and Assignments Due Dates
Wk 1
  • Getting started:
    • Post introductions
    • Course overview page and video
    • Week 1 overview 
    • Reading -- Chapter 17 pdf (Cassell & Hiremath)
    • Leondard, E. (2014).  The State of Reference Collections
    • Video lectures
  • Digging deeper:
    • Optional video lectures on research methods that can be used to assess reference collections (Flash videos)
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss:
    • D1 -- discussions on Portal articles (9%)
April 8
Wk 2
  • Getting started:
    • Week 2 overview
    • Video lectures
    • O'Brien, H., & Greyson, D. (2015). Information needs: Understanding and responding to today's information user. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction.  (e-book in King Library)
  • Digging deeper:
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss:
    • Week 2 discussion topic (D2) -- 9%
April 15
Wk 3
  • Getting started:
    • Week 3 overview
    • Video lectures
    • Terrell, H. (2015, December). Reference is dead, long live reference: Electronic collections in the digital age. Information Technology & Libraries, 34(4), 55-62. doi:10.6017/ital.v34i4.9098
    • Feather, C., Madaway, M., & Sanville, T. (2015). Information licensing. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction.  (e-book in King Library)
  • Digging deeper:
    • Useful resources
  • Discuss:
    • Week 3 discussion topic (D3) -- 9%
April 22

Wk 4

Long week

  • Getting started:
    • Week 4 overview page 
    • Video lectures
  • Digging deeper:
    • Useful resources
  • Applying what you learned:
    • Assignment 2 (A2) -- 70%
    • Sharing post (3%)

Project due April 29th

May 4th/
last day

  • Course ends May 4th:
    • The project is due April 29th, but the two-day no-questions-asked grace period applies for A2.
    • All work for the class must be submitted by midnight of the last day of class. 
    • 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: Discussions (9% X 3 weeks) + Sharing post (3%) = 30%
    Discussion topics take place in the first three weeks of class, and the discussion topic for Week 3 does require you to visit a library and speak with a librarian or staff person. All the weekly activities require more than posting your own personal opinions on the topic under discussion.  Address the posted discussion questions using substantive content by utilizing, analyzing, and synthesizing what you learned in the textbook, class readings, etc.
    In Week 4, share something with the rest of the class. It can be anything from an interesting article or website to an interesting tip for job hunting or even some example of library humor.
    See the scoring rubric for the grading criteria.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcomes addressed: 
      • CLO 3: Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
      • CLO 4: Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
    • NOTE: A number of the topics for the weekly discussions may serve as evidence to support various core competencies for your e-portfolio.

  • Assignment 2 (70%)
  • Choose one of the project options listed in the Assignments folder for Assignment 2 based on your areas of interest and career path.  Include your reflections about what you learned by doing your project and why your submission would make an appropriate artifact for your e-portfolio. See the scoring rubric for details, examples, and grading criteria as well as for more information on using class assignments as possible artifacts for your e-portfolio.
    • INFO 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed:
      • CLO1 - Investigate the current issues in managing reference departments and evaluating reference staff and various types of reference services.
      • CLO2 - Explore outreach and marketing roles of reference librarians.
      • CLO3 - Describe current issues and trends on reference departments, including the impact of technology on marketing, outreach, management, and evaluation.
      • CLO4 - Evaluate reference outreach, marketing, and advocacy services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
      • CLO 5: Evaluate reference sources that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.

Course Grading

  • See the description of the assignments in Canvas and the grading rubrics.
  • 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 5% penalty if the work is submitted before the last week of class unless you contact me and formally make special arrangements for an extension.  If you submit the late work in the last week of class, there is a 10% penalty.
  • 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, 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. Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  2. Use appropriate collection development tools for selecting and evaluating reference sources.
  3. Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
  4. Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
  5. 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. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  2. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  3. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Recommended 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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