INFO 256-01
Archives and Manuscripts
Spring 2018 Syllabus

David de Lorenzo
Phone: (541)346-1904
Office Hours: Telephone or In-person by Appointment

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 24nd, 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 in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

An introduction to the theory and practice of managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished material. Topics covered include manuscript and records acquisition and appraisal, arrangement and description, conservation and preservation, reference and access.

Course Requirements

Course Format & Canvas
This class is taught completely online. Canvas will be used to access pertinent assignments while recorded lectures will be delivered through Zoom.

You will need a high-speed connection (DSL, cable, etc.) to successfully take this class. Please see: Technology Requirements and Instructions for Success. If you are not familiar with Canvas, there are helpful tutorials at Canvas -

Further details about specific assignments for this course are found in Canvas.

  • Theme One: Introduction to Archives; History of Archives; Archival Education; Code of Ethics -- assignment supports CLO #1
  • Theme Two: Archives and Social Memory, Acquisitions & Accessioning, Appraisal Theories -- assignment supports CLO #4
  • Theme Three: Public Services & Outreach, Archives Management -- assignments supports CLO #2
  • Theme Four: Copyright & Privacy, Gift/Sales Agreements -- assignment supports CLO #3
  • Theme Five: Arrangement & Description, Preservation of Paper and Digital Assets -- assignment supports CLO #3
  • Theme Six: MARC Cataloging -- assignment supports CLO #3
  • Theme Seven: Electronic Records, EAD, Online Access Methods & Strategies -- assignment supports CLO #5

You will be graded on the following deliverables:

  • Collection Appraisal (15 points)
    I have placed in the Assignments section of Canvas a URL linking to a born-digital created by an Oakland-based organization for the elderly. You will review this recently acquired collection and determine its values using an appraisal form provided in class. 
  • Reference Resources Review (20 points)
    Review & Analysis (minimum 8 pages) of archival online reference resources cited in Canvas. You will review a variety of U.S. and international online archival reference resources made specifically for archival collections. 
  • Cataloging Project (25 Points)
    I have placed in the Lessons section of Canvas a link to a digital image of a small manuscript collection that you will provide a transcription of the letters, research on the topics and names, and a creation of a collection-level catalog record using an accompanying MARC record cataloging worksheet. 
  • Finding Aid Front Matter (25 Points)
    In Canvas you will find information regarding an unprocessed collection. You will be asked to review this information to create the frontmatter for the Finding Aid, including the biographical statement, scope and content note, and series arrangement. 
  • Class Discussion (15 points)
    Because this course is an intensive, compressed introduction to the subject, it is imperative that students fully engage in the case study questions on Canvas.

Late Assignments
A full point will be assessed against the student for late assignments for each day the assignment is late, unless there are mitigating circumstances (such as illness or death) that are communicated to the professor ON or BEFORE the assignment is due.

Incomplete Grades
Incomplete grades cannot be granted unless iSchool administration has provided prior written authorization. Thus, it is in the student's best interest to pursue this matter with them as soon as possible, if/when the issue arises.

Other than the two required texts, additional assigned Readings are available in the class Canvas. The Hunter textbook can be found for sale on Amazon but not in the SJSU Bookstore.

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 200, INFO 202, INFO 204

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic archival principles and practices.
  2. Describe the variety of functions performed by archives and archivists, and the range of environments in which archival professionals work.
  3. Identify the issues involved in acquiring, processing, and making records available to researchers.
  4. Identify the similarities and differences between the roles of archivists and related information professionals.
  5. Define the challenges facing the archives profession today and in the future.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 256 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Recognize the diversity (such as cultural and economic) in the clientele and employees of an information organization and be familiar with actions the organization should take to address this diversity.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information such as classification and controlled vocabulary systems, cataloging systems, metadata schemas or other systems for making information accessible to a particular clientele.


Required Textbooks:

  • Hunter, G. S. (2003). Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: A How-To-Do-It Manual. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555704670. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Roe, K. (2005). Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts (Archival Fundamentals Series II). Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 193166613X. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Boles, F. (2005). Selecting and appraising archives and manuscripts. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666113. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Pugh, M. J. (2005). Providing reference services for archives and manuscripts. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666121. 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 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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