INFO 259-10
Preservation Management
Fall 2018 Syllabus

Katherine E. Skinner, PhD
E-mail (please ALWAYS use 259 in the subject)
404-783-2534, as needed
Office Hours: Virtually via weekly Zoom sessions (see Canvas for schedule) and by appointment

Syllabus Links
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 21, 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.

Course Description

The course is designed to introduce you to the world of preservation, both analog and digital. Together, we will explore various methods and models of preservation while regularly discussing hot topics and emerging trends in the field. This is a broad, introductory course that will cover the historical, theoretical, managerial, analytical, and practical aspects of preservation. About a quarter of the class will be dedicated to analog preservation issues, over half to digital preservation management, and the remaining portion will address issues that relate to both.

Topics will include:

  • Preservation history
  • Library/Archives/Museums-connectivity through preservation 
  • Fundamentals of disaster preparedness and response
  • Analog preservation (paper, microfilm, audiovisual)
  • Reformatting as a preservation approach
  • Digital preservation and digital curation
  • Digital preservation planning and policy creation 
  • Digital preservation standards, tools, and systems
  • Digital preservation management (economics, staffing, copyright issues)
  • Trends in the preservation field (born-digital archiving, internet archiving, digital art preservation, digital forensics, digital news preservation...)

Students learn best through actively engaging with the course materials. In addition to weekly readings from professional literature, this course will feature brief weekly "lecturettes," occasional guest lectures and roundtable discussions, and activities that will provide further information on the week's topic and engage you in thinking about and working with the course materials. All course "meetings" will be recorded to allow students to attend asynchronously.

Course Requirements

Mode of Instruction
This course is entirely asynchronous. We will use Canvas and Zoom as our classroom and lab settings. We will use Canvas for access to readings and course materials, assignments, and discussions. We will use Zoom as an optional synchronous environment for an office hour each week. I encourage those with questions or a desire for interaction with me and/or the class to come to office hours whenever possible. Each week, I will work with those in attendance to post any questions/responses from office hours that we believe may benefit the class as a whole.

Course Organization
The Canvas course site contains everything that you need to succeed in this course.

  • Course Information contains info essential to your success in the course, such as our syllabus, details on assignments and exams, assignment submission deadlines, discussion/participation requirements, point distribution and grade scale, as well as policies and expectations. Be sure to read all posted components carefully as you are expected to know all of the course requirements and policies and will be held accountable for the information. Failing to familiarize yourself with these details can negatively impact your ability to excel in the course.
  • Weekly Units include details about the work you are expected to complete each week, including reading assignments, questions to keep in mind while you are reading, learning objectives, audio/video lectures, lecture notes, and assignments (including discussion questions and self-quizzes).


Please see our Canvas site for details regarding due dates, assignment requirements, and grading information.

  • Book Soaking Exercise (20% of total grade; supports CLO #3, CLO #6 and competency F)
    During this 10-day activity, you will conduct a small-scale simulation of water damage conditions for analog materials. You will wet a book (both the book and the method are yours to choose), and you will research, select, and apply appropriate drying methods. You will maintain a journal about the experience and will write a formal, four-page description of the exercise, including your drying method and results. The intent of this assignment is to provide you with practical experience in analog preservation and a sense of the gravitas of water damage.
  • Digital Preservation Workflows (20% of total grade; supports CLO #4, CLO #7  and competency F)
    This group assignment will require each student to first individually define a set of digital preservation workflows for her/his own personal digital archiving. Students then will be placed into groups, and each group will then decide together what elements of these workflows can be coupled to provide the strongest approach to digital archiving. Each group will produce a group paper describing how the group worked together, arrived at decisions, and documented its work. This assignment will help you to enrich your practical understanding of digital preservation, learn to determine validity of sources, and build your working relationships with your peers.
  • Position Paper (20% of total grade, supports CLO #4, CLO #7 and competency F, N)
    This assignment will enable you to explore an area of interest in greater depth by taking a position (pro or con) in response to a contemporary digital preservation issue. You do not have to personally agree with which side you take on the issue, but you are expected to provide supporting evidence for whichever angle you choose, either affirmative or negative. The assignment is designed to help you learn to construct a solid argument and to begin building your own personal philosophy of preservation.
  • Final Project: Digital Preservation Policy (20% of total grade, supports CLO #5, CLO #6 and competencies F, N)
    For this assignment, you will establish a relationship with a local institution (library, archive, public radio/tv affiliate, business, etc) that is building its digital collections and that has not yet produced a digital preservation policy. You will design and implement a needs-assessment interview to gather pertinent information about the institution and its collections, and then you will produce a digital preservation policy in conjunction with the institution’s staff. You will also keep a journal of the experience, and will write up a brief paper documenting the challenges and successes of the project and any remaining work that you believe the institution should complete in the future. The assignment is designed to provide you with a mini-practicum that will deepen your understanding of digital curation/preservation, policy development, and teamwork.
  • Online Discussions (20% of total grade, supports CLO #1, CLO #2, CLO #3, and CLO #4)
    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 one response to another person's posts are required.

Assignment Submission
Assignments must be double‐spaced using a 12‐point font and include a one‐inch margin on all sides. They must be submitted by 11:59 pm PT on the day that they are due using the Canvas drop box provided in the relevant weekly module. Ten points per day will be deducted for assignments that are turned in after the due date without prior approval.

If your life circumstances require that you request an extension, please do so at least a week before the assignment due date. No extensions will be granted for discussion posts or for the Glossary assignment because students are dependent on each others’ work in these cases.

Required Readings
There is no required textbook for this course, and all of your readings will be available via the Web, either through citation (for articles available through SJSU’s databases), reserved readings (available to you using your King Library account) or through openly available websites. Readings will be posted on the Canvas course site and listed in the syllabus. In addition to completing your readings, you will sometimes need to also “analyze” websites, “do” an online activity, or “watch” audio/video lectures.

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. Describe the evolution of preservation theory and practice.
  2. Identify the decision-making process behind selection for preservation.
  3. Summarize the causes of deterioration of various types of information objects.
  4. Identify key concepts and standards in digital preservation, including the OAIS model and repository development.
  5. Define the principles of a workable preservation policy in libraries, archives, and corporate DAM settings.
  6. Identify and apply disaster planning, prevention, response, and recovery strategies.
  7. Locate and evaluate tools, research, and other resources on preservation.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 259 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. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


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 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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