LIBR 281-11
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Information Secrecy and Freedom of Information
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Susan L. Maret
E-mail
Office Hours: By phone or appointment virtually. You may also contact me through Skype [iecologie].


Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
Resources
ANGEL
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore
 

The Angel access code will be emailed via MySJSU August 20, 2009.

Course Description

This course examines the political, legal, regulatory, historical, and social dimensions of government secrecy and its relationship to freedom of information in the United States. Topics covered in this class will include the growth of the U.S. government secrecy system, security classification of information, federal information policy, and federal control over public, scientific, and technical information resources. Consideration will also be given to the homeland security issues that surround information access in libraries.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes:

At the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the impact of government secrecy and restriction of government information within an historical and contemporary perspective;
  • Describe and evaluate critical policy issues involved in government secrecy, information restriction, freedom of information, access to and dissemination of information to libraries and society;
  • Understand the role of libraries and librarians in the protection of freedom of information;
  • Identify the foundational research associated with secrecy theory, history of secrecy, information policy, and access to federal information.

LIBR 281 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • Articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom;
  • Contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities;
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations;
  • Use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • Recognize the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of information use;
  • Understand the system of standards and methods used to control and create information structures and apply basic principles involved in the organization and representation of knowledge;
  • Understand the nature of research, research methods, and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups.
     

Course Requirements

Assignment Points Due
Association/Organization Review 15 September 25
Reaction Paper 15 October 12
Article Critique 15 November 2
Research Paper (final) 30 December 11
Participation ~ includes contributions on Angel and the course wiki.

Regularly scheduled voluntary Elluminate meetings will also be held. Note that Eluminate meetings do not count towards participation.
25  

Consult the Angel course site for further details on assignments.

Course Calendar
See the above table for assignment due dates; also consult the Angel course calendar for important dates during the semester.

Textbooks and Readings

Supplemental class readings are listed on the course readings list available through our Angel course site.

Required Textbook:

  • Maret, S. L. & Goldman, J. (2008). Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591586909. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbook:

  • American Psychological Association (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Chicago: American Psychological Association. Available through Amazon: 1557987912. 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 http://www.sjsu.edu/senate/docs/S90-5.pdf. More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at http://info.sjsu.edu/web-dbgen/catalog/departments/LIS.html. 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 http://info.sjsu.edu/static/catalog/policies.html. Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at http://www.sjsu.edu/provost/services/academic_calendars/. The Late Drop Policy is available at http://www.sjsu.edu/aars/policies/latedrops/policy/. 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 http://www.sjsu.edu/advising/.

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7, http://www.sjsu.edu/senate/docs/S12-7.pdf, 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 http://www.sjsu.edu/senate/docs/F15-7.pdf 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 http://www.sjsu.edu/studentconduct/.

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 http://www.sjsu.edu/president/docs/directives/PD_1997-03.pdf requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at http://www.sjsu.edu/aec to establish a record of their disability.

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