INFO 241-10 [1-Unit]
Automated Library Systems
Topic: The ILS and basic functionality
Spring 2018 Syllabus

Dr. Timothy J. Dickey
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10 am Pacific time, or by appointment. Your email questions about any other course question during the week should be answered within 24 hours.

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 24th, 6 am PDT 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-credit course runs from January 24th - February 22st.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the variety of technology applications available to libraries in the twenty-first century, with a focus on underlying concepts and issues of library technology management. You will learn about the history and current state of integrated library systems, the current and expanding use for libraries of new technology fields such as open-source systems, e-books, and mobile applications, and the potential use in the near future of emerging technologies such as web services, linked data, and embedded computing. Many students will already be familiar with at least one automated library system; the emphasis, therefore, is on new trends and the plethora of alternative technologies now available. Course materials, discussions, and written assignments will center on the practical applications of successful library technologies - how information professionals are already using these tools to meet the 21st-century requirements of their users.

Course Requirements

WEEKLY READINGS: There is no textbook assigned for the course; most readings come from the ALA journal Library Technology Reports, available in full-text via the database: Academic Search Premier that you may access online at the King Library site ( For any other course readings, I will provide a direct link to their location on the library website. Some weeks may include readings or websites to “peruse;” please take all of these reading assignments seriously, as each introduces you to important resources for your written work in this course, as well as your future work in library automation. There will be an asynchronous lecture for most weeks' topics. The weekly readings support all four of the CLO's.

LIBRARY WEBSITE REVIEW (25%): For this assignment, each student will compose a 3-4 page review of a specific library website of your choice. Please include a complete citation to the library website at the beginning of your paper, followed by an assessment of the library’s patron base in as much detail as you can provide (size, demographics, funding situation). Any information you can consider regarding specific technology support for the library’s website, and/ or specific initiatives on the part of the library to update their public interface are welcome but should be very concise.

The bulk of your paper should be a critical identification of at least 3 points of good interface design and at least 3 points identifying specific improvements or enhancements that could be made. Consideration should be given to all issues of website usability, convenience of access to library resources, and other information, proper and efficient service to specific patron groups (identified above), and use of available library information technologies. Write as if you were an outside consultant evaluating the website from the standpoint of the current, intended, and potential user base. Be constructive in your criticisms and feel free to think outside the box in potential solutions, but keep in mind the state of the library’s funding and support (identified above) for feasible solutions.

Due Feb. 6. The Library Website Review supports CLO's 1, and 3:

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying concepts and issues of library technology management.
  • 3. Demonstrate an understanding of technology (hardware and cloud technologies) and industry standards and their importance in the field.

VENDOR EVALUATION (50%): Each student will compose a comprehensive 5-7 page review of a single library ILS vendor of your choice. Please include complete contact information for the vendor where possible, as a citation (you are encouraged to include information garnered from individual contact with the vendor, as long as it is so cited in the text of the paper), and some concrete sense of the specific users you have in mind for the specific library who might be served. Other areas which should be covered in the evaluation include available modules, integration with streaming content and other technologies (such as learning management systems), interaction with consortial partners, next-generation offerings, customization and pricing, support, etc. etc. Sources of supporting information can include the vendor’s website, published reviews of the vendor’s products, and any literature in the Library & Information Science field that can be pertinent to your evaluation – user information studies and use cases, comparative analyses and studies of implementations, and news items regarding specific initiatives on the part of the vendor to provide services to libraries and other information centers. Due Feb. 21. The Vendor Evaluation supports all four of the course CLO's:

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying concepts and issues of library technology management.
  • 2. Describe the history and current state of integrated library systems.
  • 3. Demonstrate an understanding of technology (hardware and cloud technologies) and industry standards and their importance in the field.
  • 4. Evaluate the potential use for libraries of new technology fields such as open-source systems and mobile applications.
  • 5. Evaluate the potential use of emerging technologies such as web services, social media, and linked data.

PARTICIPATION (25%): Each student is expected to contribute at least one substantial post to each online discussion board, with timely, substantive comments or critical questions on one or more of the course readings or topics, and/or responses to specific questions that the instructor will raise. PLEASE POST EARLY, so that your instructor and colleagues have a chance to respond.

Each student is also expected to comment substantively at least once to other threads of discussion.

ZOOM VIRTUAL MEETINGS: optional real-time Zoom meetings may be scheduled for the course, with guest speakers; such meetings are expected at 6 pm Pacific time on Tuesday evenings.

The plan of course topics - always subject to change within the Canvas system, is as follows:

Jan. 24 First day of classes (introductions)  
Jan. 24 - Jan. 30 Introduction to Integrated Library Systems and vendors  
Jan. 31 - Feb. 6 Usability of Websites Implementation Report due Feb. 6
Feb. 7 - Feb. 13 "Next-gen" Library catalogs
Feb. 14 - Feb. 20 Cloud computing and libraries  
    Vendor Evaluation due Feb. 21

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 241 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Evaluate the current and potential use for libraries of technology fields such as cloud computing, open-source systems, and mobile applications.
  2. Describe the history and current state of integrated library systems.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of technology (hardware and cloud technologies) and industry standards and their importance in the field.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of underlying concepts and issues of library technology management.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 241 supports the following core competencies:

  1. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  2. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Burke, J. (2016). Neal-Schuman library technology companion: A basic guide for library staff (5th ed.). ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838913822arrow 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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