MARA 284-13 (2 Units)Seminar in Archives & Records Management
Topic: Blockchain DLT & Archives, Records, & Information Governance
Summer 2020 Syllabus

Dr. Patricia C. Franks
Office Location: Online
Office Hours: By appointment

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning June 1st at 6 a.m. 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 2-unit course runs from June 1st - July 20th. It will be available on Canvas on June 1st.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course explores current issues and practices in archives and records management. Students who satisfactorily complete this course, Blockchain DLT & Archives, Records, & Information Governance, will gain the critical insights, knowledge, and skills necessary to integrate blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT) into their archives, records management and information governance programs, policies, and practices. No previous knowledge is required.

Course Requirements

Course Calendar

Course Schedule (Monday through Sunday week) – including Core Competencies and  Student Learning Outcomes

For this course, we’ll be using both the Canvas Learning Management System as well as a SharePoint wiki named Blockchain DLT to which you will be invited week 1.


Main Topic

Concept and Relevant PLOs and CLOs


Introduction to Course and Blockchain DLT


Blockchain Modalities


Core Comp C

Introduction to the course

Discussion (not graded):  Introduce yourselves

Lecture: Introduction to Blockchain Distributed Ledger Technology

Discussion #1 (10 points)

Basis for discussion Blockchain Revolution, narrated ppt conference presentation (Franks)

Assignment #1 (20 points)

  • Locate and review: one recent (last 3 months) news article about Blockchain Distributed Ledger Technology related to this week’s lecture. 
  • Do: provide a 250- to 300-word summary and the link in Canvas. Address your view of the impact Blockchain described in the article on current recordkeeping practices.   


Blockchain Modalities


Blockchain Ecosystem


Core Comp C & E
CLOs 1, 2, & 3

Lecture: Blockchain Modalities including blockchain types and blockchain platforms

View: Video on “What is ether and Ethereum,” YouTube at

Discussion #2 (10 points)

Basis for Discussion—Blockchain White Paper, NARA, February 2019


Lecture: Blockchain Ecosystem, including Blockchain as a Service.

Review: Blockchain ecosystem graphic, example at

Discussion #3 (10 points)

Basis for discussion—BaaS providers introduced in lecture.


Assignment #2 (20 points)

  • Read: Exonum. (2019, Jan. 17). “Test-Drive Blockchain-Based Land Titling on bitfury’s Exonum Platform,” Meet Bitfury. Available at
  • Do: Participate in a land registry demonstration described in this week’s reading by becoming citizens of a virtual city in which land titles are used to record ownership of various properties. Obtain two properties and transfer one to the instructor. Submit a one-page paper describing your experience, including a screen shot of each blockchain transaction—2 purchases and 1 transfer. Explain what you learned about blockchain-based land registries from this assignment.


Blockchain DLT Roles & Risks


Core Comps C & G
CLOs 2 & 3

Lecture 1:Blockchain DLT Use Cases & Demonstration of Records Creation/Management Work Flow involved
Lecture 2: Blockchain Role and Risks related to Trusted Systems

Discussion #4 (10 points)

Basis for Discussion: Understand Blockchain Roles and Risks in Trusted Systems (Whitepaper). 3D PDF Consortium (in publication).


Assignment #3 (20 points)

Refer to the 2016 Proof of Identity Infographic showing ID use cases or a more recent use case model (examples will be provided in Canvas and you may locate your own).  Select one Use Case you will use for the activities going forward that will culminate in your final report. Evaluate whether you should use Blockchain DLT or if a database will suffice based on the chart in Annex A of the Whitepaper. If a standard database was your answer—find another use case. You must have one that calls for a Blockchain DLT solution. Begin to develop your Use Case following the template provided in Canvas based on the use case examples reviewed in the Whitepaper assigned this week. Describe the problem to be solved, the type of blockchain solution that was implemented (public/private/permissioned/ permissionless) and if/why digital money (cryptocurrency or tokens) was involved. Submit your Use Case document to the assignment area in Canvas for my feedback and approval.


Blockchain DLT & Records Management


Core Comp C
CLOs 1, 2, & 3

Lecture: Blockchain DLT & Records Management Implications and Analysis

Discussion #5 (10 points)

Basis for Discussion:

Assignment #4 (20 points)

  • Identify the points at which records are registered on or created through Blockchain DLT based on the Blockchain records consideration model (Franks)
  • Describe in a 2-page paper the implications for a records management program (e.g., records management policy, retention and disposition schedule, etc.)
  • Post your paper to the Canvas assignment area.


Blockchain DLT and Archives


Core Comp C
CLOs 1, 2, & 3

Lecture: Blockchain DLT & Archives implications and Analysis

Discussion #6(10 points)

Basis for Discussion

  • Cassie Findlay (2017) Participatory cultures, trust technologies and decentralization: innovation opportunities for recordkeeping, Archives and Manuscripts, 45:3, 176-190, DOI: 10.1080/01576895.2017.1366864
  • Bell, Mark, Alex Green, John Sheridan, John Collomosse, Daniel Cooper, Tu Bui, Olivier Thereaux, and Jez Higgins. 2019. “Underscoring Archival Authenticity with Blockchain Technology”. Insights 32 (1): 21. DOI:

Assignment #5 (20 points)

  • Identify the points at which archival materials are registered on or created through Blockchain DLT based on the Blockchain archives consideration model (Franks)
  • Describe in a 2-page paper the implications for an archives program (e.g., appraisal, description, preservation, etc.)
  • Post your paper to the Canvas assignment area. 


Blockchain DLT and Information Governance


Core Comps C, E, G
CLOs 2, 3, 4 & 5

Lecture: Blockchain Governance--Laws, Regulations and Standards

Discussion #7 (10 points)

Basis for discussion—Blockchain state legislation at
  and ISO Standards at

Lecture: Blockchain DLT & Information Governance the Information Reference Governance Model
Discussion #8 (10 points)

Basis for Discussion—Deloitte’s 2019 Global Blockchain Survey. Available at

Assignment #6 (20 points)

Describe modifications to be made to the Information Governance Template provided based on the introduction of a BC DLT solution and the Information Governance Reference Model. Post your work to the Canvas assignment area.


Bringing it all together!


Core Comps C, E, G

CLOs 1-5

Final Assignment (120 points)

Final Report for the Information Governance TeamBringing it all together!

You’ll have this week to concentrate on your final report. The assignment and accompanying rubric will be introduced week 1 and will be available throughout the course. Details will be provided in Canvas. Two important tasks:

  • (100 points) Create a Report citing the risks related to the implementation of a Blockchain DLT solution you recommend for your Use Case (identified in week 4).  Refer to the Blockchain use case you selected week 3 to explain the problem and describe the solution you recommend (although there are times a simple database will do—your use case must support implementation of Blockchain DLT). Recommend areas of the Information Governance Reference Model that need to be involved in modifying an existing information governance strategy based on the Blockchain DLT implementation and explain why—this includes IT, legal, risk, records management, privacy and security, and business processes. Include in your report a version of the Information Governance template provided in week 8 and recommend changes to policies and practice that should be considered related to archives, records management, and information governance.  Upload by the end of this week to Canvas.
  • (20 points) Create an executive summary of your report in narrated ppt, video, or other visual manner.  Upload the summary to our Blockchain Report Wiki (to which you will be given access within Canvas).

Discussion #9 (10 points)

Provide a status report on your progress.  What is going well?  Have you hit any snags? If so, how will you overcome them? 


Wrap Up


Core Comps C, E, G
CLOs 1-5

Wrap Up

Discussion #10 (10points)

Review all summaries in SP.  Comment on the work of at least two of your colleagues. Compare it to your own final report.  Provide at least one suggestion for improvement. 


Note: 10% penalty for late work up to one week after the due date. No extra credit is offered.

Students will earn a maximum of 340 points, which will be converted to a percentage and then to a  letter grade based on the iSchool’s grading scale. Rubrics for the discussions, 6 minor assignments, and one major assignment will be posted to Canvas.

Category Topic(s) Scoring Maximum Score

Blockchain Revolution;

Modalities; Ecosystem;



Blockchain & recordkeeping;

Blockchain & archives/preservation;

Blockchain & information governance

10 @ 10 points each 100
Assignments Blockchain in the news;

register for property using blockchain land registration system;

blockchain use case;

blockchain records consideration model for records;

blockchain records consideration model for archives;  

information governance model & blockchain DLT
6 @ 20 points each 120
Final Assignment, Part 1 Report citing the risks related to the implementation of a Blockchain DLT solution you recommend for your Use Case selected in week 3. 1 paper 100
Final Assignment, Part 2

Executive Summary as ppt/video presentation

1 presentation 20
Total   340

Other Relevant Information:

In order to address changes in emerging technology--in this case blockchain distributed ledger technology--assignments and readings may be modified slightly. 

Prerequisites for 1- and 2-credit MARA course waived for all students.

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

MARA 284 - Blockchain (2 units) has no prerequisite requirements

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the Blockchain DLT and the Blockchain ecosystem, decentralized applications, and smart contracts.
  2. Evaluate the adoption and implementation of blockchain ledger technology use cases from a recordkeeping perspective.
  3. Explain how blockchain distributed ledger technologies impact archives, records, and information governance programs.
  4. Cite standards and regulations that govern blockchain distributed ledger technologies.
  5. Develop an information governance strategy to address the impact of blockchain distributed ledger technology.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

MARA 284 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Describe the evolution of systems that manage data, information, communication, and records in response to technological change.
  2. E Identify the standards and principles endorsed and utilized by data, archives, records, and information professionals.
  3. G Describe the legal requirements and ethical principles involved in managing physical and digital information assets and the information professional#s role in institutional compliance and risk management.


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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