INFO 259-01
Preservation Management
Spring 2021 Syllabus

Emily Holmes
Other contact information:
If you prefer to speak by telephone, you may reach me at 212-854-1336, M-F 9 am-4:30 pm ET
Office Hours: Every Wednesday 4-5 pm PT, on Zoom

Syllabus Links
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 27, 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.

The course will run on a Thurs-Wed schedule.

Course Description

An introduction to the philosophies and techniques used to preserve manuscript, printed, and digital materials. Examination of the evolution of preservation practice, with emphasis on emerging theories, models and technologies in digital preservation. Prerequisite: INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204.

This course includes an introduction to the principles and practices of library and archives preservation, including examination of the composition of paper, book, and non-book materials; agents that contribute to deterioration; current methods for preventing and remediating deterioration, including environmental controls, disaster planning and recovery, binding, digitization and other reformatting technologies, collection maintenance and rehousing;  the preservation and curation of digital objects, and the management of preservation efforts, including preservation assessment and decision-making; and the standards and professional ethics that support them.

Topics will include:

  • Introduction to library preservation and its recent history
  • Paper and books
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Environment and its effects on library materials
  • Care, handling, and security
  • Disaster planning and response
  • Reformatting
  • Digital preservation and digital curation
  • Metadata supporting long-term digital preservation
  • Digital repositories
  • Preservation management and surveys
  • Selection for preservation

Each weekly module will include a lecture with slides that will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour, and a required discussion section with suggested discussion topics and sometimes an additional short reading or watching assignment for in-depth discussion.

Course Requirements

There will be three short written assignments, a quiz, and a final project as well as required weekly discussions. The aim of the short written assignments is two-fold: 1. to learn more about the practical applications of the theory we will be discussing in class, and 2. to practice writing professional reports as will be expected of you in future professional positions. Thus, reports will be graded both on your preservation judgment, but also the organization, succinctness, and professionalism of your written work. Sources should be cited using APA style. Details about each assignment available on the Canvas course site.

  • Quiz: (Mar 1, 2021) Short 20 question quiz (multiple choice, T/F, and fill-ins) about audio-video materials. Worth 5% of grade
  • Assignment One (due Mar 17, 2021): You will read and analyze a sample environmental report from an academic library (provided on Canvas); in the role of preservation librarian or curator, write a concise professional report, stating the problems you see with the environment, along with a list of possible solutions to these problems (CLO 2, CLO 3, CLO 6) Worth 15% of grade
  • Assignment Two (Mar 28, 2021):  You will write up a report on a natural or man-made disaster or a conservation effort that affected a library or cultural institution somewhere outside the U.S. (CLO 1, CLO 2, CLO 3, CLO 6, CLO 7) Worth 10% of grade
  • Assignment Three: (Due May 8, 2021) You will research a long-term digital repository, briefly describe it and give information about the organization it serves. Map the functions of this repository to the main roles and functional entities of the OAIS conceptual framework (a list of these will be provided on Canvas) (CLO 4, CLO 7) Worth 15% of grade

Assignments that are turned in late will lose one-half point for each week that paper is late. Assignments are due by 11:59 pm PT of the due date and must be submitted via the Canvas Dropbox

Final Projects: (Due May 26, 2021)

  • Complete a  Partial Preservation Assessment on a Library or Archive (CLO 2, CLO 3, CLO 6, CLO 7)
    1. Choose a library to conduct a preservation assessment. If you are currently working in a library, I would recommend that you choose that one, since you have access to more information about it. If not, you may choose another library (you are allowed to estimate on statistics, etc. if necessary for this exercise, but should try to answer most the questions as accurately as possible)
    2. Identify the library's name, the type of library it is (public, academic, etc), whom it serves, and the type of collections it houses. If it has a preservation department, describe it briefly.
    3. Go to: Northeast Document Conservation Center (
    4. Fill out the "General Building Worksheet", the "Worksheet for Mixed Collections", and another specific collection worksheet of your choice (pdf files).
    5. On a separate sheet make recommendations for improvements or changes based on your findings, or, if you find that no changes are necessary, support that with your findings.

30% of grade

Weekly class discussions
Since development of connections is especially challenging with online courses, individual participation is all the more important. Therefore, it is mandatory that students participate in each weekly discussion board. This allows a further exploration of topics in preservation and also assures that we are meeting all student learning objectives. Each student should contribute between 100-200 words per week. Interaction with your peers in the group (i.e., responding to posted messages) is especially encouraged. Discussions due by Saturday following end of each module (late discussions will be accepted but a small point deduction made) 25% of grade

Course Readings
No up to date and comprehensive textbook on preservation is currently in print. Many of our basic readings will come from the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s online course, Preservation 101, at Northeast Document Conservation Center (

Other online sources will be assigned and for items where there is no online source, assigned readings will be available on reserve through the King Library.

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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