INFO 221-10
Government Information Sources
Fall 2021 Syllabus

Kris Kasianovitz, MSLIS, Pronouns she/her
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Office Hours: by appointment 


Syllabus Links
Textbooks
CLOs
Competencies
Prerequisites
Resources
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19, 2021, at 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 course will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course will give students an opportunity to learn about government information sources at the federal, state, local, international levels, their bibliographic organization, their use in various types of libraries and information centers, issues of access, availability, dissemination, and preservation; and aspects of depository and non-depository collections.  The government information landscape is expansive, and this course will provide students with the tools to approach reference and research questions utilizing these sources and become familiar with the standard government information resources.  Specific focus will be on legislation, data and statistics, and specific topics, like voting and climate change. Course assignments will enable students to gain an understanding and skill in working with these sources that can be applied in a professional reference and instruction setting.

Course Requirements

Assignments

  • News, Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), and Scholarly Sources Exercise (CLOs 1, 3, 5) Students will read and dissect a newspaper article, an NGO policy brief, and an academic paper to identify government sources. Using an instructor-designed worksheet, students will create a list of works cited, links to content, and distinguish if sources are publications, records, or data.
  • Reference Questions Exercise I (CLOs 1,2,3)
    Students will be given a list of questions to which they must find the answers using government information sources discussed in Weeks 4 and 5.
  • Reference Questions Exercise II (CLOs 1,2,3)
    Students will be given a list of questions to which they must find the answers using government information sources discussed in Weeks 6 and 7.
  • Reference Questions Exercise III (CLOs 1,2,3)
    Students will be given a list of questions to which they must find the answers using government information sources discussed in Weeks 8, 9, and 10. 
  • Reference Questions Exercise IV (CLOs 1,2,3)
    Students will be given a list of questions to which they must find the answers using government information sources Weeks 11, 12.
  • Reference Questions Exercise V (CLOs 1,2,3)
    Students will be given a list of questions to which they must find the answers using government information sources Weeks 13, 14.
  • From Idea to Law to Implementation: Legislative and Regulatory Tracking Handout (CLOs 23, 4, 5)
    Students will create a handout explaining the legislative/parliamentary process at the U.S. state or local level; or at the national level for a non-US country that includes key primary sources that are created as part of the process, as well as secondary sources that aid in understanding the process and publications.
  • Final Project: Research Guide (CLOs 13, 4, 5, 6) or Government Information Workshop (CLOs 13, 4, 5, 6
    Option A: Students will prepare a research guide to meet the needs of a specified clientele. The submission may take the form of a document or a web-based LibGuide. The instructor will provide a list of pre-approved topics and possible client profiles but students are encouraged to create their own with a view toward developing their skills and knowledge in areas of interest to them and adding to their own professional portfolios. The guide will integrate sources discussed throughout the quarter, as well as additional sources students identify, that are in scope for the guide goals.

    Option B: Students will prepare the materials for a workshop on a topic relating to either community analysis or civic engagement to meet the needs of a specific community.  The submission will include articulated learning objects, presentation slides, and one activity. The materials will integrate sources discussed throughout the quarter, as well as additional sources students identify, that are in scope for the workshop learning outcomes. The instructor will provide a list of pre-approved topics, scenarios, and possible client profiles but students are encouraged to create their own with a view toward developing their skills and knowledge in areas of interest to them and adding to their own professional portfolios.

Course Participation

Participation is based on the weekly discussion question or topic for students are given to respond to in the Canvas Forum. There will be topics that will require students to work in groups and write a group post/observation.

Course Calendar

Week 1: 8/19  - 8/22 Introduction and Course Overview: Government Information Landscape and Jurisdictions  
Week 2: 8/23 - 8/29 Reference and research approaches to government information.
-Understanding the forms, organization, and systems of governments.
-Role of News Media, NGO’s, Academia 
Assignment Due: News, NGO, Scholarly Sources
Week 3: 8/30- 9/5 Publications vs. Records; Distribution of government publications (Depository Programs, Catalogs, Web Archives, Knowledge Repositories, etc.)  
Week 4: 9/6 - 9/12 Laws and Law-making bodies: International, National, State, Local Assignment Due: Reference questions
Week 5: 9/13- 9/19 Administrative Law, Rules, and Regulations;
Judicial Branch
Assignment Due: Legislative and Regulatory tracking
Week 6: 9/20 - 9/26 Data & Statistics, Part 1 Data reference interview, statistical abstracts, statistical databases, and open data portals, etc.  
Week 7: 9/27 - 10/3 Data & Statistics, Part 2  National Censuses Assignment Due: Reference questions
Week 8: 10/4- 10/10 Presidency, Heads of State, Executive Agencies  
Week 9: 10/11 - 10/17 Voting and Elections  
Week 10: 10/18 - 10/24 Education, Science/Technology Assignment Due: Reference questions
Week 11: 10/25 - 10/31 Housing, Health  
Week 12: 11/1 - 11/7 Policing, Law Enforcement Assignment Due: Reference questions
Week 13: 11/8 - 11/14 The Environment and Climate Change  
Week 14: 11/15- 11/21 Areas NES (not elsewhere specified) Trade; Economics, Business, Consumer Protection Assignment Due: Reference questions
Week 15: 11/22 - 11/28 Civic Engagement and Libraries  
Week 16: 11/29 - 12/5 Wrap up and Final assignment submissions Final Project Due

*Please note:  Subject to change with fair notice.

Grading

Grading and Assignment Table
Assignment Points Due Dates
News, NGOs, and Scholarly Sources  5 August 29
Reference Questions I 10 September 12
Reference Questions II 10 October 3
Reference Questions III 10 October 24
Reference Questions IV 10 November 7
Reference Questions V 10 November 21
Legislative and Regulatory Tracking 15 September 19
Final Project 20 December 6
Participation (Weekly Discussion Posts) 10 Friday of each week

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 210

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Articulate what government information is, how it is produced and disseminated by legislative, executive, and judicial agencies from various jurisdictions, and collected and archived by libraries.
  2. Provide competent and professional reference and research assistance to users of government information in the core areas of data and statistics, legislation and regulations, government reports, and public records.
  3. Use reference tools to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use government publications and information, both current and historical, in a variety of formats.
  4. Design and provide services to users of government information, e.g. create a guide or a workshop on a specific topic.
  5. Discover and critically engage with government information policies.
  6. Integrate skills and knowledge about government information into civic engagement roles for libraries/librarians.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 221 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of those principles within that profession.
  2. B Describe and compare organizational settings in which information professionals practice.
  3. C Articulate the importance of designing programs and services supportive of diversity, inclusion, and equity for clientele and employees.
  4. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  5. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  6. M Demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills.

Textbooks

Required Textbooks:

  • Hartnett, C. J., Sevetson, A. L., & Forte, E. J. (2016). Fundamentals of government information: Mining, finding, evaluating, and using government resources (2nd ed.). ALA Neal-Schuman. Available as free Ebook through King Libraryarrow 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: https://www.sjsu.edu/curriculum/courses/syllabus-info.php. 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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