INFO 256-10
INFO 256-12
Archives and Manuscripts
Fall 2021 Syllabus

Erin Lawrimore
Contact information: Contact via e-mail or Canvas; telephone or Zoom appointments can be scheduled

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19th, 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.

Course Description

An introduction to the theory and practice of managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished material. Topics covered include manuscript and records acquisition and appraisal, arrangement and description, conservation and preservation, reference and access.

In addition to basic theory and practice, students will be introduced to the variety of types of archival institutions, both in the United States and abroad.

This course will take place completely online via Canvas.


All assignments are due on the date noted on the syllabus by midnight PST. The course week runs from Monday to Sunday, and all assignments are due at the end of the day on Sunday (before midnight PST). Late assignments will be marked down 15% per day. Additional details will be available on the course Canvas site.

Biweekly Module Assignments (70% of grade) The course is divided into seven modules, with each module covering two weeks of class time. Each module has an associated assignment that must be completed before the conclusion of the two week period. Each module assignment is worth 10% of your final grade, for 70% of your total grade stemming from these biweekly assignments. These assignments will be submitted through the student's blog. [CLO#1, CLO#2, CLO#3, CLO#4, CLO#5]

  • Due dates: September 5, September 19, October 3, October 17, October 31, November 14, and December 5

Archives in the News Assignment (20% of grade) Students will find one recent news article that deals with archives or archival issues and post to the “Archives in the News” discussion board along with a 500+ word commentary that positions the news piece in our readings and discussions. This post will be worth 10% of your final grade. The student will also make substantive comments (500+ words each) on at least two other posted articles. Each of these additional comments will be worth 5% of your final grade. [CLO#3, CLO#5]

  • Due dates: No later than October 17 for first post; no later than December 5 for second and third posts

Participation (10% of grade) Students should actively engage with class materials and with class discussions throughout the semester. They should read other students' blog posts and respond when appropriate. [CLO#1CLO#2]

  • Due dates: Within each two-week module (no later than September 5, September 19, October 3, October 17, October 31, November 14, and December 5)

Extra Credit [OPTIONAL -- NOT REQUIRED] (up to additional 5%)  An optional extra credit opportunity is available for students to interview a professional archivist and write a blog post of 1500+ words discussing the archivist's professional background and development, his/her work responsibilities and activities, views on major professional issues, etc. [CLO#1, CLO#3, CLO#5]

  • Due date: No later than December 5

Course Calendar including Assignment Due Dates

  • Course introduction (August 19-22)
  • Module 1: Introduction to Archives, Archival Theory, and the Archival Profession (August 23-September 5)
    • September 5: Module #1 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 2: Archival Appraisal and Acquisitions (September 6-19)
    • September 19: Module #2 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 3: Archival Arrangement and Description (September 20-October 3)
    • October 3: Module #3 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 4: Archival Use and Users (October 4-17)
    • October 17: Module #4 assignment due; participation due; deadline for Archives in the News Part 1
  • Module 5: Archival Outreach and Engagement (October 18-31)
    • October 31: Module #5 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 6: Archival Management and Ethics (November 1-14)
    • November 14: Module #6 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 7: The Future of Archives and the Archival Profession (November 15-December 5)
    • December 5: Module #7 assignment due; participation due; deadline for Archives in the News Part 2; deadline for optional Extra Credit

This information is subject to change. Changes will be announced via Canvas.


Numerous articles and excerpts from books will be made available on Canvas. No textbooks are required.

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. Demonstrate an understanding of basic archival principles and practices.
  2. Describe the variety of functions performed by archives and archivists, and the range of environments in which archival professionals work.
  3. Identify the issues involved in acquiring, processing, and making records available to researchers.
  4. Identify the similarities and differences between the roles of archivists and related information professionals.
  5. Define the challenges facing the archives profession today and in the future.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 256 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Articulate the importance of designing programs and services supportive of diversity, inclusion, and equity for clientele and employees.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information such as classification and controlled vocabulary systems, cataloging systems, metadata schemas or other systems for making information accessible to a particular clientele.


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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