S501 Course Syllabus
Course: S501: Reference
Campus: Indiana University–Bloomington
Department: School of Library & Information Science
Time and Location
Spring Semester: January 7–April 28, 2008
Mondays and Wednesdays, 4–5:15 p.m.
Carrie Donovan, M.L.S.
Office: Wells Library, W121
Office Hours: by appointment
This course focuses on understanding users' information needs and information seeking behaviors, and on meeting
those needs through the provision of information. The course introduces the philosophy, principles, and practice
of reference services and provides practical experience in evaluating and using a variety of information sources
Students will understand the various roles of information professionals in different information
Students will appreciate the interpersonal and communication skills needed to carry out effective
reference transactions and work.
Students will understand the nature, characteristics, and functions of major types of reference sources.
Students will gain experience with the most important and widely used reference materials.
Students will develop the ability to formulate search strategies that will effectively and efficiently identify
and locate relevant information.
Students will understand the instructional role of reference librarians and the instructional purpose of
Students will learn to compile high quality research guides.
Students will begin to develop their own philosophy of reference services.
Students will build an awareness of past, current, and emerging trends in reference sources and services.
Students should be prepared to participate in classroom discussions. This necessitates attendance and
completion of readings and assignments prior to class.
Students are expected to attend all sessions in this course. If you must miss a class because of an illness or
family emergency, please let the instructor know. Three points will be deducted from your final grade for
each absence. If you miss three classes, you will be asked to drop the course.
Students must use APA Style for citing and listing sources in course deliverables.
A grade of Incomplete (I) may be given in this course after discussion with the instructor, but, depending
on the circumstances, there may be a penalty applied at the discretion of the instructor.
All course deliverables must be submitted in class or via email by midnight on their due dates. Late
assignments will automatically lose one–letter grade from the grade they would have gotten had they
been turned in on time. In case an absence is inevitable on a day a deliverable is due, e–mail the
assignment ahead of time to the instructor to avoid the penalty.
Information Ethics, Part II
The Future of Reference
No Class – Finals Week
Written assignments throughout the semester will familiarize students with sources, search methods, and the
theory and philosophy of reference services. Each assignment is designed to allow students the opportunity to
demonstrate thorough knowledge of the course materials, express originality and creativity, and exceed the course
expectations. Most assignments will be discussed before and after they are completed.
Five Take–home Print/Electronic Reference Source Assignments
Reference Source Purchase Recommendation
Reference Philosophy Statement
Pathfinder (final project) and Related Reports
Your participation will be evaluated based on the quality of all the assignments you turn in and on your class
participation. Quantity, in terms of class participation, is always considered, but quality is paramount. In addition
to easily documented items such as meeting deadlines and class attendance, I will be looking for: engagement,
investment, thoughtfulness, creativity, attention, contribution, preparation.
Readings, Class Participation, and Attendance: 15
Take–home Print/Electronic Reference Source Assignments: 5 @ 5 each
Reference Source Purchase Recommendation: 10
Reference Philosophy Statement: 10
Pathfinder (final project) and Related Reports: 30
Poster Presentation: 10