LIS 601 Introduction to Reference and Information Services

Summer 2012:  Online

Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Campbell-Meier
skype: campbell.meier; Email (quickest response):

Class Google GroupTo be added

Office Hours: Please email for an appointment.

Course Description
Introduces the philosophy, principles, and practice of reference/information services in libraries, information centers, and online communities. Examines the nature of reference work, human information needs, and information literacy. Studies the characteristics and application of bibliographic control, reference effectiveness research, and electronic information retrieval systems. Provides practical experience in evaluation and use of bibliographic and Webographic materials, reference interviewing and search techniques. Includes virtual world field component.

Prerequisite: None

Program Level Student Learning Outcomes

This introductory survey course addresses the following learning outcomes of the LIS Program, enabling students to:

SLO 1. Understand, apply and articulate the history, philosophy, principles and ethics of library and information science
and the related professions.
1a) Apply LIS theory and principles to diverse information contexts
1b) Demonstrate understanding of the historical context of information services and systems
1c) Develop and apply critical thinking skills in preparation for professional practice
1d) Craft and articulate a professional identity

        Assignments: Reference observations, quizzes, search exercises, pathfinders, bibliography plans

SLO 2.Develop, administrate, assess, and advocate for information services by exercising principled communication, teamwork and leadership skills.
2b) Work effectively in teams

        Assignments: Search exercises

SLO 3. Organize, create, archive, preserve, retrieve, manage, evaluate, and disseminate information resources in a variety of formats
3c) Search, retrieve and synthesize information from a variety of systems and sources

        Assignments: Search exercises, pathfinders, bibliography plans

SLO 4. Evaluate and use the latest information technologies, research findings and methods.
4b) Integrate emerging technologies into professional practice
4c) Apply current research findings to professional practice

        Assignments: Quizzes, search exercises, pathfinders, bibliography plans

SLO 5. Engage in projects and assignments dealing with multicultural communities and representing diverse points of view
5a) Communicate and collaborate with diverse colleagues, information seekers and community stakeholders
5c) Apply LIS principles to meet the needs of Native Hawaiian and Asia-Pacific communities and to promote cultural sustainability

        Assignments: Reference observations, pathfinders

Course/Teaching Philosophy

The emphasis is on developing professional attitudes, knowledge and skills critical for understanding information structure and performing information retrieval, reference interviewing, information problem-solving and user instruction. Learning to search, to ask the right questions, and to evaluate results in the pursuit of accurate information requires a no-fault attitude toward inevitable search errors, and using them as learning opportunities through error analysis.

Unobtrusive Reference Observation helps students to focus on the intermediary role of reference librarians through observing librarians conducting reference interviews and assisting people in solving their information problems. The broad goal of the course is to help students acquire the ability to think like information professionals. In the continuous process of sharing what we have found we learn from each other within a community of professional practice.

Professional Expectations

LIS graduate students are responsible for observing the highest standards of intellectual and personal integrity in every aspect of their careers at the University of Hawaii. The LIS profession promotes ethical and behavioral standards in public service and dealings with colleagues. Be aware that these behaviors are easy to observe and evident to faculty who are asked to write references for scholarships, internships and job applications. LIS students are expected to adopt these values and enact them in their interactions with fellow students, faculty, staff and professionals. Please read the Professional Expectations Notice for LIS Graduate Students at UH:

Teaching Method

Lecture, demonstration, fieldwork, collaborative projects and problem-solving, online, class and small group discussion, role play, reference listserv participation, print and online search exercises, generational curriculum model assignments, written examination, online polls and quizzes; case studies, guest speakers.

Integrated Research Methods

Students will learn and apply the following research methods in course assignments: Information Retrieval method to design and use professional search strategies, analyze, and compare results, and to fact-check; Information Evaluation method to determine the quality of search results and sources; Participant-Observer method to study naturally occurring information activities at a reference desk; Content Analysis of reference transactions to study how interview techniques are used at a reference desk.


HSPLS Library Card

Hawaii"s public libraries have some different resources necessary for assignments.


Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: An Introduction. 2nd Edition Revised. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2011.

Optional Text

Turabian, Kate L. A Guide for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 7th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

This citation manual is used in major assignments, but is also available in Hamilton Library and at the Reference Desk. It is highly recommended that you have your own copy of the 7th edition, or you may use a Turabian style Web site (see online LIS 601 Instructions for Assignments and Handouts packets for links). It is often easier to use a print version of the style manual.

Assignments and Grading

Pathfinder Project


Unobtrusive Observation


Plan for a Bibliography


Search Exercises


Quizzes (2)


Class Participation & Exercises




Read the instructions for each assignment and follow them closely. Your grade will depend on how well you follow the written instructions. Assignments must be in dark print or readable online format with active links. 

Grading Scale: 100-98 A+, 97-94 A, 93-90 A-; 89-87 B+, 86-83 B, 82-80 B-;

79-77 C+, 76-73 C, 72-70 C-; 69-67 D+, 66-63 D, 62-60 D-

Due Dates

Assignments due dates and times will be posted. One (1) point will be deducted each day for late assignments. Occasionally, due dates for the Reference Search Exercises will be extended. 

Exam Dates

There will be a mid-term and a final quiz on specified dates given on the syllabus.

Participation Requirements

Active class participation is essential to the atmosphere of this class because it is a model of the dynamics of reference work. The following are required: Attendance; assigned readings and exercises; participation in Internet reference discussion lists, course Google Group for discussions, shared Google docs for assignments, and Gmail; examination of print and online reference sources; collaborative work on projects and exercises; active class participation in responding to questions, offering constructive comments and observations, and verbally reacting to course topics. Full points will be given only if all criteria are met. With at least two days notice students too ill to attend in person may login and participate remotely. The online system must be set up so let me know as far ahead as possible.

(5 pts) All search exercises submitted on time, frequently contributing to class discussions, frequently contributing to small group work, completing all class assignments, encouraging others to participate in asking questions and making relevant comments during class discussions and lectures.

(4 pts) Completing all class exercises and homework, regularly contributing to class discussions, frequently contributing in small group exercises, encouraging others to participate in making relevant comments during class discussions and lectures.

(3 pts) Complete homework and class exercises, occasional contributions to class discussions, frequently contributing in small group exercises.

(2 pts) All reference search exercises handed in, contributing once or twice to class discussions, and regular contributions to small group work.

(1 pt) Incomplete exercises, no contributions to class discussions, and regular contributions to small group work.

Technology Integration and Requirements

This course requires you to use a computer to log into the class and produce all of the written assignments. Lecture content will be available through Hālāwai. Students are welcome to participate in the sessions or view the recordings during the week, tentative schedule: content will be record on Mondays, Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays

EMAIL: You are required to obtain and use your free Gmail account and subscribe to lis-stu the LIS internal student mail list [Not on the list? send UH email to].

You are required to subscribe to and use the LIS 601 Google Group for communication and updated course information: Address to be determined

Students will submit assignments electronically via Google Documents and work collaboratively online via Google+ Hangout.

Students will obtain a free Jing account to annotate screen captures for Search Exercise assignments.

Students will obtain a free Dropbox account to move files between devices for assignments.

Web: Students will use the Internet for information, communication and assignments. This includes subscribing to at least two professional online reference discussion lists, using Google Documents, Jing and Dropbox for assignments, LIS 601 site materials, the Internet Public Library 2 and the Library of Congress Virtual Reference Shelf, and locating and studying Web resources pertinent to course topics.

Students will respond to online polls during class using PollEverywhere, will use a Google Form to take quizzes online.


(Subject to change)

Week Topics Assignments
July 2nd
  • Review syllabus and assignments
  • Introduction to Information Services
  • Introduction to Information Sources
  • Searching Part 1
  •  Sources: 
    • Periodical Indexes and Databases
  • LibGuides Intro:
    • In LibGuides: edit personal information
    • In LibGuides: Develop Practice LibGuide
  • Participate in the discussion of the Malesky intro. 
July 9th
  • Searching Part 2
  • Information-seeking Behavior and the Reference Interview
  •  Sources: 
    • Encyclopedias
    • Dictionaries
    • Biographical Sources
  • Search Exercise1 Due Friday, July 13 at Midnight HST
July 16th
  • Evaluating the Internet
  • Serving Population
  • Sources
    • Ready Reference
    • Geographical Sources

  • Search Exercise 2 Due Friday, July 20 at Midnight HST
  • Quiz 1 complete by Friday, July 20 at Midnight HST
July 23rd
  • Reader’s Advisory
  • Sources
    • Health, Business, Law
    • Government Information
  • Search Exercise 3 Due Friday, July 27 at Midnight HST
  • Unobtrusive Reference Observation Due complete by Friday, July 27 at Midnight HST
July 30th
  • Reference Interview Review
  • Communicating at the Reference Desk
  • Information Literacy
  • Pathfinder Due Friday, August 3 at Midnight HST
  • Search Exercise 4 Due Friday, August 3 at Midnight HST
August 6th
  • Managing & Evaluating reference services
  • Future of reference services
  • Bibliography Plan Due Friday, August 10 at Midnight HST
  • Quiz 2 complete by Friday, August 10 at Midnight HST