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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Archives and Manuscripts
INFO 256

  • Fall 2023
  • Sections 10, 12
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 12/06/2023
  • Modified 05/23/2023

Canvas Information

This course will be available on Canvas beginning August 21st, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

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

Course Description and Requisites

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managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records, and other unpublished material.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.


INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204.

Classroom Protocols


Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Program Information

Course Workload

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 Goals

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes) Supported

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.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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.

Course Materials


No Textbooks For This Course.

Course Requirements and Assignments

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 10, September 24, October 8, October 22, November 5, November 19, December 3

Archives in the News Assignment (20% of grade) Students will find one recent news article that deals with archives or archival issues and post it 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 22 for the first post; no later than December 6 for the 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 10, September 24, October 8, October 22, November 5, November 19, December 3)

Extra Credit [OPTIONAL -- NOT REQUIRED] (up to an 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 6

Grading Information

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100A
94 to 96A minus
91 to 93B plus
88 to 90B
85 to 87B minus
82 to 84C plus
79 to 81C
76 to 78C minus
73 to 75D plus
70 to 72D
67 to 69D minus
Below 67F

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA) level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, or 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 (PDF), relevant university policy concerning all courses, such as student responsibilities, academic integrity, accommodations, dropping and adding, consent for recording of class, etc. and available student services (e.g. learning assistance, counseling, and other resources) are listed on the Syllabus Information web page. Make sure to visit this page to review and be aware of these university policies and resources.

Course Schedule

Course Calendar, including Assignment Due Dates

  • Course Introduction and Module 1: Introduction to Archives, Archival Theory, and the Archival Profession (August 21-September 10)
    • September 10: Module #1 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 2: Archival Appraisal and Acquisitions (September 11-24)
    • September 24: Module #2 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 3: Archival Arrangement and Description (September 25-October 8)
    • October 8: Module #3 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 4: Archival Use and Users (October 9-22)
    • October 22: Module #4 assignment due; participation due; deadline for Archives in the News Part 1
  • Module 5: Archival Outreach and Engagement (October 23-November 5)
    • November 5: Module #5 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 6: Archival Management and Ethics (November 6-19)
    • November 19: Module #6 assignment due; participation due
  • Module 7: The Future of Archives and the Archival Profession (November 20-December 3)
    • December 3: Module #7 assignment due; participation due
    • December 6 (official last day of classes): 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.