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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Archives and Records Management - Reference and Information Services in Archives
INFO 284

  • Fall 2023
  • Sections 03, 13
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 12/06/2023
  • Modified 08/14/2023

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

Dr. Jessica Bushey
Office Hours: Every Tuesday 3-5pm PT on zoom [meeting link to be provided in Canvas]. If you have a conflict with my office hours, please contact me via email and we can make an alternative arrangement. 

Course Information

Asynchronous - Weekly Modules run Monday to Sunday

Students are expected to view recorded lectures, interviews and presentations in a timely manner according to the goals set for each weekly module. Students are also expected to actively participate in online class discussions and forums, engage with other students to complete partner activities, complete reading and/or video viewing assignments for each module, and submit assignments on due dates. 

Providing actual reference services involves interacting with external and internal users. Therefore it is important that students taking this course are prepared to explore various modes and methods of interacting with their classmates, exploring publicly accessible archival collections, and engaging with the people who manage them. 

Course Description and Requisites

In-depth study of current issues and practices in archives and records management. The course addresses new areas of research and application such as oral history, sound and visual archives, digitization, archival automation, archival security, and more.


INFO 284 has no prerequisite requirements.

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 284 supports the following core competencies:

  1. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  2. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.
  3. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the principles and concepts applying to archivists' responsibility to make archival holdings discoverable and accessible.
  2. Recognize and categorize the users of archives.
  3. Differentiate and examine the varied uses of archival holdings.
  4. Identify, analyze and evaluate the processes of providing archival reference services.

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

  • Oestreicher, C. (2020). Reference and access for archives and manuscripts (AFS III, Vol. 4). Society of American Archivists. Available through publisher.

Course Requirements and Assignments

Discussions are held every other week and will explore specific topics relevant to the course. Discussion forum topics and activities will be made available through Canvas at the start of the module. Students are expected to contribute to the discussion forum by the deadline (every other Friday). There will be a total of 8 discussion forums, worth 5 pts each, for a total of 40 pts. CLO1; CLO2; CLO3; and CLO4

Module 1 Friday - August 25
Module 3 Friday - September 8
Module 5 Friday - September 22
Module 7 Friday - October 6
Module 9 Friday - October 20
Module 11 Friday - November 3
Module 13 Friday- November 17
Module 15 Friday - December 1

Quizzes are held every other week (alternating with discussions). The quizzes are aimed at assisting students with recall of key terminology and concepts discussed in the weekly lecture and the required readings. The quizzes are available through Canvas, and students are expected to complete them by the end of the module. There will be a total of 7 quizzes, worth 2 pts each, for a total of 14 pts. CLO1. 

Module 2 Sunday - September 3
Module 4 Sunday - September 17
Module 6 Sunday - October 1
Module 8 Sunday - October 15
Module 10 Sunday - October 29
Module 12 Sunday - November 12
Module 14 Sunday - November 26 

Annotated Bibliography on Users of Archives. Due September 17. 23pts. CLO2.

Online Engagement. Due December 6. 23pts. CLO3 and CLO4.

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

1 August 21 - 27 Introduction to Reference and Access Services in Archival Institutions
2 August 28 - September 3 Reference Services within Archival Management 
3 September 4 - 10 Reference Skills and Knowledge
4 September 11 - 17 Identifying Uses and Users of Archives
5 September 18 - 24 The Reference Process
6 September 25 - October 1 Providing Physical Access to Archives
7 October 2 - 8 Providing Intellectual Access to Archives
8 October 9 - 15 Providing Virtual Access to Archives
9 October 16 - 22 Legal Regulations 
10 October 23 - 29 Ethics, Patron Privacy, and Accessibility
11 October 30 - November 5 Access and Use Policies
12 November 6 - 12 Outreach 
13 November 13 - 19 Education 
14 November 20 - 26 Exhibition
15 November 27 - December 3 Assessment & Evaluation of Reference Programs
16 December 4 - 6 Advocacy