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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Archives and Manuscripts
INFO 256

  • Spring 2023
  • Section 01
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 01/25/2023 to 05/15/2023
  • Modified 05/22/2023

Canvas Information: Courses will be available January 25th, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

David de Lorenzo
Office Hours: Telephone, In-person, or Zoom by Appointment Only (and always accessible by email).

Course Information

Course Format & Canvas
This class is taught completely online. Canvas will be used to access pertinent assignments while recorded lectures will be delivered through Zoom.

You will need a high-speed connection (DSL, cable, etc.) to successfully take this class. Please see Home Computing Environment. If you are not familiar with Canvas, there are helpful tutorials at SJSU iSchool Canvas.

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managing archival documents, such as personal papers, institutional records, photographs, electronic records and other unpublished material.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


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


Required Textbooks:

  • Hunter, G. S. (2020). Developing and maintaining practical archives: A how-to-do-it manual (3rd ed.). Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 083891277X

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Boles, F. (2005). Selecting and appraising archives and manuscripts. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666113.
  • Pugh, M. J. (2005). Providing reference services for archives and manuscripts. Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 1931666121.
  • Roe, K. (2005). Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts (Archival Fundamentals Series II). Society of American Archivists. Available through Amazon: 193166613X.

Course Requirements and Assignments

Further details about specific assignments for this course are found in Canvas.

  • Theme One: Introduction to Archives; History of Archives; Archival Education; Code of Ethics — assignment supports CLO #1
  • Theme Two: Archives and Social Memory, Acquisitions & Accessioning, Appraisal Theories — assignment supports CLO #4
  • Theme Three: Public Services & Outreach, Archives Management — assignment supports CLO #2
  • Theme Four: Copyright & Privacy, Gift/Sales Agreements — assignment supports CLO #3
  • Theme Five: Arrangement & Description, Preservation of Paper and Digital Assets — assignment supports CLO #3
  • Theme Six: MARC Cataloging — assignment supports CLO #3
  • Theme Seven: Electronic Records, EAD, Online Access Methods & Strategies — assignment supports CLO #5

You will be graded on the following deliverables:

  • Collection Appraisal (15 points) - Due 4th Sunday in February at 11:59 pm
    I have placed in the Assignments section of Canvas a URL linking to a born-digital created by an Oakland-based organization for the elderly. You will review this recently acquired collection and determine its values using an appraisal form provided in class.
  • Reference Resources Review (20 points) - Due 2nd Sunday in March at 11:59 pm
    Review & Analysis (minimum 8 pages) of archival online reference resources cited in Canvas. You will review a variety of U.S. and international online archival reference resources made specifically for archival collections.
  • Finding Aid Front Matter (25 Points) - Due 2nd Sunday in April at 11:59 pm
    In Canvas you will find information regarding an unprocessed collection. You will be asked to review this information to create the front matter for the Finding Aid, including the biographical statement, scope and content note, and series arrangement.
  • Cataloging Project (25 Points) - Due 2nd Sunday in May at 11:59 pm
    I have placed in the Lessons section of Canvas a link to a digital image of a small manuscript collection that you will provide a transcription of the letters, research on the topics and names, and the creation of a collection-level catalog record using an accompanying MARC record cataloging worksheet.
  • Class Discussion (15 points) - Due Every two weeks starting 1st Sunday in February at 11:59 pm
    These are case studies based on real situations that relate to the themes covered in the class. Because this course is an intensive, compressed introduction to the subject, it is imperative that students fully engage in the case study questions on Canvas.

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 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 (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.