LIB 101: Fundamentals of Library Research

Syllabus Spring 2011

This page was last updated on: Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Instructor: Carolyn Oldham

My Phone:


Library Office Phone:

(562) 908-3416

Course Description:

LIB 101 introduces students to information resources available in an academic library, including online catalogs, electronic indexes and databases, and the Internet. Emphases are on defining the research problem, learning appropriate search tools and strategies, evaluating information critically, and using information ethically and legally. The research process learned in this class will be valuable to students who need to find information for college-level research assignments, career demands, and lifelong learning.

Course Goal:

Information literacy has become an essential competency in the current environment of ever-increasing technological change and the resulting information explosion. The American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy says "Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information, and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand."

Entering Skills :

Upon entering this course, students should be able to read a college-level text, write a coherent basic paragraph, be familiar with the keyboard on a computer, and use email (including sending attachments). Advisories: CIT 100A, READ 023, and eligibility for ENGL 101.

Course Objectives : The student will be able to:

  1. Understand the structure of the information environment and the processes by which both scholarly and popular information are produced, organized, and disseminated.
  2. Identify a research topic or other information need, formulate appropriate questions, and modify the topic to achieve a manageable focus.
  3. Select appropriate information retrieval systems for the research topic by investigating the scope, content, organization, and help features of such search tools as online catalogs, reference sources, periodical databases, and Web sites.
  4. Identify keywords, synonyms, and related terms for the information need and select controlled vocabulary specific to the search tool (e.g., library catalog).
  5. Construct and implement search strategies using appropriate search features and commands for the information retrieval system selected (e.g., Boolean operators, truncation, field-searching, etc.; internal organizers such as indexes for books).
  6. Understand the necessity for citing sources and utilize the correct citation format for a variety of print and electronic sources.
  7. Understand the need to evaluate resources before using them as the basis for research and apply established guidelines to evaluate information found on the World Wide Web (WWW).
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material.
  9. Demonstrate an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism.

Throughout the semester, your performance on multiple student learning outcomes will be evaluated. In particular the outcomes which will be assessed this semester include--but are not necessarily limited to--the following: 1) access online catalogs, databases, and other online resources: 2) distinguish between search options available for specific online resources; 3) achieve relevant results using appropriate and relevant search strategies and terms.

Course Text Books

Required: Carla List-Handley. Information Literacy & Technology (4th ed.) 2008
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. ISBN:
0757546765 4th edition ISBN

NOTE:  if you purchase the 3rd edition [the cover is purple, the 4th ed. cover is gold/brown] be aware the pagination is slightly different between the editions, and that the exercises are different.   You will want to access the reserve copy of the book [if you do decide to get the 3rd ed.] and copy the end of chapter exercises. 

Available for purchase at:

The Rio Hondo College Book Store

Amazon books

CampusBooks .com (compares prices from several vendors) Put ISBN number in "Buy Textbooks" box

Kendall Hunt Publishing

The textbook is also available on Reserve at the Rio Hondo College Library.   Reserve books are on loan for two hours and are 'in-library' use only.   Copies from textbooks can be made in the library for .10 cents per page.

Additional Readings:

These will be made available on Blackboard as part of course material. These include additional handouts, links to websites, exercises, short readings from the web, and other materials.

Statement on Academic Integrity

It is expected that you will do all your own work in this class (and others you take at Rio Hondo College. It is my belief that borrowing, copying, or allowing others to do work you hand in is not only dishonest, but cheats you of the chance to learn and broaden your knowledge. Penalties for plagiarism in this course could range from losing points on individual pieces of work to expulsion from the course if the transgression is extremely grave.

Course Requirements





% of grade

Weekly Assignments

Textbook/Key Concept Exercises [short assignments geared to weekly concepts] 5 25 pts. 125  
Weekly Discussion threads 11 25 pts 275
Total assignments     400 40%
Advanced Assignments        
1. Topic Development 2. Citation Format 3. Advanced Searching 3 50 pts. 150 15%
Research Proposal        
Research Proposal: rough draft [50 pts] final project [150 pts.] 1 200 pts. 200  
Total Research Project     200 20%
Quizzes/Final Exam        
Quizzes 2 50 pts. 100  
Final exam 1 100 pts. 100  
Total Quizzes     200 20%
Group Project        
Website 1 20 pts. 20  
Blog 1 25 pts. 25  
Overall Participation Points 1 5 pts. 5  

Total Group Project

    50 5%

Total points for course

    1000 100%
  • There will be opportunities for Extra Credit throughout the course. These will take the form of one-page reports or exercises on topics addressed in units, as well as additional skills exercises.
TBA   50-70 possible extra pts.




General Information about LIB 101 online

What can I expect from this course? Although this course is conducted online, it is very interactive. My focus as an instructor is to provide a collaborative learning environment where students can learn from each other as well as from course material. We communicate through discussion threads weekly. As well, we may also communicate through chat sessions at various points throughout the semester.

With that end, our discussion threads feature most of our written and essay format assignments for the class, with written assignments submitted individually that are more focused on skill-related exercises in searching, using theoretical concepts from class to find information, and on presenting a final project in finished form. That way, we can learn from each other's thinking on theoretical concepts of information.

Although this course may seem like a 'lot of work', the assignments call upon differing skills and levels of engagement. Assignments range from 'completion and participation' assignments, to the longer assignments [3], and the Research Proposal [final project] which will be graded for polished, finished results.

About the weekly discussion threads: There are 11 total discussion threads. Discussion threads provide your 'in-class' time, and provide opportunity to interact with fellow classmates, and the instructor.

These will usually deal with the theoretical issues brought up in our course, of information in society, or connected to our current readings. Hopefully these encourage lively debate of theoretical issues, and the chance to discuss course concepts! Grading will depend upon addressing the weekly topic, in 200 words minimum, and responding to other student postings. Reading relevant chapters and handouts is sufficient preparation for participating in the threads.

Description of assignments

Chapter Assignments: 5 total [questions from chapters and skill exercises [25 pts each]

In-Depth Assignments: [3, 50 pts each]

  1. Topic Development [week 5-6]

  2. Advanced Searching [week 7-8]

  3. Citation formats [week 9-10]

This series of assignments cover thoroughly each skill or area. These are also keyed to the Research Proposal. Through completing the Topic Development and other assignments the student will be able to develop ideas and sources for the Research Proposal.

Research Proposal [25o pts]

This is the main project for the class. The research proposal will be a finished, completed work that involves a topic statement, 3 research questions, a topic overview/scope note and correct citation formats for 8 sources along with annotations. Due Week 16

  1. Research Proposal rough draft [week 14]
  2. Research Proposal [final proposal] [week 16]


  • 2 quizzes 50 pts. each [weeks 6 and 10]]

  • Final. 100 pts. [finals week 16]

The 2 short quizzes are multiple-choice, T/F, and matching, consisting of approximately 30 questions each. The way these will work: you will have an opportunity to see your grade for these immediately. You will be able to retake the quiz ONE time, to look up and correct answers that you missed, to gain full points on both quizzes. This gives you practice and review for the final, which will cover all concepts in class.

The final exam will also be mainly multiple-choice, T/F, and matching, with probably one essay question. This exam will be taken once, and will review the concepts you learned in Quizzes 1 & 2.

Assignments must be turned in on time to receive maximum points. Late assignments will receive some points off, according to the following:

3-7 days late: 3 point deduction; later than 7 days: 7 points deduction.

Please talk to me if you have a problem or emergency preventing participation in the class. With advance notice, we can discuss arrangements for quizzes or assignments.

How much time do I need to spend on this class weekly/monthly etc? If you have questions about how much time this course may take, please refer to the standard recommendations for course time outside of class:


Remember that you should be putting as much time into your online course as you would a campus-based course. Based on the Carnegie Unit, you should be spending 9 hours per week of an 16-week semester working on a 3-unit course. Budgeting your time properly is necessary for online success.

In reality, some weeks you will spend more time, and some weeks less time than this, but count on spending some time each week, reading the textbook chapters, course materials, and completing assignments and discussions.

See the Online Survival Guide for much more information about student success!

Grading Scale

A = 90% - 100 % 900-1000 pts.

B = 80% - 89% 800-899 pts.

C = 70% - 79% 700-799 pts.

D = 60% - 69% 600-699 pts.

F = 0% - 59% under 599 pts.

Special Accommodations

If you require an accommodation to participate in this class, please consult me as soon as possible.

Please note that from time to time you will be visiting outside web sites that may or may not provide adequate accessibility.