LIBR 150 - Winter 2002

LIBR 150: Library Skills
Winter 2002

Instructor: Stephen Sottong
Units:  2
Classroom: Library North 1033a (in the Reference Area)
Class Time: Wednesday 4:20 - 6:00 P.M.
Office Hours: Wednesday 3:00 - 4:20 P.M. and by appointment.
Office:  Library North 1025a
Phone:  (323) 343-5168

Course Description

Libr 150 will introduce the organization, use and retrieval of information. It will the student gain an understanding of the structure of information and develop critical thinking skills necessary for preparing research papers, oral presentations, projects and theses.

Course Goals

  1. Developing a research question.
  2. Using critical thinking skills to select, narrow, develop and analyze topics.
  3. Learning information organization and the particular organization systems used by libraries.
  4. Recognizing and utilizing proper information sources for a topic.
  5. Evaluating print, electronic and Web sources.
  6. Citing information sources in term papers and theses.
  7. Demonstrating proficiency by writing an essay and giving an oral presentation.
Course Requirements

  1. MUST obtain an Network/E-mail account by the third class meeting. (Available, free, in King Hall D140.)
  2. Regular attendance and participation in class discussion and activities.
  3. Completion of all assigned readings and homeworks.
  4. Completion of a written term paper and an oral presentation on the same topic. A handout will be given to you in class.
Grading Criteria

  1. Class attendance and participation  10%
  2. Homework assignments  10%
  3. Midterm  20%
  4. Final   20%
  5. Oral Presentation  15%
  6. Term Paper  25%

Plus/Minus grading will be used. The final grade will be based on a standard ("curve") distribution. You may choose to be graded CR/NC. You must follow University procedures to register for this option before the deadline.

Required Texts

There are no required texts; however, there are required readings which will be provided by the instructor.


Homework will consist of brief questions relating to the research process for the term paper.

Term Paper

You will be required to complete a five (5) page term paper on the research topic of this class. The paper must include research from books and journals with proper citations. The paper is due at the next to last class session.

Oral Presentation

A five minute oral presentation will be required summarizing the term paper and the research process and methods used in writing it.

Style Manual

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association will be used for this class. A handout will be distributed in class.

Midterm Exam

The midterm will be a written test of research methods given in week 5. Class notes may be used for this test.

Final Exam

The final exam will be a demonstration of skills given during the last class period.

Reasonable Accommodations

Upon request, the instructor shall provide reasonable accommodations for students with certified disabilities. Such requests are to be discussed with the instructor as soon as possible.

Week 1 (January 9)
Review of course requirements/ expectations/ grading.
Data, Information, Knowledge.
Tour of the Library.

Week 2 (January 16)
Finding books and journals.
Methods of classification
  • LCSH
  • Thesauri
Critical thinking -- defining the question.
Introduction to OPACs.

Week 3 (January 23)
Developing search strategies.
The research process.
Introduction to reference sources.
What is a scholarly journal.
Critical thinking -- narrowing the topic.

Week 4 (January 30)
Critical thinking -- finding the right level of information.
Introduction to periodical indices, print & online.
Introduction to the Web

Week 5 (February 6)
Midterm (open notes)

Week 6 (February 13)
Government resources. (Christine Gladish)

Week 7 (February 20)
Business resources.

Week 8 (February 27)
Resources in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Week 9 (March 6)
Sorting out the Web.
Critical thinking
  • evaluating Web sites.
  • how resources differ, how they are the same.

Week 10 (March 13)
Oral presentations.
Term paper due.

Week 11 (March 20)