School of Information Management & Systems
Infosys 290-1: Design of Library Services.   Buckland. Spr 1999.

Study Guide

Imagine that some-one has hired you to do a preliminary investigation on some library-related topic. Your task is to create a short "portfolio" of materials (max. 20 pages) to be built up piece by piece that will constitute a study guide by the end of the semester. Select some aspect of library service and imagine someone who wants to know about it. What you develop should be designed as a study guide to be placed in the hands of someone else who will investigate this topic after the end of the semester, but, unfortunately, was unable to take this class. Three options:
Group option: Select some group undergraduates, the homeless, musicologists, market researchers, genetic engineers, recent Russian immigrants, any definable group. What can be said about providing library services and information for this group.
Examples: A city councillor wants to know about public library service to the house-bound. The owner of an engineering firm asks how the engineers can remain up-to-date. An environmental activist group want to know how to become and remain better informed. A college president, planning to starting an Ethnic Studies program wants to know what kind of library service would be needed. A philanthropic foundation has been asked for a grant to develop libraries a developing country.
Feature option: Pick as aspect of library service that would build on an existing interest or expertise.
Examples: An Architecture major to could address library architecture. A Mass Comm major could look into the relationship between libraries and the publishing industry. A Journalism major could examine First Amendment or copyright issues in libraries.
Other: Students already familiar with library services can propose more abstract theoretical and historical topics and/or a more conventional term-paper format, which could provide an opportunity for historical and theoretical inquiry.
Example: A program in Information Management has been described as "regressing, ideologically, to the machinic modernity of Melvil Dewey's Library Economy of 1876" and somebody in the Chancellor's Office wants to know what that might mean.

The contents and design of each portfolio will depend upon the topic selected, but use the following structure unless there is reason to do otherwise. The balance between 3 and 4 is likely to vary considerable with choice of theme.
1. Brief introduction to the study guide.
2. Short explanation of theme.
3. Discussion of the issues.
4. An annotated, evaluative guide for finding to selected sources, with an emphasis on selecting the best examples of different types of resource, emphasizing library resources:
Encyclopedias, textbooks, bibliographies, internet sources, associations, special collections (archives, libraries, museums,...), etc., as applicable.
5. Discussion / explanation of any terminological or conceptual aspects.
6. Recommendations: Problems and priorities for improving library service.
7. Postscript 1: Summary of what you learned and/or found interesting about this theme.
8. Postscript 2: What could / should be done to develop an even better guide if you had more time.

Draft the best guide that you can, within the balance of the six hours a week. Class time will be devoted continuously to discussion of the study guides. Short in-class presentations, maybe, of what you discovered. Individual consultation withe the instructor will be expected. The choice of theme will be subject to the instructor's approval and the relationship of the portfolio to other academic work will need to be explained. The theme may well need to be modified during the course of the semester depending on how much material is found.