LIS 6919-01 Seminar in the Historical Foundations of Library and Information Science
Mode of Delivery: classroom-based
Course Text: The Problem of Information, by Douglas Raber (2003) or other appropriate texts.
Course materials will also consist of additional readings assigned to students.
A historical and critical examination of the intellectual traditions and foundational literature of library and information
science (LIS). Readings in seminal works provide a rich background and context for analyzing and understanding
current problems and future trends in LIS and developing research and applications to solve fundamental problems.
COURSE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
The goals of the course are to provide students with:
1. Opportunities to articulate an understanding of the nature, structure, and environment of library and
information science through time
2. A common foundation from which to understand the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of library
and information science
3. Opportunities for critical analysis of library and information science texts in relation to their authors and
contexts of creation
4. Opportunities to apply this understanding in designing and evaluating research
By the end of the semester, students will be able to demonstrate:
1. Knowledge of a wide range of authors and works in library and information science.
2. Ability to critically analyze foundational works of LIS in relation to their historical context and their relevance
for contemporary issues and problems
3. Knowledge of the breadth of library and information science and of a number of its core areas
4. In-depth knowledge of the literature of one specific area of the discipline
COURSE CONTENT AND OUTLINE:
The major content areas covered by the course are:
I. Social and intellectual contexts and forces in library and information science (intellectual freedom, nature of
collections, systems, users)
II. Nature and Use of Knowledge Records (representation, structures, use, information behavior)
III. Meaning of Knowledge Records (relevance, cognition, social role and creation)
IV. User Communities and Communication of Information (impacts of culture, users, communities, and systems)
V. Information Organization and Access
VI. Systems and Processes: Information Policy, Social Contexts, and Impacts of Technology
The instructor will meet with the class for 150 minutes per week for lectures and class discussion. [45 contact hours]
Evaluation will take place by means of reading responses, class participation (posting to web-based Discussion
Boards as instructed, class participation in discussion and critiques, weekly class presentations as assigned), and
one major paper and discussion of that paper. The Assignments section of the class website contains specific
instructions and due dates for each assignment.
Assignment % of Final Grade
Reading responses 30%
Class participation 30%
Final Project 30%
Final Project presentation/discussion 10%
Points Letter Grade
95-100 A 90-94 A-
87-89 B+ 83-86 B
80-82 B- 77-79 C+
73-76 C 70-72 C-
67-69 D+ 63-66 D
60-62 D- <60 F
Each class each student will prepare a reading response to one of the weekly readings related to the week’s topic.
The response will be prepared according to the format provided by the instructor.
Class participation in discussion and critiques
Students will lead one major weekly topic discussion. Students will come to class prepared to discuss and present
their reading response and other assigned readings. Students will ask questions, analyze and critique these
responses, and as a group will discuss and build a framework which encapsulates the important points of the
discussion. For weeks when they may be instructed to do so, each student will post three questions from their
readings to the Discussion Board and will respond thoughtfully to one question posted by a classmate.
Major paper and presentation
Each student will prepare an in-depth paper (12-15 pages minimum) covering a topic from the class which will be
interpreted through a historical framework gained from the class for its impact, relevance, and application for a
current problem in LIS.
See the Assignments section of the website for specific instructions and due dates for each assignment.
ACADEMIC HONOR CODE:
Students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Code published in The Florida State University Bulletin and the
Student Handbook. The Academic Honor System of The Florida State University is based on the premise that each
student has the responsibility (1) to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity in the student's own work, (2)
to refuse to tolerate violations of academic integrity in the university community, and (3) to foster a high sense of
integrity and social responsibility on the part of the university community.
Note that violations of academic integrity include any actions that impede a faculty from evaluating an individual
student’s progress. This can include such actions as cheating on tests, re-use of assignments from other classes or
reworking of such assignments, and plagiarism.
Please see the following web site for a complete explanation of the Academic Honor Code.
Students must also view the PowerPoint presentation on Plagiarism; it contains much helpful information to help you
avoid “accidental” plagiarism. Please note that accidental plagiarism is still considered a violation of academic
integrity and carries the same penalties as deliberate plagiarism.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT:
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to
the Student Disability Resource Center; (2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and
what type. This should be done during the first week of class.
For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the
Student Disability Resource Center
Dean of Students Department
08 Kellum Hall
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4400
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)
(This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.)
SYLLABUS CHANGE POLICY:
This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice, as student and faculty needs
dictate. Students will be notified of changes to the syllabus in class, by email and/or online announcements. It is the
responsibility of the student to monitor all class information sources regularly during each week.