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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LIS 536: Digital Reference and Information Retrieval

LIS 536: Digital Reference and Information Retrieval

Calendar Description

An examination of the integration of digital services into the array of reference services, with an emphasis on information retrieval systems and their effective use by professionals and end users.


At the completion of this course, the students will be able to:
  1. Discuss concepts and practices of digital reference services;
  2. Use major bibliographic citation databases, OPACs, and Internet IR systems effectively;
  3. Apply their understanding of how digital IR systems work to the formulation and execution of effective search strategies;
  4. Carry out effective digital reference, including selection of databases and IR systems for given requests, formulation of search strategies, execution of effective searches, and evaluation of search results.


This course includes three main areas of content:
  1. Digital reference
    • Differences between digital and traditional face-to-face reference;
    • Opportunities and challenges brought by digital reference;
    • Guidelines and procedures of digital reference;
    • Management and assessment of digital reference services;
    • Issues (e.g., privacy and confidentiality) in digital reference.
  2. Information retrieval (IR)
    • Basics of IR systems, including representation of information, representation of user information needs, matching between information and user needs, presentation of search results, and evaluation of IR systems.
    • IR approaches and techniques, including retrieval by searching vs. by browsing, free text vs. controlled vocabulary searching, basic IR techniques (e.g., truncation; case-sensitive, Boolean, proximity, field searching), and advanced IR techniques (e.g., weighted searching).
    • IR process, including query representation, evaluation of search results (precision and recall), and query expansion and modification for improved search results.
  3. Features and search techniques of major types of databases
    • Subject databases (biomedical, legal, business, social sciences and humanities, science and technology)
    • Specialty databases (e.g., citation databases, databases for patent information, government documents, numerical data, and multimedia)
    • Bibliographic databases (local OPAC and WorldCat)
    • Web searching (Google, etc.)


A combination of lectures, in-class discussions, hands-on exercises, group work, and student presentations will be used throughout this course. Where possible, guest lectures and/or special presentations will also be included.

Recording of lectures

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

Required Text

Bell, Suzanne. S. (2009). Librarian's Guide to Online Searching, 2nd Edition. Libraries Unlimited.

Course Relationships

Elective course; Prerequisites: LIS 501, 502, and 503.

LIS 545 - Management of Human Resources

Course Outline  --   Assignments & Evaluation   --   Tentative Timetable   --   Readings & Resources

Course Outline 


Calendar Description:

The field of human resource management and its application in library and information services.


At the completion of the course, students will be able to:
  • Determine how to provide effective leadership to the most important resource in any library and information centre - the staff;
  • Identify the various principles and practices of human resource management applicable to library and information centres;
  • Identify strategies to lead within unionized environments; 
  • Understand the concept of Situational Leadership as it relates to human resource management in libraries and information centres; 
  • Understand their own strengths as they develop self-knowledge about their potential to be effective library leaders. 


Differences between personal and position power, management and leadership.
Conflict resolution, interventions and dealing with "problem" employees.
Identification of various leadership styles and their effectiveness in human resource management.
Key competencies for effective leadership, self-assessment, and planning for self-development.


Lectures, guest lecturers, case studies, readings, class discussions and papers.

Course Relationships:

Pre-requisites: LIS 501 and LIS 504

Assignments and Evaluation:N/A

Resume/Covering Letter         25% 
Case Study 30% 
Summary Report 35% 
Class Participation 10% 

Assignments and Evaluation N/A

Class Schedule 
IntroductionCourse Outline and AssignmentsTheories of Leadership

January 16th      
Power (Personal and Position)Situational Leadership ModelMaturity Levels

Case StudiesInterview TechniquesCovering Letters and Resumes

Leadership and ManagementLeadership StylesIntervention       Win/Lose

SupervisionPerformance Appraisal                             


Reading Week – No Classes


The Importance of Unions – Management and Union  PerspectivesGuest Speakers:  David Climenhaga, Communications Director - Associated Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE)Pilar Martinez, Executive Director - Public Services, Edmonton Public Library

Case Study Presentations

Case Study Presentations 

"Problem Employees”Conflict ResolutionGuest Speaker – Margaret Law, International Relations, Libraries, University of Alberta

Leadership Summary Presentations

Leadership Development – Personal Action PlansWrap-Up

Readings and Resources

No required text. 


Charney, Cy. The Leader’s Tool Kit. New York: American Management Association, 2006.

Coleman, Daniel, et al. HBR’s Must Reads on Leadership. Boston: Harvard Business Review, 2010.

Deane, Gary. “Lasting Lessons in Leadership.” Public Libraries (May-June 2005) 163-168.

Evans, G. Edward. Leadership Basics for Librarians and Information Professionals. Chicago: ALA, 2007.

Giesecke, Joan, and Beth McNeil. Fundamentals of Library Supervision. Chicago: ALA, 2010.

Haycock, Ken. “Exemplary Public Library Branch Managers: Their Characteristics and Effectiveness.” Library Management (Vol. 32, No. 4/5, 2011) 266-278.

Hentschel, Tiffany. “Growing Our Own Leaders.” Public Libraries (September/October 2008) 14-16.

Hicks, Deborah. “Negotiating Employer—Employee Relationships for New Professionals.” Feliciter (Vol. 54, No.5, 2008) 207-209.

McGrorty, Michael. “A Hard Day at the Job Search.” Library Journal (August 2005) 53.

Maynard, Clara. “Leadership Needed.” Library Journal (134: 2009) 52-53.

Montgomery, Jack G. and Eleanor I. Cook. Conflict Management for Libraries. Chicago: American Library Association, 2005.

Niceley, Donna and Beth Dempsey. “Building a Culture of Leadership.” Public Libraries (September/October 2005) 297-300.

Nixon, Judith. “Growing Your Own Leaders: Succession Planning in Libraries.” Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship (13: 2008) 246-260.

Patterson, Kerry, et al. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. New York: McGraw Hill, 2002.

Reed, Lori and Paul Signorelli. “Are You Following Me?” American Libraries (November 2008) 42-45.

Sheldon, Brooke. Interpersonal Skills, Theory and Practice: The Librarian’s Guide to Becoming a Leader. California: Libraries Unlimited, 2010.

Souba, Wiley W. “The Inward Journey of Leadership.” Journal of Surgical Research (131:2006) 159-167.

Stueart, Robert D. Developing Library Leaders: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Coaching, Team Building, and Mentoring Library Staff. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2010.

Thomas, Deb. “Better Salaries Makes Better Staff.” Feliciter (Vo. 54, No. 5, 2008) 210-212.

Tunstall, Pat. “The Accidental Supervisor.” Public Libraries (May/June 2006) 50-57.

Tunstall, Pat. Hiring, Training, and Supervising Library Shelvers. Chicago: American Library Association, 2009.

Weiss, Emily. “Dining With the Director.” Library Journal (March 1, 2007) 32-34.


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