SJSU SLIS: Seminar: Participatory Service & Emerging Technologies (Updated)

Note: This is an updated version of the "green sheet" I just submitted for review - it is a DRAFT until approved.
Course Description

Course Overview

“The new tools provide powerful options for working with data, text, sound, and images. …. There is, predictably, an increasing departure in information handling from the simple pattern of read, think, then write. Computers are used for so much more than the traditional notion of “computing.’”

–Michael Buckland, Redesigning Library Services, 1992

Library scholars have noted the ongoing impact of technology on libraries and have called for a redesign of services to meet the evolving needs of users. Virtual communities have thrived online since the early 1980s. New media and social sites are part of the next incarnation of the World Wide Web, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds.  The evolving Web and related emerging technologies are signifiers of a broader cultural shift: toward an open, collaborative and participatory society. This course examines emerging technologies within a framework of participatory, “hyperlinked” library service: a model of creating, extending, updating and evaluating libraries via a user-centered approach.

Casey & Savastinuk describe the participatory service model: “It is a model for library service that encourages constant and purposeful change, inviting user participation in the creation of both the physical and the virtual services they want, supported by consistently evaluating services. It also attempts to reach new users and better serve current ones through improved customer-driven offerings.”

This course will examine various theories of library service, the social use of information, the advent of social networking tools, the creation of online collaboration and communities via those tools and their adoption by libraries as well as the rise of Library 2.0 thinking, a service philosophy born out of discussions of Web 2.0 and participatory library services. Students will experience an immersive learning environment via a wide range of tools. We will discuss the definition of participatory service, explore some key trends that impact the model, and examine what this shift means for libraries and information work in the 21st Century.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200 required. Other prerequisites may be added depending on content.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles, concepts and ideas of participatory library service
  • demonstrate an understanding of emerging technologies and how they relate to information services and environments.
  • articulate a planning strategy for services built within the framework of the participatory service model.
  • synthesize current thinking about cultural and technological change within a framework of libraries and information work.
  • utilize various online tools to monitor the conversations about a particular information organization.
  • utilize various online tools to experience, discuss, and evaluate course concepts as they can be related to library services

LIBR 287 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing/advocacy;
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations;
  • evaluate programs and services on specified criteria; and
  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.

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Course Requirements


  • Context Book: Students will read one book selected from a list provided, and write a 300 word reflection or create a media-based presentation relating the topic and focus of the book to libraries, technology and participatory service. 10 points
  • Reflection Blogging: Ten 200 word minimum blog posts will serve as a reflection journal for the modules include in our course content. 30 points
  • Emerging Technology/Social Media Plan:  A clearly articulated policy for the use of emerging technologies/social media within a library or information environment can guide the development of participatory services. Students will draft a sample emerging technology/social media plan for the library or environment of their choice of their choice. 20 points
  • Research Paper: Students will prepare a paper (8-10 pages) that explores one of the theories, principles, or issues of participatory service or emerging technologies.  It should contain a thorough literature review, reflect your logically expressed opinions, and offer ideas and solutions for the future of libraries and information centers in this changing world. 20 points
  • Research Paper Presentation: Students will create a blog post, media-based presentation or other creative mechanism to present their reserch paper topic, literature review and conclusions. 10 points
  • Participation & Seminar Engagement: Students will interact weekly via the course learning community, various social tools, and via optional online meetings. Students will be actively reading and commenting on others’ blog posts. A final reflection post will allow students to self-evaluate their participation and engagement. 10 points

Course Calendar

  • Week 1 – Aug. 24 Course Introduction & Foundational Reading
  • Week 2 – Aug. 29 Foundational Reading Continued
  • Week 3 – Sept. 5  The Hyperlinked Library Model
  • Week 4 – Sept. 12 Participatory Service
  • Week 5 – Sept. 19 Reaching All Users
  • Week 6 – Sept. 26 Transparency
  • Week 7 – Oct. 3 Mobile & Geo-Social Information Environments
  • Week 8 – Oct. 10 The Commons & Digital Curation
  • Week 9 – Oct. 17 User Experience
  • Week 10 – Oct. 24 Learning & New Literacies
  • Week 11 – Oct. 31 Planning for Emerging Technologies
  • Week 12 – Nov. 7 Planning for Emerging Technologies
  • Week 13 –  Nov. 14 Reflective Practice & Particpatory Service
  • Week 14 –  Nov 28 Research Paper Presentations (asyncronous)
  • Week 15 –  Dec. 5 Course Reflections & Wrap Up

Course Grading
Grading will be based on 100 possible points. More information to come as assignments are finalized.

  • Late assignments will lose 10% of point value per day late.
  • If life circumstances require students to request an extension, please do so several days before the assignment is due.

Textbooks and Readings

Foundational readings inlude:

  • Buckland, Michael. Redesigning Library Services: A Manifesto at
  • Library 2.0 A Guide to Participatory Library Service by Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk, InfoToday, 2007.
  • Lankes, R. D., Silverstein, J., & Nicholson, S. (January 01, 2007). Participatory Networks: The Library As Conversation. Information Technology and Libraries, 26,4, 17.

Each student will read a recent book related to course content and report on it. A list will be provided.

Readings for each course concept will be  posted on the course site. Students are encouraged to share articles, blog posts and sites they find with the class via their blogs.