INLS 501: Course Page

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There are many forms of reference work, of varying degrees of media richness: synchronous forms of reference (e.g., face-to-face, telephone, chat / IM, etc.) tend to be richer than asynchronous forms (e.g., email, paper mail, etc.). All of these forms of reference, however, require some form of interaction between the user and the librarian, even if that interaction is at a physical and/or temporal remove. These forms of reference are referred to as direct reference.

Indirect reference is an equally important form of reference, however, and involves no interaction at all between the user and the librarian. Indirect reference involves the proactive creation of information resources by librarians for users' use, either with a librarian's assistance or by self-serving. For this assignment, you will produce one specific type of tool for indirect reference: a course page.

The librarians in the UNC Libraries Instructional Services department develop Course Pages for individual courses, upon the request of the course instructor. These Course Pages are tailored to the course content and assignments, and the students' information needs in the course. Course Pages are aimed at students at a range of levels, and each one contains types of resources most appropriate for the subject matter of the course. Course Pages currently exist for a range of academic departments and topics; see the lists of current and past Course Pages on the library's website for examples of existing Pages. Existing Course Pages are mostly for high-enrollment courses, though the ultimate goal is to create Pages for every course at the university with a research component.

This assignment has two parts: the Course Page, and a report.

You will create a Course Page for a specific course. Early in the semester I will present you with a list of courses for which Instructional Services needs to create a Course Page, and you will choose which you want to work on. You will work in groups of 2 (± 1, depending on class enrollment). Your group will work directly with the Instructional Services librarian who has primarily responsibility for your Course Page; you will not work with the faculty member for whom the Page is being created unless the librarian recommends that you do so. Your group will make collection development decisions about the categories of resources, and the specific resources in those categories, to include in your Course Page.

Your first deliverable for this assignment will be a final draft of a Course Page that is ready to go live on the library's website. Your deliverable is a draft because your librarian contact must make a final approval of your work before it goes live. The RUSA Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography may be useful as you prepare your Course Page.

The Instructional Services department creates Course Pages using the LibGuides product. We have a LibGuides demo site for this course, which is where you will build your Course Page.

While LibGuides allow you to edit raw HTML, they also have a WYSIWYG editor. You therefore do not need to know HTML to do this assignment. That said, every information professional today should have some proficiency with HTML and other scripting and programming languages for the web. However, that is way beyond the scope of a Reference course, and there are other courses in the SILS curriculum that cover those topics.

It is of utmost importance that all of the information sources provided in a Course Page are accessible. Check all references and links that you include. Of course links rot constantly: your links must be accurate up to the date when you submit this assignment, after that all bets are off.

Your Course Page will reflect a great deal of work and many selection choices that are not evident in your final product. To provide a better indication of your work on this project and your decision making criteria and strategies, you will write a report in which you explain and justify your selection and rejection criteria, your organization of the Course Page, and your choices of materials and categories of materials. Indicate why you have chosen particular sources over others, and discuss the process you went through in compiling these sources. Of course, you need not discuss every single item you rejected if this is a very large number or if you included everything you found due to a scarcity of material. In short, this report should take a conceptual approach to explaining the logic of the Course Page, illustrated with examples.

Your second deliverable for this assignment will be this report. This report will be separate from the Course Page, and written for my benefit. That is, the Course Page should be constructed with the course students and instructor in mind, but the report should be written with the intention that only I and your classmates, and not library users, will see it.

Post this report to the course site, with a link to your final draft Course Page. Give your post the category Course Page.

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