LIB 1201 – Research & Documentation for the Information Age | Section D930 Spring 2015 | pdf

Prof. Anne Leonard
Monday/Wednesday 10-11:15 a.m.
Classroom: A543 (Library)
Office: A543b (Library)
Phone: 718.260.5487
Office Hours: Mon/Wed 11:15-12:15 and by appointment
Course Website:

Course Description

In this course we will explore issues in research and documentation for text (in print and online), images, sound, and multimedia. You will investigate where information comes from and how it is organized in both traditional and emerging media. We will examine the ethics of information use and determine how to critically evaluate sources. Throughout the course, you will create and present research and documentation projects using traditional and emerging media and technologies. This is a writing-intensive course. You should expect to spend 4-6 hours outside of class time preparing for class each week.

Course Goals

To introduce you to the theory and practice of research and documentation for all information and media, including:

  • Cultural, economic and political factors that affect information and media
  • The organization of information in multiple formats
  • Developing methods for finding information that is relevant to you
  • Critically evaluating information and its sources
  • Copyright, fair use, and ethical use of information and media
  • The role of documentation and citation in scholarly, professional, and public work

Learning Outcomes

For the successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe the ways that information is produced and organized in a variety of formats
  • Create and articulate a relevant, manageable research topic for your assignments
  • Successfully search for and acquire appropriate information about your research topic in a variety of media and formats
  • Critically evaluate and select information sources for your assignments and projects
  • Use information ethically and responsibly with an awareness of copyright and fair use
  • Synthesize information on a topic from a variety of sources and present your analysis in writing and orally
  • Collaborate with a group to complete, modify, and document a process online
  • Apply documentation methods and citation styles appropriately in your own work

Course Policies

Contacting the professor: Please speak with me if there is anything you find unclear about the readings or assignments, or if you have concerns about your work in the course. Email is the best way to contact me – I will respond within 48 hours (and usually sooner). I also hold regular office hours 11:15-12:15 Mon/Wed and by appointment.

Attendance: You are expected to attend every class during the course. The City Tech attendance policy allows a student to be absent during the semester without penalty for up to 3 class sessions. Additional absences will lower your grade in this course.

Lateness: Please be on time for class. Late students may miss important course material and can be disruptive to the rest of the class. Excessive lateness will lower your grade in this course. Deadlines: All assignments are due on the dates listed in the Course Schedule below. Failure to submit work on time will result in a lower grade for the assignment.

Etiquette: Please be respectful of the opinions of others during class discussions and blog interactions. Please silence your cellphone during class, and do not text or IM unless requested to by the professor. Eating is not permitted in the library’s flexible teaching space, but you may bring a drink with a lid.

Plagiarism: All assignments and work in this course must be your own, and you must give proper credit to any information or ideas that are the work of others. No credit will be given for plagiarized work. Please familiarize yourself with the college policy on plagiarism:

NYCCT Statement on Academic Integrity:

Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.

Further information (including penalties for plagiarism at City Tech) can be found in the Student Handbook:

Additional Resources for Students:

The College Learning Centers offer tutoring and writing support in 2 locations: Atrium G18 and Voorhees 217. For more information:

For help with accessing the campus wifi network, or for information on computer labs for students, visit the CIS Help Desk, located in the Welcome Center on the Atrium ground floor.

I hope that you will become very familiar with the City Tech Library during this course. For additional research support, please don’t hesitate to visit the Reference Desk or the library website:

Assignments and Grading

Your grade in this course will be based on:

  • Class participation                                                                               15%
  • Blog posts on course website                                                             17%
  • Research topic proposal & podcast                                                   8%
  • Annotated bibliography                                                                       7%
  • Research paper – outline                                                                    3%
  • Research paper – draft                                                                      10%
  • Research paper – final                                                                       15%
  • Online documentation project                                                         15%
  • Class presentation                                                                              10%

Participation in class discussions and activities: You are expected to complete all readings/viewings and come to class prepared to discuss them. In-class activities will include developing research topics, formulating search strategies, evaluating information, etc. You are expected to check the course site several times a week for updates, announcements, links to readings, and other important information not covered on the syllabus.

Blog: Short blog posts are required throughout the course. See deadlines in the course schedule (below) and details on the course blog

Class discussion facilitating: during six class meetings, groups of 2-3 students will lead class discussion on the day’s assigned readings.

Research topic proposal: In consultation with the professor, choose a research topic relevant to the course and write a 100 word proposal. You will use this research topic for your annotated bibliography and research paper.


Annotated bibliography: Select a minimum of 5 sources in a variety of media formats on your research topic and create an annotated bibliography (100 words minimum per source).


Research paper outline: Organize the main ideas that you will discuss in your research paper and show the relationships among the ideas you write about. A well-organized outline makes the writing process simpler and more straightforward.


Research paper: Write a research paper on your approved topic. Papers must be 5-8 pages in length (not including illustrations or Works Cited), typed, double-spaced. You are required to submit at least one draft of your paper which must be revised before submitting the final version (see deadlines in the course schedule below).


Online documentation project: In small groups assigned by the professor, students will build an online resource and collaboratively document their process.


Class presentation: Each student group will give a 10-15 minute class presentation describing their online resource and presenting the finished online documentation project.


Full details and requirements for each assignment will be discussed in class and posted on the course blog.

Required Textbook


Badke, William. Research strategies: finding your way through the information fog. New York: Iuniverse, 2014.

This book is available for less than $20 in the City Tech bookstore, and I strongly recommend that you buy it. We will read almost the entire book and it should also be useful to you in other courses. Please use the FIFTH edition (2014). You can also buy it as an eBook (for Nook, Kindle, Kobo and other formats including PDF) for $10 through the author’s website:

The book is also on reserve in the library: CALL NUMBER: Z710 .B23 2014

Additional materials to read or watch are assigned for each class; see the Course Schedule (below). Most are available online (at no cost to you) in library databases or on the internet; the rest are on reserve in the library. Links to materials available online are posted on the course blog.

Required Technology

Reliable access to the internet and to a computer with word processing software are essential for successful completion of assignments. Up to 20% of your grade is dependent upon regular contributions to the course website. Most readings are available via the course website or as a link on this syllabus. The online documentation project requires your group to develop a web-based resource. All written assignments must be word-processed. Lack of internet access is not an acceptable excuse for late or incomplete assignments. Required technology skills include, at a minimum, the ability to use a web browser on a computer or mobile device and to produce correctly formatted written work using a word processing program. If you do not have reliable access to a computer with internet access at home, please plan ahead to do your work on campus or another space that provides internet and computer access, such as a public library.

Course Schedule

All readings and assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date listed below. Please write down and bring at least one question about one of the readings to every class, and come to class prepared to discuss all of the day’s assigned readings.

Wednesday 1/28 Review syllabus, sign up for OpenLab and join course site; introductions

Mon 2/2 Brief history of media; the lifecycle of information; traditional print media: journalism, academic/government/research agency publications
Reading: Read Badke: Ch. 1, Reinhold
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Wed 2/4 Digital text: online versions of print media, “born digital” content
Reading: Jabr, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age,” Lepore, “The Cobweb
: Write one reading response blog post

Mon 2/9 Non-text media: sound, images, multimedia
Reading: Meikle & Young pp. 13-27, Brna, Sisario,
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Wed 2/11 Alternative media: print (zines, pamphlets, etc.) and electronic (blogs, wikis, etc.)
Reading: Eland, Wright (Part I only), Barnard College
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Mon 2/16   College & Library closed

Wed 2/18         participatory media; big data   Classes follow Monday schedule!
Reading: Cohen, Baker, Tufte
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Mon 2/23 Copyright and fair use; open access
Reading: Center for Social Media sections “Code” and “Principles”; Jeanty; Viewing: Grey, Lessig, Faden
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Issues in Information and Media

Wed 2/25        Privacy: changing definitions; challenges of digital media
Reading: Price, Big Data and Privacy. Rainey & Anderson, The Future of Privacy; Wu, Why Monopolies Make Spying Easier
Assignment:  comment on at least one blog post

Mon 3/2         Ethics: Plagiarism
Reading: Martin, J., Widdicombe
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Wed 3/4         Access: personal, institutional, digital divide
Reading: Martin, B. Ch. 7; Samuelson, Aaron Swartz: Opening Access to Knowledge
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

How Information and Media Are Organized

Mon 3/9       Metadata: information about information, taxonomies, folksonomies
Reading: Badke Ch. 4, Dye, Crockford
Assignment: Comment on at least one blog post

Wed 3/11        Search mechanics: what is a database, how does a search engine work
Reading: Badke Ch. 3, Liddy, Agostini
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Mon 3/16       The research process: needs assessment, preliminary strategies, topic development
Reading: Badke Ch. 2 & 8
Assignment: Comment on at least one blog post

Finding Information and Media

Wed 3/18    The research process: refining a topic, creating search strategies
Reading: Badke Appendix I, pp. 223-257, review Badke Ch. 3 pp. 54-60
Assignment: Write one research journal blog post; see blog for prompt

Mon 3/23       Searching: internet
Reading: Badke Ch. 6 (all) and Ch. 7 pp. 161-164; Viewing: Common Craft web search strategies video
DUE:  Research topic proposal draft/podcast uploaded to course OpenLab site

Wed 3/25       Searching: library catalogs Guest lecture TBA
Badke Ch. 5 pp. 89-93, Library of Congress Classification Outline
Assignment: Write one research journal blog post; see blog for prompt

Mon 3/30       Searching: article databases
Reading: Badke Ch. 5 pp. 94-118
DUE:  Research topic proposal final

Using Information and Media

Wed 4/1    Evaluation of sources in any format: how to evaluate
Reading: Berkeley, Cornell
DUE: Annotated bibliography

Monday 4/6 & Wednesday 4/8 – Spring Break – No classes, but the library is open 9-5 Monday through Friday!

Mon 4/13  Evaluation of sources in any format: why to evaluate; evaluation game
Reading: Fister, Grimmelman
Assignment: Write one research journal blog post; see blog for prompt

Wed 4/15         Writing an academic research paper
Reading: Badke Ch. 10 and Appendix 1 pp. 223-257
Assignment: Write one research journal blog post
DUE: Research paper outline

Mon 4/20        Rationale for documentation and citation
Reading: Hauptman pp. 7-13; Bugeja & Dimitrova pp. 33-39
Assignment: Write one reading response blog post

Wed 4/22      Documentation: practical applications
Edge, Robinson
Assignment: comment on one or 2 blog posts

Mon 4/27      Documentation: standards, methods and styles for citing text and non-text media
Reading: Badke Ch. 9, browse Purdue OWL’s APA and MLA Style sections
DUE: Research paper draft

Wed 4/29       Documentation: standards, methods and styles for practices and processes
Assignment: Find one example of process documentation in any format, read it, and write one blog post in which you describe, summarize and critique it. Be prepared to discuss your example in class!

Mon 5/4       Introduce group project & form groups; group project work
DUE: Research paper final version

Wed 5/6         Group project work

Mon 5/11         Group project work

Wed 5/13         Group project work

Presentation of Information

Mon 5/18        Student Presentations

Wed 5/20         Student Presentations
DUE before the beginning of class:  Online documentation project
DUE by the end of the day: self and group evaluation

Required Readings and Viewings


Aung-Thwin, Mila, Kat Baulu, Germaine Y. G. Wong, Brett Gaylor, Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, Gilberto Gil, Marybeth Peters, and Girl Talk. Rip!: A Remix Manifesto. New York, N.Y: Disinformation, 2009.


Baker, Nicholson. “The Charms of Wikipedia.” The New York Review of Books. N.p., 20 Mar. 2008. 55(4).


Brna, Sean Poynton. “Vinyl vs CD/mp3: Insights into Music Formats & the Metaphysics of Our Music.” Web log post. Ourvinyl. Aug. 2012. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.


Bugeja, Michael J., and Daniela V. Dimitrova. Vanishing Act: The Erosion of Online Footnotes and Implications for Scholarship in the Digital Age. Duluth, MN: Litwin, 2010., July 2010.


Center for Social Media. Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Washington, D.C.: Center for Social Media, 2008.


Clark, Jack. “IT Now 10 Percent of World’s Electricity Consumption, Report Finds.” The Register, 16 Aug. 2013.


Cohen, Noam. “Define Gender Gap? Look up Wikipedia’s Contributor List.” The New York Times. 30 Jan. 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.


Common Craft. Web search strategies in plain English., 2008. Web.


Cornell University Library. “Critically analyzing information sources.” 2009. Web.


Crockford, Kade. “Graphs by MIT Students Show the Enormously Intrusive Nature of Metadata.” ACLU Free Future. American Civil Liberties Union, 7 Jan. 2014. Web.


Dye, Jessica. “Folksonomy: A game of high-tech (and high-stakes) tag.” EContent, 29(3), 38-43: 2006.


Edge, Irene E. “Write it Down!” Tech Directions Oct. 2006: 16+. Academic Search Complete. Web.


Eland, Thomas. “Critical Thinking, Deviant Knowledge and the Alternative Press.” Minnesota Association for Continuing Adult Education Update Newsletter (2004): 4-6. 2004. Web.


Faden, Eric. A Fair(y) Use Tale. Film.


Fister, Barbara. “The Devil in the Details: Media Representation of ‘Ritual Abuse’ and Evaluation of Sources.” SIMILE: Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education. 3.2 (2003): 1-14.


Florida Gulf Coast University. “Quick Guide to Evaluating Websites.” Florida Gulf Coast University Library, 2012.


Grey, C.G.P. Copyright: Forever Less One Day. 2011. Film.

Grimmelman, James.  “The Google Dilemma.” New York Law School Law Review, 53, 939-950, 2008/2009.

Harrod, Horatia. “Flickr: The World’s Photo Album.” 26 Mar. 2009. Web.


Hauptman, Robert. Documentation: A History and Critique of Attribution, Commentary, Glosses, Marginalia, Notes, Bibliographies, Works-Cited Lists and Citation Indexing and Analysis. Jefferson N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2008. (in the library on Reserve: call number PN171 .F56 H38 2008)


Jabr, Ferris. “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens.” Scientific American 11 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.


Jeanty, Diane. “U.S. Copyright Office Rules Monkeys Can’t Copyright Their Selfies.” The Rundown: A Blog of News and Insight. PBS Newshour, 21 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.

Larry Lessig: Laws That Choke Creativity | Video on Film.


Lepore, Jill. “The Cobweb: Can the Internet Be Archived?” The New Yorker, 26 Jan. 2015. Web.


Library of Congress. (n.d.). Library of Congress Classification Outline.


Liddy, Elizabeth. “How a search engine works.” Searcher, 9(5), 39-45, 2001.


Martin, Brian. “The politics of research.” In Information liberation: Challenging the corruptions of information power. London: Freedom Press, 1998.


Martin, John. “Senator’s Thesis Turns Out to Be Remix of Others’ Works, Uncited.” The New York Times 23 July 2014. Web.


Mod, Craig. “Post Artifact Books and Publishing.” Web. 2011


Price, Tom. “Big Data and Privacy.” CQ Researcher 25 Oct. 2013: 909-32. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.


Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). APA Formatting and Style Guide. Web. 2009.


Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). MLA Formatting and Style Guide. Web. 2009.


“The Rise of Content Farms: Emperors and Beggars.” The Economist 1 May 2010: 69(US).


Reinhold, Robert. “Study Says Technology Could Transform Society.” The New York Times 14 June 1982. Web.


Robinson, Christine. “Documentation Dilemmas.” The Journal for Quality and Participation. 31.4 (2009): 35.

Sloan, Robin. EPIC 2015 – Museum of Media History. 2004.

Tufte, Edward R. Visual and Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Making Decisions. Cheshire, Conn: Graphic Press, 1997.

UC Berkeley – Teaching Library Internet Workshops. “Evaluating web pages: Techniques to apply and questions to ask.” Web. 2009.

Wright, Fred. “The History and Characteristics of Zines, Part I.”, 1997. Web. 25 Jan. 2013.

Wu, Tim. “Why Monopolies Make Spying Easier.” The New Yorker Blogs 18 June 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2013.

Zine World. (2007). Zines 101—A quick guide to zines.

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