Summer, 2011, Course Syllabus

Instructor, Michael Tolan

3 Semester Credit Hours



INSTRUCTOR: Michael Tolan, COE instructor and catalog librarian, E.Y. Berry Library.  Phone, 605.642.6356; email,  Note, while I am an instructor in the College of Education (COE), my office is not in the COE, and is located in Berry Library (main floor, back left corner, #102).   During summer sessions I can usually be found in Berry Library, 8:00-1:00 & 3:00-5:00 p.m., week days.  Students are encouraged to email (preferred) or telephone questions any time, and during summer sessions to consider all of the above stated hours my office hours.

COURSE DESCRIPTION, BRIEF (from the BHSU Academic Catalog): Students will learn the tools and techniques employed in the organization of information for library use. Covers the theory and application of basic principles and concepts of descriptive cataloging, determination of access point, the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems, the Sears and the Library of Congress Subject Headings, and provides the use of OCLC instruction, representative problems, and practice.

COURSE DESCRIPTION, FULL: The purpose of this course is to offer a practical introduction to the bibliographic description of information.  This course examines the application of standards and rules to the creation of bibliographic and authority records as used in the universally-accepted MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging) format.  All major resources and tools used in the cataloging of materials will be introduced and incorporated as needed to prepare students for an understanding of, and practical use of the creation, enhancement, and editing of bibliographic records, as used in library automation systems around the world.  Students will examine a wide array of materials, learn to identify and organize them by standardized classification (Dewey Decimal & Library of Congress systems) and subject (Sears List of Subject Headings & Library of Congress Subject Headings) systems, and also describe the documents in accordance with standardized rules (International Standard for Bibliographic Description) and codes of citation (Anglo American Cataloging Rules).  Assignments will be offered in a fashion that simulates the real-world cataloging work done in small school, public, and academic libraries.  The subsequent MARC bibliographic records will be edited and customized for local database use, and also analyzed in conjunction with coursework covering the role and use of bibliographic utilities (OCLC, etc.), and what role this work plays in public-access of derived information in networked library content (Worldcat, etc.).  The intent of the class is to provide a sound introduction to practical cataloging & classification work in an automated library, using both traditional & online resources.


REQUIRED TECHNOLOGY SKILLS & D2L SET-UP: Students need a basic computer and internet skills applicable to an online course in the computer cataloging of library materials (standard MARC cataloging will be done on a simple form, accessible via Microsoft Word).  Students need to routinely work with files, forms, documents, and attachments.  LIBM 443/543 will be offered entirely through the internet, via D2L instruction management software.  Students will need to establish their own BHSU D2L user ID and password @:  This I.D./Password set-up is used for off-site access to Berry Library databases & interlibrary loan.

REQUIRED TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES: Students need regular access to a computer with internet connection; no special software purchases or database fees are required.  Students need Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe viewer (or comparable products).

TECHNOLOGY ASSISTANCE: If you cannot connect to the D2L server, please contact D2L Administrator Terry Hupp (605-642-6038).  If you need general information on BHSU Instructional Technology Department, please visit the campus website If you have functioning internet access but cannot load or view class-related documents (readings, forms, assignments, email attachments, etc.) or any files associated with LIBM 443/543, contact your instructor, Michael Tolan @ 605.642.6356 &

INSTRUCTION METHODS: This course is fully online and instruction is via D2L.  Instruction will combine specialized readings, introductory and preparatory writings by the instructor, and required and supplementary texts, all of which are used to prepare students for creating and editing bibliographic records using online resources.  Numerous real-world exercises and practical problem solving will connect the readings to library work as seen in Worldcat, OCLC, SDLN's ALEPH system, etc.  This course is completely "open book" (any text, guide, resource, or website may be used at any time for every assignment and project).  Please note: This is not a self-paced course; see D2L for the date-specific "Course Calendar".


REQUIRED TEXTS (core text in bold font; no need to print any of the free online texts, just bookmark them for reference)

Catalog It!: A guide to Cataloging School Library Materials. Kaplan & Riedling, (2nd. ed.), Linworth, ISBN=1586831976.

Dictionary for Library & Information Science (The "ODLIS Dictionary") / free via Joan Reitz & Libraries Unlimited @:

How to Speak "Librarianese" Dictionary / free via Rutgers University @:

Laurier Library Guide to Library Abbreviations, Acronyms, & Initialisms / free @

MARC Codes: Code-to-Country / free via Library of Congress @:

MARC Codes: Country-to-Code / free via Library of Congress @:

MARC Codes: Languages / free via Library of Congress @

Understanding MARC Bibliographic / free via Betty Furrie & Library of Congress @:

Understanding MARC Authority / free via Betty Furrie & Library of Congress @:

Bibliographic Formats and Standards / free via OCLC @:

CIP Publisher’s Manual / free via Library of Congress @:

MARC 21 Standards / free via Library of Congress @:

LC Authorities / free via Library of Congress @:



REQUIRED TEXTBOOK "ACCESS": It is essential that students arrange for access to traditional cataloging tools from their local public, school, or college library (copies are available for in-library use at BHSU, Spearfish Public Library, Sturgis Public Library, etc.; I may be able to have books placed on reserve at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and/or a central location in Sioux Falls).  You will not need or use these books every day or week of the course. Most students use each title 1-2 times (minimum, Assignments 5 & 7) before moving to online resources.   Many libraries own these resources in some form or edition.  Often, they are uncataloged and hence not found in the library’s online catalog or OPAC.  Since they are usually reserved for staff use and kept in staff offices for database work, you will probably need to speak to the technical services librarian or library director to request use of them.  Most libraries will allow patrons to use these resources. Usually, they can`t be checked out but can be consulted during normal library hours.  If you are employed as a teacher, you might be able to borrow these materials from your school/librarian for summer use, since the facility is likely closed at this time (as the quality and user-friendliness of some school library automation systems has greatly improved, many school librarians have decided not to buy these expensive materials and instead spend those resources elsewhere, so you might need to rely on a public library).  If you cannot arrange for access to these key resources, please contact your instructor.


It is essential that students have or have access to a recent version of both the Dewey Decimal Classification System, and also Sears List of Subject Headings.  The specifics are as follows:  Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index (the 1-volume, mini-"Dewey", preferably ed. 14, but ed. 13 can be used if necessary; published by OCLC; ISBN's for 14th & 13th ed. are 0910608733 & 0910608598) or Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index (the 4-volume, unabridged, full-"Dewey", preferably ed. 22, but ed. 21 can be used; published by Forrest Press; ISBN's for the 22nd & 21st ed. are 0910608709 & 0910608504). Also, students will need access to Sears List of Subject Headings  (preferably ed. 19 or 18, but ed. can be used if necessary; published by H. W. Wilson, ISBN's for the 19th, 18th & 17th ed., respectively, are 082421076X, 0824210409, & 0824209893).  Again, if you cannot locate the books at any library within reasonable driving distance, please contact your instructor.  If some students cannot locate these materials, then I will extend the due dates for assignments using these resources, and books will have to be routed student-to-student, or sent out on interlibrary loan.  Most students can locate Dewey materials, though the Sears book requires more searching.


SUPPLEMENTARY TEXTBOOKS / MATERIALS: Supplementary materials include numerous instructor-authored "handouts".  Additionally, there are essays, review guides, scanned materials and/or files derived from numerous Library of Congress classification and subject-heading documents; these will be saved as text (.txt), MS Word (.doc) or scanned pages (.pdf), and will be found in D2L or emailed to students.


CLASS ATTENDANCE, DISCUSSION, DISTANCE LEARNING & THE BHSU STUDENT HANDBOOK: This is not a self-paced course.  ALL readings, introductory comments, explanations, summaries, lessons, and assignments are readily available on D2L.  Daily attendance is almost a necessity, given the progressive nature of cataloging & classification work.  This, combined with this course usually being offered in the much faster-paced summer session, creates an overwhelming incentive for students to plan their instruction, preparation, and projects entirely off the "Course Calendar" document on D2L, which comes complete with daily outlines and summaries.  LIBM 443/543 is not as conducive to "Discussion Boards" as are many other education and library media courses, so it plays a less prominent role here.  Nevertheless, students are expected to introduce themselves and partake in discussions, all of which are outlined on the Course Calendar (you will need to post comments on each of the topics and reply to other comments if they address matters you introduced, etc.).  Students are expected to treat this online class the same as they would any traditional classroom-based course.  The reason for this is that online courses usually require of the student much more self-motivation and self-management than traditional on-campus courses.  Students are encouraged to read the first two parts of the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the Distance Learning website, if curious as to whether online courses are a good match for them, personally, @:  If students have questions regarding the larger issues of BHSU student life (learning, living, technology, safety, etc.), please consult the Student Life / Student Handbook @:


NETIQUETTE EXPECTATIONS: Since this class is less dependent than most online courses on student-to-student interaction (much more communication is instructor-to-student than student-to-student), there is perhaps less opportunity for misunderstandings to arise.  Nevertheless, since there is student participation on the D2L discussion board, and ample opportunity for instructor input regardless of how common or how detailed such discussions are, students are expected to maintain professional communication standards.  It is easy to assume that internet communication is simply an online version of how one normally relays information and opinion, forgetting that the recipients of your emails, posts, replies, etc., rarely have the benefit of seeing/knowing your mannerisms, attitudes, sense of humor, etc.  Whenever online in a public forum, or in private communication with another student or your instructor, please keep your comments on topic and focused, refrain from sarcasm or inappropriate language, and do not cite other people unless necessary (and if you do, please make this obvious and factually correct).


COURSE COMMUNICATION (CONTACTING YOUR INSTRUCTOR): When contacting your instructor, email is the preferred mode of communication.  Weekdays, I normally answer email at least 2 times per day.  On weekends it is usually once, Sunday evenings.  In the summer I am usually in the Berry Library 8:00-1:00 & 3:00-5:00 p.m., weekdays, though often I am not near my office telephone.  Unless you believe you need someone to help "talk you through" something, or if you are having technical problems and suspect you are not receiving all your email messages (in which case you should definitely use the telephone until we can confirm you have full email functionality), please send your questions, comments, etc., via email:


ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS (ASSIGNMENTS, PROJECTS, Etc.): Because I want to be able to offer feedback quickly, and due to the sheer number of emails and attachments I receive at my University account, students must submit all coursework to D2L.  This allows me to quickly organize and respond to course submissions.  All assignments, projects, cataloging work, etc., will need to be uploaded to D2L.  If you have technical problems doing so, and fear work may be considered "late" if you delay the upload, only then should you email me directly, with your course work attached to the email.


FEEDBACK (TURNAROUND TIME ON EMAILS, ASSIGNMENTS, PROJECTS, etc): I almost always answer email two or more times per day.  Feedback on questions regarding the course or expected work usually come same day.  Basic assignments usually receive feedback in 2 days or less, or on Monday following a Friday deadline.  Major projects usually require an added 1-2 days.  If you need feedback faster, please contact me prior to submitting your work; I will try to accommodate you.  The instructor may solicit student feedback at various points in the course to insure that students do not fall behind, that they understand the larger issues involved (as well as the minutia of cataloging), and also to improve the overall quality of this course.  At least once during the course, the instructor will initiate a survey, used to gauge student satisfaction with the required textbook, as well as the various handouts, supplementary readings, and the subject matter for final project, etc.


PLAGIARISM & ACADEMIC HONESTY (IN AN OPEN-BOOK COURSE): The course is built around lengthy assignments, which require the use of technical manuals, textbooks, and related documents.  Because of this, the entire course is "open book".  There are no quizzes or exams.  Students are encouraged to use appropriate books or websites, at any time, for any course-related work.  The overriding requirement is that students are expected to do their own work.  The core of this course is not a written paper, thesis, or lengthy essay examinations, but rather a collection of assigned tasks and bibliographic records created or edited by the student, addressing real-world problems, as well as various scenarios created by the instructor.  Unlike most academic courses, in descriptive cataloging it is permissible, and in many cases recommended, that students incorporate the work (records) of others into their assignments and cataloging projects, without citing them in any fashion (citing it within the MARC record is not permitted without violating the AACR2 cataloging rules).  Cataloging exercises and examples are expected to be the result of the student`s own research, compilation, analysis, and editing.  Due to the nature of the subject matter and design of this course, as traditionally defined, it is impossible to commit an act of plagiarism in LIBM 443/543.  The fundamental requirement is simply that the cataloging work offered by you was located, assembled, created, and/or edited by you alone.  As long as this criterion is met, there are no "academic honesty" concerns.


MAKE-UP & LATE-WORK POLICY: Due to the progressive nature of this course, submitting late assignments is very strongly discouragedLate work will receive only partial credit.  A point is deducted for every day an assignment is late (every assignment is worth 20 points).  In the event that a student is not able to deliver items on time due to extreme circumstances or personal hardship, the instructor may make special arrangements.  You need regular feedback to do well in this class, and that feedback is best seen in response to the numerous assignments given in this course.  If you submit late work, you extend your time spent without instructor feedback.  Assignments are always considered late after 7 days from when they are given (see the course calendar file on the D2L Contents page for specific dates for each assignment).  Students are strongly encouraged to submit assignments the day or day after they are given; failure to complete assignments in a timely fashion not only lowers your grade but also makes progress in the course especially difficult.  For example, the knowledge gained from assignment #4 and the associated readings, is required for completing many subsequent assignments and the final project.  Not doing work promptly, in the order it is assigned, makes the course unnecessarily difficult.  For the most part, course content in LIBM-443/543 is cumulative in nature, meaning it is very difficult to make up for time missed by doing extra work near the completion of the course.  This is true in the normal semester timeframe but especially true in the faster-paced summer session.



Analyze and organize materials according to the Dewey Decimal Classification and Library of Congress Classification systems.

Text Readings - Chapter 5; Assignment 6-8, 13-18; Final Project.

Apply the core rules of descriptive cataloging for books, serials, and media, at the second level of description as defined by AACR2.

Text Readings - Chapters 4-6; Assignments 13-18; Final Project

Assign, define, & interpret cross references using Sears List of Subject Headings and Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Text Readings - Chapter 4; Assignment 4-5, 9, 13-18; Final Project.

Create MARC records, suitable for entry into a bibliographic utility (such as OCLC) or library consortium (SDLN's ALEPH).

Text Readings - Chapters 3-6; Assignments 4-18; Final Project.

Define core concepts in cataloging, automation, technical services, and the bibliographic control of information, etc.

Text Readings - "Glossary", ODLIS Dictionary (all); Discussions.

Distinguish between MARC cataloging levels, identify coding errors, and demonstrate skill at enhancing low-quality computer records.

Text Readings - Chapters 3-4 & 6; Assignment 13 & 18; Final Project .

Edit and establish proper subject, author, and authority information, as needed by library catalogs (OPACs).

Text Readings - Chapters 4-5; Assignments 8-9, 15-18; Final Project.

Explain how quality cataloging benefits patrons, researchers, and all library staff personnel.

Text Readings - Chapter 4; MARC Handouts; Assignments 4-7 & 10-18

Identify defective MARC records as they relate to fixed field coding, filing indicators, and subfield designation.

MARC Handouts; Assignments 13 & 18; Final Project.

Interpret and apply AACR2 rules governing the forms of headings/references for names and corporate bodies.

MARC Handouts; Assignments 10-13 & 15-18; Final Project.

Summarize all types of materials, in a fashion suitable for creating Library of Congress CIP data, or aids to small publishers.

MARC Handouts; Assignment 14.

Translate MARC format "language" into basic English, understandable by other library staff members and users of the database. 

Assignments 13 & 18; Final Project.

Write clear, concise summaries of procedures based on cataloging rules, suitable for use in a library cataloging or policy manual.

MARC Handouts; Assignments 14-18; Final Project.


EVALUATION PROCEDURES (GRADING): All institutional grading, meaning all final course grades, are straight letter grades, with no "+" or "-" qualifications.  Grades are based on a point system, and all final letter grades will be based on a standard percentage scale.  While the final grade is simply a matter of the total number of points accumulated by the student, it can be helpful to know the weight (or relative importance) of the various components of any course.  As you can see from the values indicated below, assignments can`t be taken lightly in LIBM 443/543, and make up the bulk of your grade (there are 18 assignments which, taken collectively, account for about 75% of your grade).  Each assignment is due no more than 7 days after listed on the course calendar (see the "Course Calendar" document on D2L).   There are no quizzes or exams in LIBM 443/543; these are seen as unnecessary, since the practical work seen in the lengthy assignments and final project are evidence of your mastery of the material.


         GRADING SCALE (using a 485-point system)

A =

90-100 %  (437-485 points)

B = 

80-89   %  (388-436 points)

C = 

70-79   %  (340-387 points)

D = 

60-69   %  (291-339 points)

F =

00-59   %  (000-290 points)


        GRADING "WEIGHT" (numbers rounded & applied to the 485-point base)

  ~75 %


 360 points (18 @ 20 pts each)

  ~20 %

 Final Project Portfolio

 100 points (1 project set @ 100 pts total)

  ~05 %

 Discussion / Surveys / Etc.

 025 points (1 set of discussion comments @ 25 pts total)


FINAL PROJECT: A final project will be required.  This takes the form of a collection of MARC records created or edited by the student.  Each student will be given a different set of records.  Most, if not all, of these records will be for items that have not yet been published, or are "fictitious".  This is done to insure that, in these cases, students cannot adapt the work of others for the final project (by finding versions of these MARC records in various databases or library OPACs etc.).




* The detailed, day-by-day course chronology is offered on D2L; a very abbreviated & simplified course outline is offered here as weekly guide:

Week #1:

Introductions; Background Information; OPAC Mastery; MARC "Workform" Introduction; MARC and the WWW.  

Week #2:

AACR2 Intro.; Subject Headings & MARC / OPACs; MARC 600's; Library of Congress & Sears List Subject Headings.  

Week #3:

AACR2 Pt. 1, Library of Congress Classification System; Dewey Decimal Classification System; Call Number Structures.

Week #4:

AACR2 Pt. 2, Web Dewey Work; Physical Access & MARC #1; Detailed Study of MARC 100, 700, 245, & 246.

Week #5:

AACR2 Pt. 3, Physical Access & MARC #2; Detailed Study of MARC 250, 260, 300, 440, 500, 505-590.

Week #6:

AACR2 Complete; CIP Data; Creating/Editing MARC Records for Books & Serials; Distinguishing Good & Bad MARC Data.

Week #7:

Creating/Editing MARC Records for Media formats; MARC & Websites; Proofreading MARC data for Copy-Cataloging.

Week #8:

OCLC Demonstrations; Follett Software Analysis; ALEPH Software Analysis; Interpreting & Explaining MARC data.


COURSE CHANGES (ADAPTATIONS): The instructor reserves the right to adapt, adjust, or change any component of this class at any time during the course (if I ever need to change anything on the syllabus or an assignment/project, you will be notified of this via D2L and also by an email).  Much of this course is dependent on information found in various OPACs (online library catalogs) all over the country.  This information can be deleted or enhanced on a moment's notice.  Thus, it may at times be necessary for me to adjust not just readings and presentations, but the particulars of any assignment or project.  Students will be given appropriate notice for any changes that have bearing on their assignments or projects.


COURSE CREDITS (SEMESTER HOUR CREDIT - Def.): LIBM 443/543 is a 3 credit course, and the course workload falls within the expected parameters adhered to by the University.  From the Black Hills State University Academic Catalog (Academic Affairs section): "Definition of a credit - Unit of credit is the measure of work done in carrying for one semester a subject of one class meeting a week or its equivalent. Each class meeting is accompanied by two hours of preparation. When the work is done in the classroom or laboratory, and little or no outside preparation is required, the amount of time in the classroom is increased. Two or more hours may be required for one hour of credit in such classes." 


ADDED SUPPORT FOR STUDY @ BHSU, etc.: BHSU offers a wealth of programs and services covering every aspect of student life and research.  If you ever encounter difficulty in locating the proper person or department, please contact the E. Y. Berry Library Information Desk @ 605.642.6250.  The following websites are most useful to students engaged in the LIBM program.  Pay particular attention to the link, "Library Media Minor Program", as this site provides far more information than is included in the BHSU Academic Catalog, and also includes an anticipated course rotation calendar:


College of Education, BHSU:

Extended Learning Office, BHSU:

Student Life Center, BHSU:

Student Handbook, BHSU:

Writing Center, BHSU:

E.Y. Berry Library Databases, BHSU:

E.Y. Berry Library Interlibrary Loan, BHSU:

Library Media Minor Program, BHSU:

Student Password Distribution, BHSU:

Admissions Office, BHSU:

E. Y. Berry Library-Learning Center, BHSU:   



ALTERNATIVES TO AUDIO-VIDEO CONTENT: If you have difficulty viewing the limited audio and/or video content in this course due to disability, please contact your instructor.  Arrangements will be made for you to receive a text (script) of the audio/video materials.


ADA STATEMENT: "Reasonable accommodations, as arranged through the Disabilities Services Coordinator, will be provided students with documented disabilities. Contact the BHSU, Disabilities Services Coordinator ( (605) 642-6099. (Jacket Legacy Room in the Student Union) for more information."


ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY: “Students are responsible for learning the content of any course of study in which they are enrolled.  Under Board of Regents (Policy 1:11), student performance shall be evaluated solely on an academic basis. Students who take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in a course of study, and who believe that an academic evaluation is unrelated to academic standards but is related instead to judgment of their personal opinion or conduct, should follow the General Appeals Process as stated in the BHSU catalog.”



-- The Mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent, confident, and caring professionals –