School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 503: Reference and Information Services

Course Outline 
Fall 2017

Instructor: Dr. Danielle Allard
(780) 492-2605
3-11 Rutherford South
Class times: Tuesday: 9:00 a.m.11:50 a.m. in 3-01 Rutherford South


Calendar Description:

An introduction to reference and information services and resources.  Includes history and varieties of reference services, user populations, instruction, ethics, access issues, the reference interview, search strategies, evaluation of services, and the organization, selection, evaluation, and use of major information resources.  Required course.

Course Objectives:

  1. To develop a basic understanding of the rationale for various types of reference and information services and resources in libraries.
  2. To introduce students to the basic theories of information behaviour.
  3. To develop the ability to interview users in order to analyze the information needs of various users.
  4. To introduce the variety of information sources available that can be used to meet users’ information needs.
  5. To introduce the basic techniques of searching across a variety of contexts and platforms.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Drawing on information behaviour theory, students will be able to provide consultation, mediation and guidance to a range of individuals and communities in locating and using information.
  2. Through in-class discussion and exercises as well as assignments, students will be able to evaluate and synthesize both online and print resources to provide relevant information in response to diverse user needs, communities and preferences.
  3. Following an examination of search strategies, students will be able to conduct comprehensive information searches using a wide variety of systems and techniques.


History of reference services, information seeking behaviour, conducting the reference interview, information search strategies and techniques, subject/discipline databases, specialty databases, virtual/digital reference services, services to diverse populations, information literacy, managing and evaluating information services.

Lectures, readings, in class discussions, small group discussions, in class activities, guest speakers and assignments 

Course Relationships: 
Co-requisite - LIS 501

Required Texts:

Inclusive Language & Equity: 
The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of equality and respect for all people within the university community, and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Academic Integrity:
The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.