School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 Information Policy

LIS 598 Information Policy

Course Outline
Winter 2018

Instructor: Michael B. McNally
Phone: (780) 492-3934
Office: 3-03 Rutherford South
Office hours: Drop in or by Appointment

Calendar Description:

An examination of the government policies in Canada that shape the production, transmission, dissemination, storage, access, use and destruction of information.  The course also investigates major and current trends in information policy and the impact of such policies on libraries and other information intensive workplaces.

Course Objectives:

After completing this course, students who meaningfully engage with course material, actively participate and successfully complete their required course work should be able to:

  • Evince an awareness of the government policies that shape the information lifecycle
  • Understand and analyze the theories, trends and influences on information policy
  • Appreciate the importance of contributing to local, regional and national discussions on information policy

Student Learning Outcomes:

After completing this course, students who meaningfully engage with course material, actively participate and successfully complete their required course work should be able to:

  • Drawing on class readings, discussions and assignments students will be able to analyze how both publicly and privately ordered information policies affect information workplaces and be able to develop strategies for advocating and engaging in policy discussions (links to Program Learning Objective 2)
  • Through readings, discussions and the writing of an essay, students will evaluate various trends and influences in information policy and be able to critically assess how these trends and influences shape policy creation and implementation (links to Program Learning Objective 3)

Program Learning Outcomes:

Relevant Program Learning Outcomes for this course are:

2. Evince complex and ethical awareness of major issues, research, trends, and dilemmas in library and information studies.
Objective: students will, within appropriate institutional, organizational, or professional constructs be ready to debate local, national, and global information issues and policies in a cross-disciplinary, analog, or digital context that includes, but is not limited to the responsibility of librarians and information specialists with respect to the free flow of ideas and access to information.

3. Demonstrate critical thinking, analytical capacities, and problem-solving skills.
Objective: students will possess the skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to evaluate and improve library and information systems and services.


History and scope of information policy; theories of the information society; trends and issues in information policy; access to information; privacy; surveillance; copyright; open government and open data; telecommunications policy.


Lectures, guest lectures, readings, discussions, guided learning exercise and assignments.

Course Relationships:

Prerequisite: LIS 501 Foundations in LIS


Required Texts:

None.  Copies of required readings are available through University of Alberta Libraries, publicly available on the internet or are copied into eClass in compliance with the University of Alberta’s Fair Dealing Guidelines and the Copyright Act s. 29 provisions.

Assignments and Weighting:



Discussion and Participation (both in class and online) (ongoing)


Information Policies and Workplaces Paper (due Feb. 14)


Trial of Canadian Telecom Group Presentation (Mar. 28)


A. Term Paper (due Apr. 13) and Term Paper Outline (due Feb. 28) OR


B. Policy Intervention and Related Material (dates vary)




Late Assignment Policy

Students are expected to submit assignments by the due date. There are no late penalties for assignments handed in after the due date.  Assignments handed in after the due date will be returned later than assignments handed in on the due date.  All assignments must be submitted by 11:59pm MDT on April 13, 2018.  Any assignments not handed in by this deadline will receive a mark of 0 without exception.

School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:

Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade. Grades are calculated in accordance with the SLIS Grading Procedure.

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 stands 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 Behavior (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresntation of facts an/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy (

Inclusive Language and Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of 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 background. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability or chronic health condition affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Recording of Lectures:

Audio or video recording, digital or otherwise, of lectures, labs, seminars or any other teaching environment by students is allowed only with the prior written consent of the instructor or as a part of an approved accommodation plan. Student or instructor content, digital or otherwise, created and/or used within the context of the course is to be used solely for personal study, and is not to be used or distributed for any other purpose without prior written consent from the content author(s).

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