School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 Introduction to Government Information

LIS 598:  Introduction to Government Information
Course Outline

March 18-20, 2016


Instructor: Amanda Wakaruk
5-07N Cameron Library
Office hours
: by appointment only


Calendar Description:

A current topic of significance to, or a special aspect of, library and information studies.


Course Objectives:

The Introduction to Government Information course is designed to provide students with an overview of government publishers and the dissemination and use of their materials in a library context. By the end of this course students are expected to have developed an introductory understanding of government information, its role in a liberal democracy, and practical considerations related to its acquisition, access, and stewardship.


Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

By the end of the course participants will:

  1. have an introductory understanding of the role of government publishers.
  2. be aware of the socio-political context within which government information is produced and disseminated.
  3. have an introductory understanding of legal and policy resources produced by Canadian federal branches of government as part of the democratic process.
  4. be more confident in their ability to answer government information reference questions related to policy and statistics.
  5. be familiar with the challenges and opportunities related to the acquisition, use, and stewardship of government information.  



Friday (Mar 18), 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

  • Overview of government publishing
  • International government information (focus on United Nations family)


Saturday (March 19), 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

  • Government statistics
  • Canadian government information (focus on federal)
  • Canadian federal legislative materials (Meris James, Public Services Librarian - Law, University of Alberta Libraries)


Sunday (March 20), 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

  • Working with government information in special, public, and academic libraries
  • Stewardship and preservation of government information



A combination of pre-readings, lectures, discussion, and assignments will be used.

Course Relationships: Participants should have successfully completed LIS 501.


Required Texts: None.


Required Pre-Reading:


Additional Resources

Periodicals and Blogs

Tutorials and Readings

  • Best Guide to Legal Research:
  • Church, James and Mike McCaffrey (2013). “International Organizations: Available Information and Documentation.” In Routledge Handbook of International Organizations, edited by Bob Reinalda. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013, 27-40.
  • University of Alberta Libraries Law Research Tutorials (link might change, check current web site):
  • McCaffrey, Mike (2010). Readings for Government Information INF 2136. Accessible via Internet Archive: search for
  • Hajnal, Peter I., ed. (2001). International Information: Documents Publications and Electronic Information of International Governmental Organizations. 2nd. Edition, Vol II.
  • Hajnal, Peter I., ed. (1997). International Information: Documents Publications and Electronic Information of International Governmental Organizations. 2nd. Edition, Vol I.
  • Bishop, Olga. (1981). Canadian Official Publications. Guides to Official Publications, v.9. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Professional Development


Assignments and Weighting:

Marks will be allotted as follows:

  • Class Participation: 10%
  • Historical Web Site Assessment: 20%
  • Legislative History / Policy Assignment: 70%   


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.


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 (online at 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.

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 affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Specialized Support and Disability Services.


Recording of Lectures:

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

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