SLIS 4600/5600

Introduction to Information and Access Retrieval

UNT Web Institute
Summer 2005


(801 north Texas Blvd.)

Welcome to SLIS 5600

Excellent reference or information professionals have a great number of skills and talents including; an understanding of user needs, knowledge of information creation and preservation methods, information retrieval and access skills, communication and intermediation skills, information seeking skills, instruction, and management skills.  These skills are coupled with knowledge of professional issues and concerns and relevant theoretical topics.  The structure of the class will enable each student to consider all of these skills.

Course Description:

5600. Introduction to Information Access and Retrieval. 4 hours. Epistemological foundations of information use.  Basic principles and techniques of information retrieval and access services. Survey of research in information seeking behavior and user interaction. Introduction to systems of access, search and retrieval skills, and collection management. Study of evaluation methods for all formats of resources, services and user satisfaction.


Yvonne J. Chandler, Associate Professor
University of North Texas
School of Library and Information Sciences
Information Science Building, #217B
P. O. Box 311068
Denton, TX 76203-1068
Voice: (940) 565-3777 or (940) 565-2445
Fax: (940) 565-3101

Teaching Assistants:

Shimelis G. Assefa
Phone: (940) 369-8331

Natasha Jenkins
Phone: (940)565-3777

Office Hours:

Dr. Chandler: TBA

You may contact Dr. Chandler anytime via WebCT email, personal email, or telephone (home or at work). Conferences may be arranged during the following hours by calling 940-565-2445 or 877-ASK-SLIS for an appointment.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. To understand principles of information retrieval in access services.

  2. To understand information needs, patterns of information seeking behavior and impacts of information use in society.

  3. To understand the principles and techniques in access and retrieval systems.

  4. To introduce the student to the different types of information resources and how to evaluate and use them in access services.

  5. To develop query negotiation skills in order to identify and translate information needs.

  6. To develop skills in searching databases in a variety of formats.

  7. To understand intellectual, physical and technical issues in systems of access.

  8. To understand issues related to the management and evaluation of information access and retrieval systems and services.

  9. To understand selection, evaluation, maintenance and use of relevant information resources in all formats.

  10. To introduce methods for identifying and analyzing future trends in the field.

Author: Katz, William A.
Title:  Introduction to Reference Work Basic Information Services
Vol. 1, 8th edition
Publication  Information: WCB/McGraw-Hill  


Title:  Introduction to Reference Work Reference Services and Information  Processes, 
Vol. 2, 8th edition
Publication  Information: WCB/McGraw-Hill  



The two textbooks can be ordered from the UNT Bookstore
( or (

Online Book Store Web Address
Barnes and Noble

Web Institute Structure:

The Web Institute will be held over a four-day weekend period.  The format for SLIS 5600 during the Institute is for the course content to be divided into two sections.  Section I.  Information Theory and Services and Section II. Information Sources.  Section I. Information Theory and Services will be taught during the Web Institute.  The second section, Information Sources will be taught in modules over the remainder of the semester utilizing WebCT.

The class will be held during the Web Institute. 

  • Institute 1:  SLIS 5600.002 will meet from Sunday, May 29 Wednesday, June 1
    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (central daylight time)

  • Institute 2:  SLIS 5600.001 will meet from Thursday, June 3 - Monday, June 6
    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (central daylight time)


The course site will be housed on the WebCT Vista server.  The web address for the class site is: 

SLIS 5600: Introduction to Information Access and Retrieval

Course Content:

During the Web Institute residency, the class will include lectures, class discussions, in-class exercises and role-playing, assigned readings, and lab assignments.  The Institute lectures will cover information theory and service -- or the intermediation provided by information professionals between clients (users or patrons) and their information need.

The class will discuss the following topics:

  1. The Nature of Information and Information Services

  2. Users and Information Systems

  3. Ethics and Information Service

  4. Information Retrieval Theory

  5. User Information Needs and Information Seeking Behavior

  6. Information Intermediation - The reference process, including question negotiation

  7. Search and Retrieval Processes and Procedures

  8. Databases

  9. Reference Service In Diverse Contexts

  10. Introduction To Information Sources In all Formats

Reading Assignment:

During the Web Institute residency and during the off-campus section of the course, you will be required to read chapters from the textbook.  The chapter readings will coordinate with the lectures in class and during the modules. 

Things To Do To Prepare for the Web Institute:

  1. Please read the following Chapters of the Katz textbook:

Volume 1:

Chapter 1: Reference Librarians on the Information Highway

Chapter 2: The Electronic Library

Chapter 3: Bibliography

Chapter 5: Indexing and Abstracting Services: General and Collections

Chapter 6: Indexing and Abstracting Services: Subject and Newspaper

Volume 2:

Chapter 1: Reference Service and the Community

Chapter 2: Information and the Community

Chapter 3: The Internet

Chapter 4: Internet Reference Libraries

Chapter 7: The Reference Interview

Chapter 8: Rules of the Search

Chapter 10: Reference Service Policies and Evaluation: Ethics and the Reference Librarian, pp. 186-190 

  1. Read the Definitions of Reference Service: A Chronological Bibliography compiled by Lanell Rabner and Suzanne Lorimer
  2. Read about the Google Library Project
  3. Read the following article produced by the Reference and User Services Association Committee, July 2004.
  4. Read the following sections from the 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition - 
  5. Read the following white papers from the Reference and User Services Association Forum, "The Future of Reference Services", held in 2002.