Instructor Name and Contact Info:

Susan M. Irwin
Arizona Historical Society
1300 N College Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281
480-929-0292 ext. 174

Open office hours: Students may contact the instructor by phone or email (see above) at any time with questions.

Academic Year: 


Course ID and Name: 

Section Number: 

Course Syllabus

Course Prerequisites: 

For undergraduate students enrolled in IRLS 432, be a junior or senior in good standing at the university.

Course Description: 

 Overview of multiple types of digital searching tools used in commercial bibliographic databases, library catalogs, and on the Web for discovering texts, images and data. Undergraduate students in this co-convened course will have different assignments from the graduate students but interaction among all levels on the discussion boards will be supported.

Course Objective: 

Successful completion of this course will help students achieve the A1, A3 and B4 competencies outlined at More specifically, by the end of the semester, students will be able to:


  • Formulate search strategies, evaluate results, and modify search strategies as needed to improve results
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of natural language and controlled vocabulary searching
  • Understand the differences between browsing and searching
  • Evaluate the services and products offered by different database vendors and creators
  • Demonstrate the ability to select the best databases for particular information needs
  • Discuss in some depth at least one major issue related to digital information discovery

Required Course Materials: 

IRLS 432 students:

  • Randolph Hock, The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher. 4th ed. Information Today, 2013. ISBN: 9781937290023 

IRLS 532 students:

  • Randolph Hock, The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher. 4th ed. Information Today, 2013. ISBN: 9781937290023 
  • Suzanne Bell, Librarian's Guide to Online Searching. 3rd ed. Libraries Unlimited, 2012. ISBN: 9781610690355

Additional required and supplemental readings will be available in the D2L course space.

Course Requirements: 


IRLS 432 students:

Search exercises (3 @ 10 points each) 30
Reports on selected readings 15
How-to Guide 15
Quizzes 30
Discussion participation 10

IRLS 532 students:

Search exercises (3 @ 15 points each) 45
How-to Guide 15
Short issue paper 15
Quiz 10
Discussion participation 15


Course Grading: 

 The instructor uses a point system and all students begin with 100 points. At the end of the semester, the course grade is based on the number of points the student has:

A 100-90 points

B 89-90 points

C 79-70 points

D 69-60

E below 60 

Course Policies: 

Academic Code of Integrity

Students are expected to abide by The University of Arizona Code of Academic Integrity. 'The guiding principle of academic integrity is that a student's submitted work must be the student's own.' If you have any questions regarding what is acceptable practice under this Code, please ask an Instructor. 

Accommodating Disabilities

The University has a Disability Resource Center. If you anticipate the need for reasonable accommodations to meet the requirements of this course, you must register with the Disability Resource Center and request that the DRC send me, the Instructor, official notification of your accommodation needs as soon as possible. Please plan to meet with me by appointment or during office hours to discuss accommodations and how my course requirements and activities may impact your ability to fully participate.

Assignment Policies

The instructor does not accept late assignments except in extreme documented emergencies. Assignments must be submitted to the course drop box and not via email. Full assignment descriptions including due dates will be available in the course space.


The instructor does not grant Incompletes except in extreme documented emergencies.

The current Catalog reads:

The grade of I may be awarded only at the end of the term, when all but a minor portion of the course work has been satisfactorily completed. The grade of I is not to be awarded in place of a failing grade or when the student is expected to repeat the course; in such a case, a grade other than I must be assigned. Students should make arrangements with the instructor to receive an incomplete grad before the end of the term...

If the incomplete is not removed by the instructor within one year the I grade will revert to a failing grade.

Threatening Behavior is Prohibited (Full policy available at ) 
"Threatening behavior" means any statement, communication, conduct or gesture, including those in written form, directed toward any member of the University Community that causes a reasonable apprehension of physical harm to a person or property. A student can be quilty of threatening behavior even if the person who is the object of the threat does not observe or receive it, so long as a reasonable person would interpret the maker's statement, communication, conduct or gesture as a serious expression of intent t physically harm. 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences