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Associate Professor Graeme Johanson
Associate Professor
Phone: +61 3 990 32414
Fax: +61 3 990 31077

Contact hours: appointment by email, please

Lecturer(s) / Leader(s):


Associate Professor Graeme Johanson
Associate Professor
Phone: +61 3 990 32414
Fax: +61 3 990 31077

Additional communication information:

If a student wants an appolintment with the unit co-ordinator, please e-mail:


Any aspect of the unit or study can be discussed.


This unit focuses on the provision of reference and information services in a variety of settings, including libraries, and to the information needs and seeking behaviour of many different user groups. The process of satisfying these needs through the reference interview and the application of skilled search strategies, and the provision of online searching and instruction, is explored.

The ways that information resources are procured by libraries and related organisations through purchase or licensing, and supplied to users on a cost-effective, efficient basis are examined. The unit covers the conduct and policy of the selection, purchase, and licensing functions of libraries; the management of collections, both physical and virtual; provision of lending, document supply and photocopying services; preservation of resources; and the impact of co-operative frameworks such as reciprocal borrowing and co-operative collecting. The unit explores the emergent concept of the virtual library, through which eligible users should be able to gain access to any information whether currently in analogue or digital form, wherever held, aided by a common user interface for identifying and requesting appropriate information items.

Unit synopsis

This unit introduces students to the major categories of information resources in all media and how they are accessed through a variety of common user interfaces from anywhere in the world. The process of satisfying these needs through the reference interview and the application of skilled search strategies is explored. The ways that information resources are procured by libraries and e-repositories through purchase or licensing, and supplied to users on a cost-effective, efficient basis are examined. Access and authentication, intellectual property law and professional duty of care are described.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:
  • implement decisions about applying organisational policies for reference and collection services, justify the principles of collection management strategies, and evaluate them;
  • manage networked access for users in the case of electronic resources;
  • develop information literacy programs; and
  • select the best source of knowledge for a practical information need.

Contact hours

2 hrs lecture/wk, 1 hr seminar/wk

Unit relationships



Teaching and learning method

Teaching approach

Teaching resources provided for your study are:

  • Weekly detailed lecture notes outlining the learning objectives, discussion of the content, required readings and  exercises;
  • audio-recordings of all classes;
  • Weekly tutorial or laboratory tasks and exercises;
  • Assignment specifications and sample solutions;
  • Sample examination questions and suggested solutions;
  • Discussion groups;
  • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit;
  • The unit web site on MUSO, where resources outlined above will be made available;
  • expert guest speakers.

Timetable information

For information on timetabling for on-campus classes please refer to MUTTS, http://mutts.monash.edu.au/MUTTS/

Tutorial allocation

On-campus students should register for tutorials/laboratories using the Allocate+ system: http://allocate.its.monash.edu.au/

Off-Campus Learning or flexible delivery

Off-campus should make every effort to integrate into online discussions

Unit Schedule

Week Date* Topic Key dates
1 01/03/10 Week 1: Unit outline. First assignment. Information Literacy.  
2 08/03/10 Week 2: Nature of knowledge; basic factual sources. Overview of Reference Services.  
3 15/03/10 Week 3: Common Information Seeking Practices.  
4 22/03/10 Week 4: Information Seeking and Well-structured databases.  
5 29/03/10 Week 5: Information Seeking -- The Internet. assignment one due
Mid semester break
6 12/04/10 Week 6: The Reference Interview.  
7 19/04/10 Week 7: The reference process and end users. Evaluation of services.  
8 26/04/10 Week 8: Collection Management Principles.  
9 03/05/10 Week 9: Collection Development/Management policies.  
10 10/05/10 Week 10: Selection Principles and Tools.  
11 17/05/10 Week 11: Document Delivery and Co-operative Schemes.  
12 24/05/10 Week 12: Evaluation of collections. assignment 2 due
13 31/05/10 Week 13: Revision and Review.  

*Please note that these dates may only apply to Australian campuses of Monash University. Off-shore students need to check the dates with their unit leader.

Improvements to this unit

This unit has been evaluated annually for the past decade, and prior evaluations of the contents and delivery of the unit can be seen on the CHEQ webiste. The unit is changed regularly to satisfy the needs of academia, technology, industry and students.

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

No texts need to be purchased.

Many readings can be found at http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/resourcelists/i/fit5105.html,                                          and other readings will be suggested during the semester. Students will also be expected to use Monash University Library resources and Worldwide Web to find additional material

Other references:

Brophy, P. (2007). The Library in the Twenty-first Century. 2nd edition. London, Facet.

Clayton, P. & Gorman, G.E. (2001). Managing information resources in libraries: collection management in theory and practice. London: Library Association.                      

Evans, W. (2009). Building Library 3.0; issues in creating a culture of participation. Oxford, Chandos.

Ferguson, S. (ed) (2007). Libraries in the Twenty-first Century; Charting New Directions in Information Services. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

George, C.A. (2008). User-centred Library Websites; Usability Evaluation Methods. Oxford, Chandos.

Katz, W. (1997). Introduction to Reference Work. (7th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.     

Kennedy, J. (2002). Collection management: a concise introduction. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.                                           

OCLC (2005), Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, downloadable at: http://www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm

Recommended text(s) and readings

See the unit reading list via the Monash Libraries website.

Additional references will be provided during semester.

Equipment and consumables required or provided

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the Faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to n hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

  • Weekly detailed lecture notes outlining the learning objectives, discussion of the content, required readings and  exercises;

  • Weekly tutorial or laboratory tasks and exercises;
  • Assignment specifications and sample solutions;
  • Sample examination questions and suggested solutions;
  • Discussion groups;
  • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit;
  • The unit web site on MUSO, where resources outlined above will be made available;
  • MULO audio-recordings of all classes;
  • expert guest speakers.



Examination (3 hours): 50%; In-semester assessment: 50%

Faculty assessment policy

To pass a unit which includes an examination as part of the assessment a student must obtain:

  • 40% or more in the unit's examination, and
  • 40% or more in the unit's total non-examination assessment, and
  • an overall unit mark of 50% or more.

If a student does not achieve 40% or more in the unit examination or the unit non-examination total assessment, and the total mark for the unit is greater than 50% then a mark of no greater than 49-N will be recorded for the unit.

Assignment tasks

Assignment coversheets

Assignment coversheets are available via "Student Forms" on the Faculty website: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/
You MUST submit a completed coversheet with all assignments, ensuring that the plagiarism declaration section is signed.

Assignment submission and return procedures, and assessment criteria will be specified with each assignment.

  • Assignment task 1
    Evaluation of the impact of Google.
    Assignment one
    Due date:
    30 March 2010
  • Assignment task 2
    Two ways of collecting?
    collection development project
    Due date:
    12 May 2010
     Caulfield School of Information Technology.

    FIT5105, 3213: Information Access

    Assignment 2: Two ways of collecting?

    Worth 25%.    Length: 2,000 words.      Due: Friday 12 May 2010.


    Some commentators have criticized libraries in the past for being too focused on curating collections, for making sure that the knowledge in their collections is protected from abuse, and kept away from ‘the public’. In the past, we are told, libraries did not ensure that the knowledge in their repositories was fully exploited by as many stakeholders as possible. In contrast to the old protective approach is the attitude that knowledge should be free, accessible, all the time, at any time, to anyone, as it is in a true ‘knowledge commons’. The emphasis in this attitude is on the comfort (intellectual, learning, and physical) of the users of repositories.

    These two extreme approaches affect collection management in several ways. One of them relates to the distinction that is drawn between ‘just in case’ collecting, and ‘just in time collecting’. This is the subject for discussion in your essay.

    What are the advantages and weaknesses of the two approaches? Which of the two is better?

    The difference between them is simply stated: with ‘just in case’ collecting the library (or related repository) collects in the hope (even the off-chance) that content will be required by a future user; with ‘just in time’ collecting the library gathers the content only when it is asked for, as close as possible to the time of the request for knowledge. The same approaches can be found in many businesses which offer products and services – from car production lines to printing new books on demand.

    The two types of collecting are usually illustrated by reference to a large library (like a national library) and to a small special library. The national library is assumed to have a responsibility to care for the nation’s knowledge in perpetuity, not just for tomorrow’s fad. It must serve every citizen as comprehensively as it can. A special library usually has a special obligation to a narrow group of clients with particular interests that are not widely shared across the populace. The special library is special in the senses that it has a limited clientele and narrow content coverage. See the notes for lecture 7.

    How to do it.

    The essay must discuss as many advantages and weaknesses of the two approaches as you can identify. You need to arrive at your own conclusion about which collecting approach is better, in what circumstances, and show why, with the use of scholarly evidence. You need to show how you arrive at your conclusions. You can write a conference paper or position paper if you want to, rather than an essay. Please note the total number of your words at the end of the essay text.

    Writing an essay

    There are some good guidelines for essay writing set out at the website for Language and Learning: http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/writing/general/essay/index.xml. Please structure your own essay.

    Some readings


    You will find the basics in these texts, but you will need to find more of your own. Use any number of the suggested readings that you want to. You use at least another 5 references which you find for yourself.

    1.Disruptive Library Technology Jester (2006), ‘Just In Time Acquisitions versus Just In Case Acquisitions’, at: http://dltj.org/article/just-in-time-versus-just-in-case-acquisitions/. (Written with a tongue-in-cheek tone).

    2.Dixson Library, Sydney (2009), A Library Without Walls; Budgeting Issues, at: http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~rnichols/lwow5h.htm.

    3.Gorman, G.E. and R.H. Miller (1997), Collection management for the 21st century; a handbook for librarians. Westport, Con., Greenwood Press. Chapter 4, ‘Collection development policies and electronic information resources’.

    4.Hanka, R., Fuka, K. (2000), ‘Information overload and “just-in-time” knowledge’, The Electronic Library, 18  (4) 279 – 285.

    5.Hannan, C. (2000), ‘New millennium, even more technology – can we cope?’ in VALA proceedings 2000, at: www.vala.org.au/vala2000/2000pdf/Hannan.PDF .

    6.Harboe-Ree, C., Sabto, Treloar (2004). ‘The Library as Digitorium: New Modes of Information Creation, Distribution and Access,’ in VALA proceedings. At: www.vala.org.au/vala2004/2004pdfs/21HrSaTr.pdf.

    7.Hess, C., Ostrom eds. (2007), Understanding knowledge as a commons: from theory to practice. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

    8.Kapitzke, C., Bruce, B.C., eds. (2006), Libr@ries: changing information space and practice. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    9.Kennedy, J. (2002), Collection management, a concise introduction. Wagga Wagga, Centre for Information Studies, no. 19.

    10.Magnussen, A. (2003), ‘Creating Digital Libraries: a Model for Digital Library Development’, in Proceedings of the ALIA conference, at: conferences.alia.org.au/shllc2003/papers/008.pdf.

    11.Oppenheim, C., Smithson, D. (1999), ‘What is the hybrid library?’ in Journal of Information Science, 25 (2) 97-112.

    12.Payne, L. (2008),  ‘The Future of Library Collections; Access and Stewardship in a Networked World’, CAVAL, at: www.caval.edu.au/assets/files/members/paynecaval2008.ppt.

    13.Thomas, S. Cramond, M. Emery, P. Scott (2005), The Digital Library; Current Perspectives and Future Directions. The University of Adelaide Library, at: www.adelaide.edu.au/library/about/planning/Digital_Library_2005.pdf.

    14.Ward, S.M., Wray, T., Debus-Lopez, K.E.,  ‘Collection development based on patron requests: collaboration between interlibrary loan and acquisitions’, Library Collections, Acquisitions,& Technical Services 27 (Summer) 203–213.

    15.Working Party of the Future of Government Libraries Project, Future of government libraries (1994). Just in case or just in time?: strategies for the development and management of Western Australian government library and information services; Report and recommendations of the Working Party of the Future of Government Libraries Project (W.A.). (W.A.), [Perth, W.A.]: Library and Information Services of Western Australia. [Monash Libraries are trying to purchase this item soon].

    Guide to evaluative criteria used for marking:


    1. are all of the essay specifications addressed by the student?

    2. are the key concepts understood?

    3. are the aims in the student essay set out clearly?

    4. are the aims fulfilled, i.e., followed through?

    5. are relevant sources of knowledge used and understood?

    6. is any of the work original, special or original to the student, i.e., is it any more than just fulfilling the basic requirements?

    7. is the essay structured in a logical, understandable way?

    8. have up-to-date sources of information been used, and acknowledged fully and correctly according to the set Style Guide?

    9. is the communication succinct, relevant, and useful? Is the length, space well used? Is it comprehensive, covering all the important aspects than can be fitted in?

    10. are the findings realistic, and sustainable intellectually?

    11. is it all the student’s own work?

    12. does the student make a genuine effort to engage the marker?

    13. is the content balanced, professional, unbiased, substantiated with reliable, accurate evidence?

    14. is the student aware of the limitations of the essay, and topic?

    15. is the marker guided through the content of the essay by the student?

    Handing in the essay

    Please hand in the completed assignment in classes, to Andrew or Graeme, or leave it in my mail box at H6001, or fax it to (03) 9903 1077, or send it to MUSO, or post it to:

    Assoc Prof Graeme Johanson,

    Caulfield School of Information Technology,

    Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University.

    P.O.Box 197, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia.

    Graeme Johanson, April 2010.


  • Weighting: 50%
    Length: 3 hours
    Type (open/closed book): Closed book

    There are two assignments (each worth 25%) and a two-hour exam for FIT3123 and a three-hour examination for FIT5105 (50% weighting). The aim is to assess whether you have achieved the objectives of this unit. The first assignment will be handed in week one in class.

    Two assignments (total assessment value 50%):
    Assignment 1, Worth 25%, Evaluation of the impact of Google.
    Assignment 2, Worth  25%, Collection development project.
    The ‘closed book’ examination of 2 hours and 3 hours (assessment value 50%), will cover all aspects of the unit, including class content. The exam will be scheduled in the formal examination period following the last week of semester. Undergraduate students (FIT3123) will undertake a two-hour exam, postgraduates will have three hours of exam (FIT5105). If you are an OCL student, you will need to find a suitable venue and supervisor near your abode. Monash Examinations will help you with making this arrangement. You can opt to attend Caulfield for the exam.

    All students are required to be available for the exam and any necessary supplementary assessment procedures until the end of the assessment period. Alternative times for exams will not be approved without a medical certificate for a significant illness, or equivalent evidence.

See Appendix for End of semester special consideration / deferred exams process.

Due dates and extensions

Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are not regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Students requesting an extension for any assessment during semester (eg. Assignments, tests or presentations) are required to submit a Special Consideration application form (in-semester exam/assessment task), along with original copies of supporting documentation, directly to their lecturer within two working days before the assessment submission deadline. Lecturers will provide specific outcomes directly to students via email within 2 working days. The lecturer reserves the right to refuse late applications.

A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Refer to the Faculty Special consideration webpage or further details and to access application forms: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/equity/special-consideration.html

Late assignment

. Extensions.

If you believe that your assignment will be delayed because of circumstances beyond your control such as illness, you should apply for an extension prior to the due date. All applications for extensions must be made in writing (or e-mail) to your lecturer, and a response to your request will be communicated back to you in the same manner. No extensions are automatic. Every one will be dealt with individually. Andrew Dixon will refer requests to Graeme Johanson, the unit co-ordinator. Medical certificates or other supporting documentation will be required.

Late assignments submitted without an approved extension may be accepted up to one week late, at the discretion of your lecturer, but will be penalised at the rate of 10% of total assignment marks per day (including weekends).


Total marks available for the assignment = 100 marks.

Marks received for the assignment = 70 marks.

Marks deducted for 2 days late submission (20% of 100) = 20 marks.

Final mark received for assignment = 50 marks. 

After one week, the assignment will score zero.

Return dates

Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.


Please visit the following URL: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/units/appendix.html for further information about:

  • Continuous improvement
  • Unit evaluations
  • Communication, participation and feedback
  • Library access
  • Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)
  • Plagiarism, cheating and collusion
  • Register of counselling about plagiarism
  • Non-discriminatory language
  • Students with disability
  • End of semester special consideration / deferred exams
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