LIBR 530 (3) Subject-Based Information Services


MAS students: Completion of the MAS Core courses, plus permission of the instructor.

MLIS and Dual students: Some electives can be taken in conjunction with the MLIS Core courses; consult with the MLIS Program Chair for recommendations.

GOAL: To critically understand the information seeking behaviours and research practices within broad academic subject disciplines and apply this knowledge to the design and provision of subject-based information services for colleges and universities.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Critically understand the current trends and issues pertaining to subject-based reference and information services in academic information settings [1.1, 1.4]*
  • Characterize the information needs and information seeking behaviour within broad academic subject disciplines [1.1, 4.1]*
  • Critically reflect on the structure of a variety of academic subject literatures [1.4]*
  • Identify and make use of the major print and electronic information sources for subject fields in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences [1.3]*
  • Apply user centred-design principles in the creation of a multimedia information service [1.1, 1.3, 2.2, 4.1, 4.2]*
  • Research and write a persuasive information service proposal [2.1, 5.2]*
  • Perform a distinct role in a collaborative team-based project [1.3, 3.1]*

 * Course objectives are stated in terms of student learning outcomes and reference the iSchool Statement on Graduate Competencies.


  • Theoretical perspectives on subject-based services: domain analysis, genre theory, disciplinary epistemologies
  • Information seeking behaviour and patterns of scholarly communication;
  • Major information genres and sources in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences;
  • Search strategies for various subject areas;
  • Service delivery options for academic information services;
  • User-centred design of face-to-face and digital information services; use of personas
  • Implications of emerging trends in technology and higher education on reference and information services in academic libraries.
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