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Course Materials: Syllabus

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S681: The Book: 1450 to the present
Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis
SOIC - Department of Library and Information Science

Instructor Information

Name - Annette Lamb, Ph.D.
Address - PO Box 206 Teasdale UT 84773 (I often travel during the semester)
Email -
Phone - Email Dr. Lamb for her number if you'd like to have a phone conversation
Personal Page -


From book smuggling and censorship to scandalous content and astonishing illustrations, the history of the book is filled with adventure and intrigue. When you look at a book, you may see a cover and bound pages. However a book is ultimately the story of people. From the author, illustrator, typesetter, and printer to the publisher, bookseller, and reader, a book is much more than a physical object. It's an artifact that reflects a connection to people, places, periods, and society. We’ll look at the past, but also at the present and future including the role of eBooks in a changing book market.

Course Description

This three-credit graduate course provides a survey of the book from 1450 to the present, with emphasis on the development of the book in the West. It focuses on the physical aspects of the book from the mid-fifteenth through the twentieth centuries, and on some of the many roles of the book in society during this period. It also increases awareness of current scholarly trends in the history of the book.

Topics include 1) a review theoretical models and scholarly trends in the fields of book history, 2) an examination key scholarship in the field, 3) a survey of the processes of print creation, production, dissemination, and reception in the larger social, economic, and political context, and 4) considerations for how the history of the book as a material object and as an agent of intellectual and social change helps us understand the digital revolution.

While it's impossible to explore the wide range of associated disciplines in detail, this course will provide a broad overview with many opportunities to explore areas of personal and professional interest.

This course will expand your thinking about the essential role of the book in history. It will be taught entirely online including web-based readings and resources, threaded discussions, plus online presentations and activities.

Choices allow graduate students with varied backgrounds and interests to select activities that meet their professional needs. Each student will have the opportunity to examine a personal or professional area of interest within book history.

Course Assumptions

The following entry skills are required for this course:

This course makes the assumption that you are able to work independently. There are no required face-to-face meetings. There are no required synchronous online meetings. However, feel free to e-mail or arrange a chat with your instructor at any time.

Course Objectives

The students will be able to:

The instructor will:

MLS Program, Graduate Program and ALA Competency Connections

This course addresses competencies related to the MLS program in the following areas:

This course is connected to the Principles of Graduate and Professional Learning in the following areas:

This course addresses a number of ALA competencies. According to ALA (2009), a person graduating from an ALA-accredited master’s program in library and information studies should know and, where appropriate, be able to employ:

Course Materials

The course content will be accessed through a series of web pages. In addition to readings and presentation materials, the pages also contain reflective questions and individual exercises to reinforce key concepts.

Required Online Course Materials

The course materials will be available at

Syllabus -
The Requirements -
The Course Readings -
The Course Guide -
The Course Resources -
Canvas Sharing Area -

Johns, Adrian (1998). The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making. University of Chicago Press. IUPUI students can view the book online.

Optional Books

Carter, John & Barker, Nicolas (2004). ABC for Book Collectors, 8th Edition. Oak Knoll Press and the British Library. - The terminology connected with books can be overwhelming. A familiarity with book terms is important in understanding both book history and librarianship. It's available as a FREE download at .

Cave, Roderick & Ayad, Sara (2014). The History of the Book in 100 Books: The Complete Story, From Egypt to e-book. Firefly Books.

Finkelstein, David & McCleery, Alistair (2006). An Introduction to Book History, 2nd Edition. Routledge. Preview Available: - We'll be reading many of the key articles from this book online. However, if you'd like a print copy that includes some of the landmarks articles, consider purchasing this book.

Levy, Michelle & Mole, Tom (eds.) (2015). The Broadview Reader in Book History. Broadview Press. - This is the latest book on the topic of book history. We're already reading some of the articles in this book, but you might find others of interest.

Lommen, Mathieu (ed.) (2012). The Book of Books: 500 Years of Graphic Innovation. Thames & Hudson. - This is an expensive book, but it's beautiful. If you're interested in the visual aspects of book history, this book is a wonderful choice. Put it on our personal Christmas list.

Suarez, Michael F. & Woudhuysen, H.R. (eds.) (2013). The Book: A Global History. Oxford University Press.

Course Assignments and Assessments

The learning objectives will be assessed through a series of activities and a final project. Course assignments are intended to help students apply the course materials.

The course requirements will be addressed within the online guide.

In typography, the "apex" is the point of a character where two lines meet at the topic. Think of it as the "high point" of a letter. In our class, we'll use Apex Assignments as a way for you to think about the key points related to The History of the Book.

Each Apex Assignment is shared in the Discussion area of Canvas and requires both a posting and reply requirement. Students choose one assignment from a number of options.

The course contains seven Apex Assignments worth 10 points each and a Final Project worth 30 points.

Each assignment contains detailed criteria. If you meet the criteria you will get the points.

For an overview of the requirements, go to Course Requirements at

For a description of the assignments, go to the Course Guide at

For a nice checklist of the course activities, check out Course Checklist at

Course Grades

The points awarded for each activity are indicated on the Course Requirements. High expectations have been set for this course. Please notice that outstanding achievement will require careful attention to course criteria and exceptional quality in course assignments.

Final grades are based on the following range within the total 100 points possible:

A 98-100
A- 95-97
B+ 92-94
B 89-91
B- 86-88
C 80-85
D 75-79
F below 74

The meaning of the letter grades follows the SLIS Grading Policy:
A: Outstanding achievement. Student performance demonstrates full command of the course materials and evinces a high level of originality and/or creativity that far surpasses course expectations. The grade of A+ is not granted in SLIS, except in very exceptional cases.
A-: Excellent achievement. Student performance demonstrates thorough knowledge of the course materials and exceeds course expectations by completing all requirements in a superior manner.
B+: Very good work. Student performance demonstrates above-average comprehension of the course materials and exceeds course expectations on all tasks defined in the course syllabus.
B: Good work. Student performance meets designated course expectations, demonstrates understanding of the course materials, and has performed at an acceptable level.
B-: Marginal work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete understanding of course materials.
C+, C, C-: Unsatisfactory work and inadequate understanding of course materials.
D+, D, D-: Unacceptable work; course work completed at this level will not count toward the MLS degree.
F: Failing. May result in an overall grade point average below 3.0 and possible removal from the program.

Late and Incomplete Work

Students may request an assignment extension due to personal or professional emergencies. These requests must be made prior to the due date. Extensions beyond a couple days will result in lose of points.
A final grade of "I" or "Incomplete" will NOT be given except in extreme situations. Please let me know if you're having difficulty completing the requirements of this course.

IUPUI Mission Statement

The Mission of IUPUI is to provide for its constituents excellence in

With each of these core activities characterized by

IUPUI’s mission is derived from and aligned with the principal components—Communities of Learning, Responsibilities of Excellence, Accountability and Best Practices—of Indiana University’s Strategic Directions Charter.

IUPUI Values Statement

IUPUI values the commitment of students to learning; of faculty to the highest standards of teaching, scholarship, and service; and of staff to the highest standards of service.  IUPUI recognizes students as partners in learning. IUPUI values the opportunities afforded by its location in Indiana’s capital city and is committed to serving the needs of its community.  Thus, IUPUI students, faculty, and staff are involved in the community, both to provide educational programs and patient care and to apply learning to community needs through service. As a leader in fostering collaborative relationships, IUPUI values collegiality, cooperation, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship as well as honesty, integrity, and support for open inquiry and dissemination of findings. IUPUI is committed to the personal and professional development of its students, faculty, and staff and to continuous improvement of its programs and services.

Student Academic Conduct

There is extensive documentation and discussion of the issue of academic honesty in the IUPUI Student Code of Conduct.

All students should aspire to the highest standards of academic integrity. Using another student’s work on an assignment, cheating on a test, not quoting or citing references correctly, or any other form of dishonesty or plagiarism shall result in a grade of zero on the item and possibly an F in the course. Incidences of academic misconduct shall be referred to the Department Chair and repeated violations shall result in dismissal from the program.

All students are responsible for reading, understanding, and applying the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct and in particular the section on academic misconduct. Refer to The Code > Responsibilities > Academic Misconduct at All students must also successfully complete the Indiana University Department of Education “How to Recognize Plagiarism” Tutorial and Test. You must document the difference between your writing and that of others. Use quotation marks in addition to a citation, page number, and reference whenever writing someone else’s words (e.g., following the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association). To detect plagiarism instructors apply a range of methods, including

Academic Misconduct:

Beginning Fall 2014, all students are required to complete the plagiarism tutorial during s401.

Student Accommodations for Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.

Students needing accommodations because of disability must register with Adaptive Educational Services and complete the appropriate form before accommodations will be given. The AES office is located in Taylor Hall Room 127, 815 W Michigan St Indianapolis, IN 46202 and may be reached by phone 317/274-3241 or 317/278-2052 TTD/TTY; by fax 317/274-2051; or by email  
For more information, go to

Disability Accommodations:  Students with learning disabilities for which accommodations are desired should contact the Adaptive Educational Services office on campus, and inform the instructor as soon as possible. Go to 

Administrative Withdrawal

A basic requirement of this course is that students participate in all class discussions and conscientiously complete all required course activities and/or assignments. If a student is unable to attend, participate in, or complete an assignment on time, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor. If a student misses more than half of the required activities within the first 25% of the course without contacting the instructor, the student may be administratively withdrawn from this course. Administrative withdrawal may have academic, financial, and financial aid implications. Administrative withdrawal will take place after the full refund period, and a student who has been administratively withdrawn from a course is ineligible for a tuition refund. Contact the instructor with questions concerning administrative withdrawal.

Course Evaluation Policy

Course evaluations provide vital information for improving the quality of courses and programs. Students are required to complete one course and instructor evaluation for each section in which they are enrolled at the School of Informatics and Computing. This requirement has three exceptions: (a) The student has withdrawn from the course; (b) only one student is enrolled in the section (in which case anonymity is impossible); and (c) the section is a laboratory that must be taken with a course having a different section number. Course evaluations are completed at Course evaluations are open from the eleventh week. Course evaluations are anonymous, which means that no one can view the name of the student completing the evaluation. In addition, no one can view the evaluation itself until after the instructor has submitted the final grades for the course. In small sections, demographic information should be left blank, if it could be used to identify the student. A course evaluation must close before the grade for that course can be released. To ensure students have had ample opportunity to complete the evaluation, an uncompleted course evaluation could delay the release of the grade for up to a week.

Course Communication

Indiana University uses your IU email account as an official means of communication, and students should check it daily for pertinent information. Although you may have your IU email forwarded to an outside email account, please email faculty and staff from your IU email account.

Be sure to set your Canvas notification so that you receive Course Announcements through your email account.



For a list of course resources, go to the Resources page.

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