Cover image for Developing reference collections and services in an electronic age : a how-to-do-it manual for librarians
Developing reference collections and services in an electronic age : a how-to-do-it manual for librarians
Cassell, Kay Ann.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 138 pages : forms ; 28 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z711.45 .C37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
Z711.45 .C37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction E-Branch

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A survival guide for professionals working in, planning, or managing reference services in libraries. Discusses changing roles and new relationships with paraprofessionals and techies, and discusses new resources, time and space considerations, reference questions on the Web, and new services such

Author Notes

Elizabeth Thomsen is the member services manager for NOBLE, the North of Boston Library Exchange

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Thomsen, the member service manager for NOBLE, North of Boston Library Exchange, has written a good, concise introduction to reference librarianship in an era of increasing use of electronic sources. Like her Reference and Collection Development on the Internet (Professional Media, LJ 8/96), this straightforward book is suited for a lay audience, and any administrator hoping to train a paraprofessional to work at the reference desk would do well to use it for its explanation of the reference interview, descriptions of the variety of typical reference questions, and excellent summary of the tension between how reference librarians view the Internet and patron expectations. However, there is little here that is new or helpful for a practicing librarian. Thomsen's coverage of the web is insufficient; she shortchanges the diversity of information available and gives far too few examples of excellent library homepages. The "strategies for success" at the end of each chapter are too general to be of practical help, and in only one chapter does Thomsen include "sources of information" to guide the reader in further exploration. Recommended for public libraries with paraprofessionals staffing the reference desk.--Jennifer Haven, Amesbury P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Chapter 1 Reference: The Nature of the Businessp. 1
In the Beginning: 1875-1900p. 1
A Century Later: 1975-2000p. 6
The Economics of the Industrial Age and the Information Agep. 8
Disintermediationp. 11
New Challengesp. 12
Libraries or Computer Centers?p. 14
Reference Service: Traditional and Proactivep. 17
Chapter 2 The Changing Role of the Reference Librarianp. 23
Characteristics of Reference Librariansp. 25
Nonjudgmental Desire to Help Othersp. 25
Curiosityp. 26
Ability to Shift Focusp. 26
General Knowledgep. 26
Good Memoryp. 27
Excellent Communication Skillsp. 28
Patiencep. 28
Joy of the Huntp. 29
Creativityp. 29
Reference Librarians and Other Staff Membersp. 30
Current Awarenessp. 31
Managing Changep. 37
Changed Relationshipsp. 38
New Relationshipsp. 41
Paraprofessionalsp. 41
Librarians versus Techiesp. 44
Four Strategies for Successp. 46
Chapter 3 Communication Skillsp. 49
What's the Question? The Reference Interviewp. 53
The Best Approachp. 54
Understanding the Goal of the Questionp. 55
Starting the Searchp. 56
Serving Multilingual Patronsp. 57
Multilingual Electronic Resourcesp. 61
Translation Aidsp. 68
Other Language Issuesp. 70
Communication Challengesp. 70
Mainstreamingp. 73
Four Strategies for Successp. 75
Chapter 4 Resourcesp. 77
A Brief History of the Reference Collectionp. 77
Reference Booksp. 81
Ready Reference Collectionsp. 85
Accuracy and Biasp. 87
Creating Our Own Reference Resourcesp. 90
Format versus Contentp. 92
Full-Text Periodicals Databasesp. 94
Books in Printp. 98
Outside Competitionp. 99
Unpublished Sourcesp. 102
Evaluation of Web Resourcesp. 104
Five Strategies for Successp. 108
Chapter 5 Time and Spacep. 111
The Reference Areap. 113
The Reference Deskp. 115
Height of the Reference Deskp. 116
Beyond the Deskp. 119
Roving Referencep. 120
Technical Assistancep. 122
Other Reference Servicesp. 122
Research Consultationp. 122
Bibliographic Instructionp. 126
Staffingp. 127
On-Desk/Off-Desk Timep. 127
When Does Reference Happen?p. 129
Extended Servicesp. 131
Remote Access for Patronsp. 132
Distance Educationp. 133
Four Strategies for Successp. 134
Chapter 6 Questions, in and Outp. 137
Types of Questionsp. 138
Questions with Answersp. 138
Information Requestsp. 141
Pointersp. 141
Trickstersp. 142
Problematic Questionsp. 143
Criss-Crossp. 143
Trivia Contestsp. 145
Homework Questionsp. 149
Reference Policyp. 150
Intake Methodsp. 151
Walk-Upp. 151
Telephone Referencep. 153
Offline Methodsp. 155
Question-and-Answer Servicesp. 156
Ask the Expertp. 157
Virtual Reference Deskp. 159
Ask Jeevesp. 161
Library Reference Questions on the World Wide Webp. 164
Falmouth Public Libraryp. 165
Chicago Public Libraryp. 166
Internet Public Libraryp. 167
Four Strategies for Successp. 168
Chapter 7 Reference Librarians as Trainers and Pathfindersp. 171
Trainingp. 171
Bibliographic Instructionp. 173
The Art of Trainingp. 175
Learning Stylesp. 175
Ambiencep. 178
Beyond Leaning Stylesp. 179
Training Techniquesp. 181
Keep It Realp. 181
Avoid Demo-itisp. 185
Handouts, Follow-Up, and Evaluationp. 185
Flowp. 186
Pathfindersp. 187
From Paper to the Webp. 188
Class Project Pathfindersp. 191
Beyond Librariesp. 193
Special Projectsp. 195
Partnershipsp. 198
Five Strategies for Successp. 201
Chapter 8 Statistics Can Help Ensure Qualityp. 203
Countingp. 204
Fewer Questions, Better Servicep. 207
New Statisticsp. 209
Accuracyp. 211
Room for Improvementp. 216
Focus Groupsp. 220
Five Strategies for Successp. 221
Chapter 9 World Wide Web: Challenges and Opportunitiesp. 225
Public Workstationsp. 229
Soundp. 230
Software Changesp. 235
Printingp. 237
Confidentiality: New Concernsp. 238
Problems for Shared Workstationsp. 239
Sources of Informationp. 241
Acceptable Usep. 242
Filtering Softwarep. 243
Policiesp. 244
Beyond Referencep. 245
Chat and E-mailp. 245
Personalized Information Servicesp. 249
Reference and Library Web Pagesp. 251
Special Collectionsp. 253
The World Wide Web, Today and Beyondp. 260
Looking Ahead: Five Trends that Will Affect Reference Servicesp. 261
Appendix A Sample Reference Policyp. 267
Appendix B Sample Survey Formp. 279
Sources Citedp. 283
Indexp. 285
About the Authorp. 291