L524: Information Sources and Services
School of Library and Information Science
Indiana University - Bloomington
Last updated: April 05, 2005
This course focuses on understanding users' information needs and seeking behaviors and on meeting those needs through provision of information. The course introduces the philosophy, principles, and practice of reference services (broadly defined) and provides practical experience in evaluating and using a variety of information sources. The course also provides practical experience in assessing, designing, and developing a variety of information services. The lab segment of the course is entirely devoted to learning the fundamentals of electronic database searching. Students who wish to become reference librarians in academic or special libraries are highly encouraged to take L570 (Online Information Retrieval) afterwards.
By the end of the course, students should have:
- An understanding of the various roles of reference information professionals in different environments.
- An appreciation of the interpersonal and communication skills needed to carry out effective reference transactions and work.
- The ability to proficiently analyze reference inquiries in order to assess clients' information needs.
- An understanding of the nature, characteristics, and functions of major types of reference sources.
- Experience with the most important and most widely used reference materials and the ability to use them to specific reference inquiries.
- The ability to formulate search strategies that will effectively and efficiently identify and locate relevant information.
- The ability to evaluate and select reference and other information sources and tools that best fit the needs of clients.
- An understanding of the basic principles and practices involved in bibliographic instruction.
- The ability to prepare research guides.
- An awareness of current and emerging trends in reference sources and services.
The objectives of the course will be achieved through lectures, readings, in-class discussions and activities, examination and use of key reference tools and sources, take-home assignments, lab assignments involving electronic database searching, and a term project (electronic pathfinder).
Written assignments will be made throughout the semester to familiarize you with sources, search methodologies, and the theory and philosophy of reference services. All assignments will be graded and discussed before and after they are completed. LATE assignments will lose one letter grade from the grade they would have gotten had they been turned in on time. In case an absence is inevitable on a day an assignment is due, please e-mail it to the instructor to avoid the penalty. An "Incomplete" will be given to students who fail to submit their final projects before the end of the semester. Unless otherwise stated below and on individual assignment sheets, all students are to work individually and follow IU's honor code. The assignments for the course include:
- Five take-home print/electronic reference sources exercises
These include questions relating to: bibliographic sources, indexes & abstracts, encyclopedias, biographical sources, geographical sources, ready reference, dictionaries, and government information. While students may work independently, it is highly recommended that you find a partner to work on these exercises. This will cut your workload and provide valuable discussion as you work through the exercises. Teams are self-selecting. You should go over the relevant class handouts and readings before tackling these exercises.
- Five in-class electronic reference sources exercises
Throughout the semester, you will be introduced to a wide variety of online databases and information systems, all by means of exercises and in-class demos and discussion. These exercises will be done during class time in the Computer Lab in LI002. Group work is highly encouraged.
- One reference observation/interview assignment
As part of this assignment, you will visit a library of your choice (academic, public, special, or school) to observe the reference librarian(s) there and ask for materials about your pathfinder topic (see below). After your observation of, and interaction with, the librarian(s) is over, you will answer a set of questions in an essay form and come to class ready to talk about your experience. Further instructions are provided on the assignment sheet.
- One term project: pathfinder
A pathfinder is a bibliographic guide that introduces clients to the literature of a specific subject area or topic. Its arrangement and content reflect the most common questions in a literature search and the beginning stages of a research project. A pathfinder is not an exhaustive annotated bibliography. Instead, it provides a carefully selected list of various types of important resources, both reference and non-reference. Pathfinders are typically short in length, depending on the intended audience and the resources available. The pathfinder you prepare for this course should not exceed eight pages and must be mounted on the web. Your pathfinder should only include resources available in one library or library system. Further instructions are provided on the assignment sheet. Click HERE for a sample of pathfinders from previous semesters.
- Readings, class participation, and attendance
Reading assignments are due on the dates listed in the schedule below. Completing the reading assignments by the dates indicated should enhance your understanding of the lecture topic(s) and allow you to participate more fully in class discussions and do well in the course as a whole. Specific questions are included in the lecture notes to focus your readings for most classes. Keep these in mind as you complete the readings. We will use some of these questions as the basis for class discussion. You are expected to participate in class discussion. Failure to do so will result in you losing much of the 15 points assigned to attendance and participation.
Please note that all assignments and lecture notes can be accessed online through ERes (password will be provided in class). Also note that this reference course demands a HEAVY commitment of your time. It is expected that you will spend an average total of eight hours each week on readings and assignments. Much of this time will be spent in campus libraries.
Please do not ask reference librarians to do your work for you. While such assistance may shorten assignment time, it will not help you increase your learning of sources nor of the search process as more diligent effort will. If, however, you cannot find something on the shelf where it is supposed to be, do not hesitate to ask someone where it is.
BASIS FOR GRADING
Semester grades will be determined by attendance, the level of participation in class discussion and activities, grades on projects, and the quality of written assignments.
- Take-home print-electronic sources exercises 20% (4 pts. each)
- Computer lab electronic sources exercises 20% (4 pts. each)
- Reference observation/interview assignment 10%
- Web-based pathfinder (including four reports) 35%
- Attendance and participation 15% (Points will be deducted for each unexcused absence)
Attendance in each class session is expected. It is unlikely that you will do well in the course if you miss any sessions. If you must miss a class, please make arrangements with one of your classmates concerning note taking. The following regulations on attendance are adopted in this course:
Grades will be assigned on an A, B, C bases. In general, the following grading framework will apply. For more details, see SLIS's Definitions of Letter Grades:
- A Outstanding work or performance. Numerically, A = 95
- A- Excellent work. Numerically, A- = 92.5
- B+ Very good. Numerically, B+ = 90
- B Good. Numerically, B = 85
- B- Marginal/Passing. Numerically, B- = 80
- C Poor. Numerically, C = 75.
- F Below graduate-level work. Numerically, F = 60.
Textbook (BUY A USED COPY IF POSSIBLE):
- Bopp, R.E. & Smith, L.C. (2001). Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. A copy will be available on Reserve in SLIS Library.
Other Required Materials
- Altschiller, D.; & Wenzel, S.G. (2003). "Finding Book Reviews in Print and Online." Reference & User Services Quarterly 42(3), 193-205.
- Antell, K. (2004). "Why Do College Students Use Public Libraries?" Reference & User Services Quarterly 43(3), 227-236.
- Auster, E.; & Chan, D.C. (2004). "Reference Librarians and Keeping Up-to-Date: A Question of Priorities" Reference & User Services Quarterly 44(1), 57-66.
- Blessinger, K.D. (2002). "Problem Patrons: All Shapes and Sizes." The Reference Librarian, (75/76), 3-10.
- Coffman, S.; & Arret, L. (2004). "To Chat Not to Chat: Taking Yet Another Look at Virtual Reference." The Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals 12(8), 49-56.
- Courtney, N. (2003). "Unaffiliated Users' Access to Academic Libraries: A Survey." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 29(1), 3-7.
- Davis, C.L.; & Moran, B.M. (2005). "Preparing Tomorrow's Professionals: LIS Schools and Scholarly Communication." College & Research Libraries News 66(1), 24-27.
- Desai, C.M. (2003). "Instant Messaging Reference: How Does It Compare?" The Electronic Library, 21(1), 21-30.
- Dewdney, P.; & Michell, G.B. (1996). "Oranges and Peaches: Understanding Communication Accidents in the Reference Interview." RQ 35(4), 520-536.
- Dewdney, P.; & Ross, C.S. (1994). "Flying a Light Aircraft: Reference Service Evaluation from a User's Viewpoint." RQ 34(2), 217-230.
- Dilevko, J; & Gottlieb, L. (2002). "Print Sources in an Electronic Age: A Vital Part of the Research Process for Undergraduate Students." The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 28(6), 381-392.
- Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. DCMI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). 1995-2004. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- Franco, A. (2003). "Gateways to the Internet: Finding Quality Information on the Internet." Library Trends 52(2), 228-246.
- Furrie, Betty, in conjunction with the Data Base Development Department of The Follett Software Company. (2003). What Is a MARC Record, and Why Is It Important? Parts I-VI of Understanding MARC Bibliographic: Machine-Readable Cataloging. Seventh edition reviewed and edited by the Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- Hughes-Hassell, S.; & Miller, E.T. (2003). "Public Library Websites for Young Adults: Meeting the Needs of Today’s Teens Online." Library & Information Science Research 25(2), 143-156.
- MacDonald, C. (2002). "Encyclopedias: SLJ's 2002 Ratings." School Library Journal 48(11), 58-68.
- Mann, T. (2003). "Why LC Subject Headings Are More Important Than Ever." American Libraries 34(9), 52-54.
- McDermott, I.E. (2004). "Search Inside the Book: A New Reference Tool?." The Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals 12(3), 41-44.
- McQuade, Molly. (May 2003). "Defining a Dictionary." Booklist, 1688.
- Mitchell, S. (2003). "Where in the World? An Online Guide to Gazetteers, Atlases and Other Map Resources." Internet Reference Services Quarterly 8(1-2), 183-194.
- Moyo, L.M. (2004). "Electronic Libraries and the Emergence of New Service Paradigms." The Electronic Library 22(3), 220-230.
- Natowitz, A.; & Carlo, P.W. (1997). "Evaluating Review Content for Book Selection: An Analysis of American History Reviews in Choice, American Historical Review, and Journal of American History." College & Research Libraries 58(4), 323-336.
- Ojala, M. (1998). "Beginning All Over Again: Where to Start a Search." Online 22(3), 44-46.
- Quint, B. (1991a). "Inside a Searcher's Mind: The Seven Stages of an Online Search (Part 1)." Online 15(3), 13-18.
- Quint, B. (1991b). "Inside a Searcher's Mind: The Seven Stages of an Online Search (Part 2)." Online 15(4), 28-35.
- Reeb, B.; & Gibbons, S. "Students, Librarians, and Subject Guides: improving a Poor Rate of Return." Portal: Libraries and the Academy 4. no. 1 (2004): 123-130.
- Rettig, J.; & LaGuardia, C. (1999). "Beyond "Beyond Cool": Reviewing Web Resources." Online 23(4), 51-55.
- Richardson, J.V. (2002). "Reference Is Better Than We Thought." Library Journal 127(7), 41-42.
- Ross, C.S.; & Dewdney, P. (1998). "Negative Closure: Strategies and Counter-Strategies in the Reference Transaction." Reference & User Services Quarterly 38(2), 151-163.
- Ross, C.S.; & Nilsen, K. (2000). "Has the Internet Changed Anything in Reference? The Library Visit Study, Phase 2." Reference & User Services Quarterly 40(2), 147-155.
- RUSA (Reference and User Services Association). (2001). "Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography." Reference & User Services Quarterly 41(2), 115-117.
- RUSA (Reference and User Services Association). (2003). "Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians." Reference & User Services Quarterly 42(4), 290-295.
- RUSA (Reference and User Services Association). (2004a). "Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services." Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44(1), 9-13.
- RUSA (Reference and User Services Association). (2004b). "Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers." Reference & User Services Quarterly 44(1), 14-17.
- Saunders, E.S. (2003). "The Effect of Bibliographic Instruction on the Demand for Reference Services." Portal: Libraries and the Academy 3(1), 35-39.
- Saunders, L. (2002). "Teaching the Library: Best Practices." Library Philosophy and Practice 4(2), 8 pages.
- Sherman, C.; & Price, G. (2003). "The Invisible Web: Uncovering Sources Search Engines Can't See." Library Trends 52(2), 282-298.
- Stacy-Bates, K. (2003). "E-mail Reference Responses from Academic ARL libraries." Reference & User Services Quarterly 43(1), 59-70.
- Tenopir, C. (2000). "Are You a Super Searcher?" Library Journal 125(4), 36, 38.
- Tinerella, V.P.; & Dick, M.A. (2005). "Academic Reference Service for the Visually Impaired: A Guide for the Non-Specialist." College & Research Libraries News 66(1), 29-32.
- U.S. General Services Administration and U.S. Department of Justice. Your Right To Federal Records: Questions
and Answers on the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- U.S. Government Printing Office. About GPO Access. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- U.S. Government Printing Office. About the FDLP. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- U.S. Government Printing Office. An Explanation of the Superintendent of Documents Classification System. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- U.S. Government Printing Office. GPO Fact Sheet. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- Ward, D. (2004). "Why Users Choose Chat: A Survey of Behavior and Motivations." Internet Reference Services Quarterly 10(1), 29-46.
- Zanin-Yost, A. (2004). "Digital Reference: What the Past Has Taught Us and What the Future Will Hold." Library Philosophy and Practice 7(1), 16 pages.
- Zumlat, J.R.; Smith, R.A.; & Song, Y. (2003). "Cost-of-Living Calculators on the Web." Reference & User Services Quarterly 43(2), 155-164.
- Bates, M.E. (1998). "The Newly Minted MLS: What Do We Need to Know Today?" The Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals 6, no. 5 (May 1998): 30-33.
- Dervin, B.; & Dewdney, P. (1986). "Question-Negotiation and Information-Seeking in Libraries." RQ 25, 506-513.
- Kuhlthau, C.C. (1991). "Inside the Search Process: Information Seeking from the User's Perspective." Journal of tyhe American Society for Information Science, 42, 361-371.
- Library of Congress. National Serials Data Program. ISSN is for Serials. See also FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the ISSN. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- O'Leary, M. (2003). "Book Review Digest Plus Battles Amazon for Title." Online 27(4), 49-51.
- R.R. Bowker. (2004). Frequently Asked Questions About the ISBN. See also: Related Resources. [Last accessed: 11/11/2004]
- Rettig, J. (1987). "Every Reference Librarian a Reviewer." RQ 26(4), 467-476.
- Taylor, Robert S. (1968). "Question-Negotiation and Information Seeking in Libraries." College & Research Libraries, 178-194.
- Tyckoson, D.A. (1999). "What's Right with Reference: The Failures and Successes of Reference Reform." American Libraries 27(6), 473-480.
Journals to Browse
In addition to the required readings for each class, I encourage you to make a habit of browsing recent issues of the following journals (all are available online through the University's online catalog):
- Library Journal
- College and Research Libraries
- Information Today
- Reference and User Services Quarterly
- Reference Services Review
- Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals
Class Topic & Assignments
Lab Topic & Assignments
||Course overview and introductions; Reference and information access professionals
||Auster & Chan; Davis & Moran; Guide to Library Research; RUSA (2003)
||Reference & information access services; Current issues and trends; Information-seeking and user behavior
||Antell; Blessinger; Bopp & Smith, ch. 1,7; Courtney; Dilevko & Gottlieb; Reeb
||- Pathfinder topic
||Question analysis, question negotiation, and the reference interview
||Bopp & Smith, ch. 3; Dewdney & Michell; Ross & Dewdney; Ross & Nilsen
||- Ref. Interview Ex.
||Bibliographic control, organization of info., & search strategies
|| Bopp & Smith, ch. 4 & 5; Dublin Core; Furrie; Mann; Ojala
||- Path. Rept. I
||Selection and evaluation of reference materials
||Book reviews, Books in Print, & Web resources
||Altschiller & Wenzel; Bopp & Smith, ch. 13; Natowitz & Carlo; Rettig & LaGuardia
||- Online Cat. Ex.
||Bibliographic sources and search strategies
||WorldCat, Ulrich's, & Digital Dissertations
|| Bopp & Smith, ch. 20; McDermott; RUSA (2001); Tenopir (2000)
||- Path. Rept. II
- Bk Rev & BIP Ex.
||Indexes and abstracts
||Library & Information Science databases
|| Bopp & Smith, ch. 21; Quint (1991a, 1991b)
||- Bibl. Sources Ex.
- WorldCat Ex.
||Encyclopedias and Biographical sources
|| Bopp & Smith, ch. 16 & 18; MacDonald
||- Indexes/Abstr. Ex.
- LIS DBs Ex.
||Ready Reference, Geographical sources, and Dictionaries
||Bopp & Smith, ch. 15, 17, & 19; McQuade; Mitchell; Zumlat, Smith, & Song
||- Encyclopedia Ex.
- Databases Ex.
||S p r i n g R e c e s s - No C l a s s e s
||Government, Business, and Statistical sources
||Bopp & Smith, ch. 22; US GSA; US GPO
||- Ready Ref. Ex.
- Path. Rept. III
||Information ethics; Evaluation of reference services; Reference services for specific populations
||Bopp & Smith, ch. 2 & 12; Dewdney & Ross; Richardson; RUSA (2004b); Tinerella & Dick
||- Gov't Sources
||Information literacy and bibliographic instruction
||Bopp & Smith, ch. 8; E. Saunders; L. Saunders
||Virtual reference services and evaluation
||Coffman; Desai; Moyo; RUSA (2004a); Stacy-Bates; Ward
||Issues in digital reference
||Franco; Hughes-Hassell & Miller; Sherman; Zanin-Yost
||Discussion of final project; Future of reference
||- Pathfinder Project