School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University - Bloomington
Tuesday, 5:45-8:30, LI 031
(This syllabus is subject to changes with appropriate notice)
Tuesday, 4:00-5:00; Thursdays, 4:00-5:00, and by appointment
This course focuses on understanding the context and resources for reference services. 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 reference document (i.e, the final pathfinder assignment). Students who wish to become reference librarians in research libraries are highly encouraged to take L570 (Online Information Retrieval) afterwards.
By the end of the course, students should have:
á An understanding of the various roles of reference information professionals in different environments.
á An appreciation of the interpersonal and communication skills needed to carry out effective reference transactions and work.
á The ability to proficiently analyze reference inquiries in order to assess clients' information needs.
á An understanding of the nature, characteristics, and functions of major types of reference sources.
á Experience with the most important and most widely used reference materials and the ability to use them to specific reference inquiries.
á The ability to formulate search strategies that will effectively and efficiently identify and locate relevant information.
á The ability to evaluate and select reference and other information sources and tools that best fit the needs of clients.
á An understanding of the basic principles and practices involved in bibliographic instruction.
á The ability to prepare research guides.
á An awareness of current and emerging trends in reference sources and services.
á 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 involving electronic database searching, and a term project (electronic pathfinder due on last day of the class).
ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING
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:
1. Eight take-home print/electronic reference sources exercises (5% each)
You should go over the relevant class handouts and readings before tackling these exercises.
2. One reference observation/interview assignment (10%)
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.
3. One virtual reference assignment (10%).
You will attempt to find materials for a research project by means of a chat session with the IU librarians or librarians at another institution. You will write a two page paper on your experiences and discuss them in the next class.
4. One term project: pathfinder (30%)
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 in length 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.
5. Class participation: (10%)
Readings, class participation, attendance, availability of lecture materials, laptops.
Reading assignments are due on the dates listed in the schedule below. You may wish, as well, to read chapters corresponding to the topics in Richard Bopp and Linda C. Smith, Reference and Information Services: An Introduction (in the bookstore as an optional purchase for the class). Much of the Bopp and Smith chapters will be covered in lecture in the class, though, and are available through the Powerpoints.
I will post the Powerpoint lecture slides online at: http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~roday/524.html These will be in downloadable format. I modify content during the semester so some of the content on the slides may not be completely identical to what is presented in class. Some classes may not have lecture slides associated with them (in that case their links will be null). Powerpoints of class sessions will be posted as available.
All required readings are on electronic reserve or are available through the Internet.
Attendance will not be taken. When you are in class, you are expected to participate.
No laptop computers are required in this class and they are not allowed unless there are disability issues which require them.
Grades will be assigned on an A, B, C scale. The following definitions of letter grades have been defined by student and faculty members of the Committee on Improvement of Instruction and have been approved by the faculty (November 11, 1996) as an aid in evaluation of academic performance and to assist students by giving them an understanding of the grading standards of the School of Library and Information Science:
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
Excellent achievement. Student performance demonstrates thorough knowledge of the course materials and exceeds course expectations by completing all requirements in a superior manner
Very good work. Student performance demonstrates above-average comprehension of the course materials and exceeds course expectations on all tasks as defined in the course syllabus
Good work. Student performance meets designated course expectations, demonstrates understanding of the course materials and is at an acceptable level
Marginal work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete understanding of course materials.
Unsatisfactory work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete and inadequate understanding of course materials
C- D+ D D-
1.7 1.3 1.0 .07
Unacceptable work. Coursework performed at this level will not count toward the MLS or MIS degree. For the course to count towards the degree, the student must repeat the course with a passing grade.
Failing. Student may continue in program only with permission of the Dean.
Please note that all assignments and readings can be accessed online. Also note that this reference course demands a HEAVY commitment of your time. It is expected that you will spend an average 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.
There is extensive documentation and discussion of the issue of academic dishonesty in the Indiana University "Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct." Of particular relevance is the section on plagiarism:
A student must not submit work that reproduces ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgment. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge indebtedness whenever he or she does any of the following:
1. Quotes another person's actual words, either oral or written;
2. Paraphrases another person's words, either oral or written;
3. Uses another person's idea, opinion, or theory; or
4. Borrows facts, statistics, or other illustrative material, unless the information is common knowledge.
Indiana University and SLIS policies on academic dishonesty will be followed. Students found to be engaged in plagiarism, cheating, and other types of dishonesty will be reported to the Dean's Office for appropriate action. As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, cite the source!
Class 1: Jan. 8: INTRODUCTION
Course overview and introductions
Assignment: Readings; start thinking about your pathfinder topic.
Class 2: Jan. 15: REFERENCE & INFORMATION ACCESS PROFESSIONALS
á What kinds of services reference professionals or departments offer?
á Definition of a "reference" source
á Types of information sources: direct and indirect, formal and informal
á Which five journals one needs to regularly browse/read to stay up-to-date with developments in reference services?
á Which five databases are particularly useful for retrieving LIS literature?
á What do employers like to see in every library school graduate?
á What is expected from a reference librarian to know, do, or be able to do?
á Do reference librarians need another Master's degree to provide quality service? What are the advantages, disadvantages, and obstacles of acquiring a second Master's degree?
á Bajjali, S.T. (2004). "Contemporary Recruitment in Traditional Libraries." Journal of Education for Library and Information Science Education, 46(1), 53-58.
á Hill, K.C. (2001). "Acquiring Subject Knowledge to Provide Quality Reference Service." Reference Librarian, (72), 219-228.
á RUSA (Reference and User Services Association). (2003). "Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians." Reference & User Services Quarterly 42(4), 290-295.
á Singleton, B. (2003). "Entering Academic Librarianship: Tips for Library School Students." College & Research Libraries News, 64(2), 84-86.
á Whisler, Laurel A. (2004). "Resumes, Curricula Vitae, and Cover Letters for Music Librarians: Suggestions for Librarians in Job Searches or Compiling Annual Review Documents." Music Reference Services Quarterly, 8(4), 1-46.
Class 3: Jan. 22: ACCESS SERVICES; CURRENT ISSUES & TRENDS IN REFERENCE; USER BEHAVIOR
á What are some of the new trends in reference services?
á What is information access and why is it very important? What are some of the problems associated with information access and how do institutions deal with these problems?
á Who should staff the reference desk and why?
á Would you allow onsite access to unaffiliated users? If so, under what circumstances and conditions? What are the implications (on public relations with the outside community, on other local libraries, etc.) of denying or allowing unaffiliated members to use or have access to your libraries?
á Why do college students use public libraries? What characterizes these students?
á Reference librarians continue to buy expensive print sources, yet, they rarely recommend them for use by patrons. Why is that?
á Which library concepts students are most familiar with and which ones they are not familiar with? How to alleviate problems resulting from use of library jargon in information literacy courses and programs?
á What are some kinds of problems that certain patrons pose in academic and public libraries? If you encountered or witnessed any situation that involved a problem patron, please share the experience in class.
á Antell, K. (2004). "Why Do College Students Use Public Libraries?" Reference & User Services Quarterly 43(3), 227-236.
á Blessinger, K.D. (2002). "Problem Patrons: All Shapes and Sizes." Reference Librarian, (75/76), 3-10.
á Courtney, N. (2003). "Unaffiliated Users' Access to Academic Libraries: A Survey." Journal of Academic Librarianship 29(1), 3-7.
á Dilevko, J; & Gottlieb, L. (2002). "Print Sources in an Electronic Age: A Vital Part of the Research Process for Undergraduate Students." Journal of Academic Librarianship, 28(6), 381-392.
á Hutcherson, N.B. (2004). "Library Jargon: Student Recognition of Terms and Concepts Commonly Used by Librarians in the Classroom." College & Research Libraries 65(4), 349-354.
á 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.
á Tyckoson, D. (2004). "Facts Go Online: Are Print Reference Collections Still Relevant?" Against the Grain 16(4), 34, 36, 38.
Due: Pathfinder Topic
Assignment: Readings; Pathfinder report
Class 4: Jan. 29: BIBLIOGRAPHIC CONTROL, ORGANIZATION OF INFORMATION, AND SEARCH STRATEGIES
á What is bibliographic control process and what are its basic principles?
á Why are authority control and controlled vocabulary critical in information organization and access?
á What are catalogs, MARC records, indexes, and metadata?
á How many bibliographic organization schemes are available for libraries to adopt?
á What is meant by collocation and depth and comprehensiveness of indexing?
á The library catalog, periodical databases, and metadata are three types of tools that help in storing, organizing, and retrieving information. Describe them and how they work.
á Boolean logic, truncation, browsing the index and thesaurus, searching by field, term weighting, relevance ranking, citation pearl growing, and precision and recall are all features/strategies that can be used in database searching. Explain each in detail.
á What is meant by relevance feedback and how does it work?
á Which search strategy: specific-to-general or general-to-specific? Provide examples and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each OR the factors that influence which method to use first.
á Where to start a search? Provide some contexts and examples.
á What makes an excellent searcher? How can you improve your searching skills?
á Wilson, Patrick. "Searching: Strategies and Evaluation." For Information Specialists: Interpretations of Reference and Bibliographic Work.
á Dalrymple, O.W. (2001). "Bibliographic Control, Organization of Information, and Search Strategies." In R.E. Bopp & L.C. Smith. Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 69-96.
á Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. DCMI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
á Furrie, Betty, in conjunction with the Data Base Development Department of The Follett Software Company. What is a MARC Record,and Why It It Important? Seventh edition reviewed and edited by the Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress. 2003.
á Hall, D. (2004). "Mansell Revisited." American Libraries 35(4), 78-80.
á Mann, T. (2003). "Why LC Subject Headings Are More Important Than Ever." American Libraries 34(9), 52-54.
á Ojala, M. (1998). "Beginning All Over Again: Where to Start a Search." Online 22(3), 44-46.
Class Topic: Online Catalog
Due: Pathfinder Report
Assignment: Readings; online catalog assignment
Class 5: Feb. 5: QUESTION ANALYSIS & NEGOTIATION (REFERENCE INTERVIEW)
á What is a reference interview and what are the different types of reference interviews?
á Why do most librarians seldom do reference interviews? When should a reference interview be conducted?
á Why are good reference interviews frequently difficult to accomplish?
á Why are clients reluctant to talk with librarians?
á Why don't library clients ask very good questions?
á What skills librarians need to be good interviewers?
á What is meant by "negative closure"?
á Name and discuss some factors that may influence the reference interview (e.g., gender, age, prior negative experience, time of the day service was requested, day of the week service was requested, social/personal issues, etc.)
á How did the Internet change reference interviewing?
á How can reference interviews best be evaluated?
á How accurate the reference staff answer questions posed by their clients?
á The search process: in-class exercise
á Wilson, Patrick (1986). The Face Value Rule in Reference Work.
á Bopp, R.E. (2001). "The Reference Interview." In R.E. Bopp & L.C. Smith. Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 47-68.
á Dewdney, P.; & Michell, G.B. (1996). "Oranges and Peaches: Understanding Communication Accidents in the Reference Interview." RQ 35(4), 520-536.Kluegel, K.; Ross, C.S.; Ronan, J.; Kern, K.; & Tyckoson, D. (2003). "The Reference Interview: Connecting in Person and in Cyberspace." Reference & User Services Quarterly 43(1), 37-51.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.
Class topic: Reference Interview
Due: Online Catalog Assignment
ASSIGNMENT: Readings; Reference Interview Assignment
Class 6: Feb. 12: SELECTION AND EVALUATION OF REFERENCE SOURCES
á How would you know that a reference book is of a good quality?
á Why evaluating electronic sources is more challenging than evaluating print sources?
á What are the primary reviewing tools and selection aids for reference materials?
á What are some of the problems associated with review sources?
á How and why selection tools such as American Reference Book Annual, Choice, and Library Journal, are helpful/useful for librarians?
á How does the information professional become competent to review reference sources? What sources, skills, attitudes, and values are needed or necessary for becoming a good reviewer?
á In selecting reference sources, how should controversial subjects be handled?
á Is a reference collection development policy necessary and why? What type of information does a reference collection development policy include?
á Why in some libraries certain types of materials (e.g., Indexes, government documents, ready reference materials, and atlases) are shelved separately?
á Why would you weed a title from a collection? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?
á What is virtual collection development?
á What are the primary evaluation points for web sites? One of the most important elements of today's topic is the criteria used for evaluating and selecting reference sources. These criteria are helpful both in choosing new titles to purchase for a library and in familiarizing yourself with new material in general. Use the following points as a checklist to be sure you have not overlooked some important features of a reference item:
¯ Physical Make-up
¯ Purpose and Scope
¯ Special Features
¯ Reference collection development entails decisions to:
¯ Buy new titles;
¯ Buy new editions of titles already in collection;
¯ Cancel a title (many became freely accessible online)
¯ Continue/discontinue a serial/periodical
¯ Contract with vendors for online access licenses
¯ Coordinate collection development with other libraries
á Altschiller, D.; & Wenzel, S.G. (2003). "Finding Book Reviews in Print and Online." Reference & User Services Quarterly 42(3), 193-205.
á H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
á 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.
á Reference Sources handout (see ERes).
á Rettig, J.; & LaGuardia, C. (1999). "Beyond "Beyond Cool": Reviewing Web Resources." Online 23(4), 51-55.
á Smith, L.C. (2001). "Selection and Evaluation of Reference Sources." In R.E. Bopp & L.C. Smith. Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 309-330.
Class Topic: Book reviews, Books in Print, and Web resources for evaluation of resources.
Due: Reference Interview
Assignment: Readings; Book Reviews, Books in Print, & Web Resources exercise
Class 7: Feb. 19: VIRTUAL REFERENCE SERVICES AND EVAUATION
Virtual Reference Discussion Points/Questions:
á What is virtual reference service? Provide some examples.
á Why are some virtual reference services better than others?
á What are the strengths and weaknesses of virtual reference services?
á Do academic libraries offer virtual reference services to unaffiliated users?
á What guidelines are set by RUSA for implementing and maintaining virtual reference services?
á Who are the main players in virtual reference research and services?
á Virtual Reference Services Discussion Points/Questions:
á What is VRD, QuestionPoint, 24/7 Reference, and AskA? For an index of virtual reference softwares that are currently used by libraries, see: Index of Virtual Reference Software. For weblogs, see: Google's Directory of weblog sites.
á What is the Collaborative Digital Reference Service (CDRS) and how does it work?
á Why is CDRS better than Ask Jeeves, Webhelp.com, and other similar Internet-based reference services?
á Digital Reference listservs: most well-known is DIG_REF.
Instant Messaging (or Chat) Reference Discussion Points/Questions:
á What is it, how does it work, and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
á How many people use it and for what types of questions?
á How is it different from the traditional face-to-face, telephone, or e-mail reference service in terms of the initial question asked, the location of the patrons, and expectations or assumptions of the technical skills and general knowledge of the patrons?
á In traditional reference services, body-language, librarians' attitude, patron hesitation to interrupt busy librarians, good/bad experience, and so on determine a patron's willingness to return." What are the IM characteristics that might affect patrons's willingness to return?
á Coffman, S.; & Arret, L. (2004a). "To Chat Or Not to Chat - Taking Another Look at Virtual Reference, Part I." The Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals 12(7), 38-46.
á Coffman, S.; & Arret, L. (2004b). "To Chat Not to Chat: Taking Yet Another Look at Virtual Reference." The Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals 12(8), 49-56.
á Desai, C.M. (2003). "Instant Messaging Reference: How Does It Compare?" The Electronic Library, 21(1), 21-30.
á Duff, W.M.; & Johnson, C.A. (2001). "A Virtual Expression of Need: An Analysis of E-mail Reference Questions." The American Archivist, 64(1), 43-60.
á RUSA (Reference and User Services Association). (2004a). "Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services." Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44(1), 9-13.
á Stacy-Bates, K. (2003). "E-mail Reference Responses from Academic ARL Libraries: An Unobtrusive Study." Reference & User Services Quarterly 43(1), 59-70.
á 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.
Due: Book Reviews, Books in Print, & Web Resources exercise
Class Topic: Virtual Reference
2) Engage in a chat reference interview at the IU libraries or at some other institution. Make your questions sophisticated enough that you learn something about the online interview process. Write a two page paper telling of what you found. Be prepared to talk about it in the next class.
Class 8: Feb. 26: BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
á What are a national bibliography, a trade bibliography, a library catalog, a bibliographic utility, and a union catalog? Provide a couple of examples of each.
á What is the National Union Catalog and what happened to it?
á Is the Library of Congress a national library?
á Can you name a few distinguished national libraries?
á What makes a national library national?
á What are the differences between RLIN and WorldCat? Why reference librarians use them?
á The number of libraries that purchase or use Books in Print is dwindling. Why is that?
á Today, there are hundreds of online book sellers, bookstores, and meta-search engines that provide comparisons of prices. There are also online bookstores that specialize in particular areas, such as out of print books, rare books, and used books. Which dealers, bookstores, and meta-search engines are the best and most reliable?
á RUSA (Reference and User Services Association). (2001). "Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography." Reference & User Services Quarterly 41(2), 115-117.
Class Topic: WorldCat, Ulrich's, and Dissertation Abstracts
Due: Chat reference assignment
Assignment: Readings; WorldCat, Ulrich's, and Dissertation Abstracts exercise
Class 9: March 4: INDEXES AND ABSTRACTS (DATABASES)
Terms and concepts frequently used in relation to databases:
á Abstract: A type of index which gives the location of an article in periodical or a book and a brief summary of that article.
á Controlled-vocabulary: An indexing system in which the indexer, in assigning descriptors to works, is limited to a specified list of terms called the index vocabulary.
á Descriptor: A term or a string of symbols used to designate the subject of a work.
á Index: Consists of a series of bibliographic identifiers (author, title, subject, etc.) or surrogates, each of which characterizes a document or other pieces of information.
á Indexing Vocabulary: The set of descriptors to be used in indexing the contents of documents in an information storage and retrieval system.
á Information Retrieval System: Any system (typically electronic) which provides information to users in response to their requests (e.g., online catalog).
á Keyword: A substantive word in a document which can be used to provide access to that document when used as a search term.
á Natural-Language: An indexing system in which no index vocabulary controls are imposed. Any significant term (keyword) in the text of the item being indexed may represent the subject content of that item and thus provide access to it.
á Online searching: Is the use of computer terminals or workstations to search databases (from almost anywhere in the world), retrieve results, and either print the results, save, or forward them to users electronically.
á Subject Authority List: An official list of subject headings used in a given catalog or bibliographic service (e.g. Library of Congress List of Subject Headings, Sears List of Subject Headings).
á Subject Heading: An indication of the subject of a bibliographic item using entries from a standardized vocabulary such as Library of Congress Subject Headings.
á Thesaurus: A structured collection of terms which is used to index documents. A thesaurus provides control of synonyms and indicates how a particular index term is related hierarchically to others in the index vocabulary.
á How does an abstract differ from an index as far as access and retrieval performance are concerned?
á What makes for a good abstracting and indexing service (i.e., a database)?
á How do you decide which database is the best for your needs?
á What is "natural language" or keyword indexing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of indexing? Provide examples.
á What is "controlled vocabulary" or subject indexing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of indexing? Provide examples.
á What are the major characteristics and uses of a thesaurus and a subject heading authority file for information retrieval? List advantages and disadvantages.
á What is the purpose of a citation index? In what ways is a citation index valuable in reference work?
á Explain the differences between popular and scholarly literature.
á What is Open URL and how does it work?
á What is Google Print and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
á What is Google Scholar and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
á Online searching is a process that involves several strategies, stages, or tasks. What are they?
á Guide to Library Research. Duke University Libraries.
á Quint, B. (1991a). "Inside a Searcher's Mind: The Seven Stages of an Online Search (Part 1)." Online 15(3), 13-18.
á Quint, B. (1991b). "Inside a Searcher's Mind: The Seven Stages of an Online Search (Part 2)." Online 15(4), 28-35.
á Reference Sources handout (see ERes).
Class Topic: Indexes and Abstracts
Due: WorldCat, Ulrich's, and Dissertation Abstracts exercise
Assignment: Readings; General databases assignment
Spring Break, March 8-16
Class 10: March 18: ENCYCLOPEDIAS; BIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES; WEB SOURCES
Encyclopedias Outline of Significant Points:
á Selection of writers, editor(s), publishers (authority)
á Selection of topics (scope)
á Arrangement of topics (alphabetical, chronological)
á Access (table of contents, levels of indexing, cross-references)
á Format (print, CD-ROM, or online)
á Intellectual level (quality of articles, length of articles, audience)
á Special features (illustrations, bibliographies, sound, video, etc.)
á Physical format (size, paper quality, binding quality, illustration quality, print quality)
á Biases (Political, Economic, Racial, Historical, National, Sexual)
á Cost (affordable, good value)
á Currency and Updates (Periodic revision, Continuous revision, Yearbooks)
á Accuracy (correct facts, recent facts, objective)
Encyclopedias Discussion Points/Questions:
á Why are encyclopedias useful in reference work?
á Are encyclopedias gathering dust? Are they still being used (think Google)?
á What type(s) of information do people seek in encyclopedias?
á What are the functions of the encyclopedia yearbook?
á Why does an alphabetically arranged print encyclopedia need an index?
á Do you think that students depend too heavily on encyclopedias for their papers and reports?
á Note that there are specialized subject encyclopedias in every discipline. Select a special subject encyclopedia that interests you and be ready to comment on it in class.
á What are the advantages of electronic encyclopedias over printed ones? Disadvantages?
á Should librarians describe the biased nature of encyclopedias to clients?
Note on Biographical Sources: Bopp and Smith point out that "interest in the lives of others is a universal phenomenon" and that "one of the most consistent features of reference work over the years has been the high demand for information about people." Biographical sources of information fall into several categories:
¯ Living persons vs. deceased
¯ Individuals of a particular country vs. international coverage
¯ Lengthy, evaluative entries vs. brief, factual information
¯ Sources which provide pictures of people vs. those which do not
¯ Indirect sources vs. direct sources
¯ Popular vs. scholarly titles
Biographical Sources Discussion Points/Questions:
á Describe the different types of biographical sources (directories, dictionaries, current & retrospective, national & international, direct & indirect, and obituaries).
á If you were going to design an electronic source for biographical information, what features would you want to include? How would you limit its contents?
á What are the most important factors on which to evaluate a biographical source?
Web Information Sources Discussion Points/Questions:
á What are web portals and how are they useful? Name and describe a few popular web portals.
á What is invisible web and how one can access its information?
á Devine, J.; & Egger-Cider, F. (2004). "Beyond Google: The Invisible Web in the Academic Library." Journal of Academic Librarianship 30(4), 265-269.
á Franco, A. (2003). "Gateways to the Internet: Finding Quality Information on the Internet." Library Trends 52(2), 228-246.
á Reference Sources handout (see ERes).
Class Topic: Encyclopedia, biographical, and web resources.
Due: General Databases
Assignment: Readings; Encyclopedia and biographical resources assignment
CLASS 11 March 25: READY REFERENCE AND DICTIONARIES; BUSINESS AND HEALTH SOURCES
Definitions of Types of Ready Reference Sources:
á Almanac. An annual compilation of miscellaneous statistics and facts, both current and retrospective. May be broad in geographical and subject coverage, or limited to a particular country/state or to a special subject. Much of the information is presented in tabular format.
á Compendium. A concise summary, either of a larger work or of a field of knowledge, sometimes written in outline form.
á Directory. A list of persons, organizations, or institutions, systematically arranged, usually in alphabetic or classed order, giving such information as addresses, affiliations, officers, functions, telephone and fax numbers, publications, etc.
á Handbook. A concise reference book, capable of being easily carried, usually covering a particular subject or field of knowledge. Tends to be a book of instruction or guidance, arranged for the quick location of facts, whereas a compendium usually deals with the broad substance of a topic.
á Manual. A small book, especially one giving information or instructions. Often used synonymously with handbook.
á Statistical Sources. A collection of statistics gathered from various sources or generated by a source, arranged for ease of location and retrieval.
á Yearbook. An annual report or summary of facts and statistics of the preceding year, frequently limited to a special subject. Unlike an almanac, a yearbook is sometimes an update of a larger work such as an encyclopedia, is not retrospective in coverage, and tends to be mainly in textual rather than tabular form.
Ready Reference Sources Discussion Points/Questions:
á What are the most important features of a directory?
á Why are directories frequently expensive?
á Why a part of the ready reference collection is kept behind the reference desk?
á How or when can the Internet be used as a ready reference tool?
á How can Directories in Print and International Directories in Print be used to select new directories for purchase?
á The basic source for current statistics for the U.S. is the Statistical Abstract. What type of statistics does it contain and where do these statistics come from?
á Many librarians claim that Encyclopedia of Associations is their most valuable reference book. Why do you think they rely so heavily on this title?
Note on Dictionaries: The purpose of a dictionary is to explain words. Most typically, these words are listed in an alphabetical order and a description of their meaning is given. Dictionaries may include added features such as syllabication, pronunciation, etymology, usage, synonyms, grammar, illustrations, maps, spellings and usage. There are different kinds of dictionaries: those that address national languages (e.g., English, French, Spanish, German, and so on) and those that address languages of specific scientific disciplines (e.g., chemistry, medicine, political science, sociology, and so on).
á Dictionaries Discussion Points/Questions:
á What are the key factors upon which to evaluate a dictionary?
á Describe differences between prescriptive and descriptive philosophies in dictionary construction.
á In what ways could you use the Oxford English Dictionary in reference work? What advantages does the electronic version have over the print version?
á Describe some strategies you might use to locate a quotation if it does not appear in standard sources.
á Describe a good mix of dictionaries for a small public library (including children's services), a liberal arts college, and a large law firm.
á Does every library need a foreign language dictionary? How do you decide which foreign language dictionary to buy?
á Boorkman, J.A.; Huber, J.T.; & Roper, F.W. (2004). Introduction to Reference Sources in the Health Sciences. 4th ed. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Main Library Reference / Z6658 .I54 2004. Read the Preface and chapter one.
á Karp, R.S.; & Schlessinger, B.S. (2002). The Basic Business Library: Core Resources. 4th ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Read chapters 2, 4, and 5.
á McQuade, Molly. (May 2003). "Defining a Dictionary." Booklist, 1688.
á Reference Sources handout (see ERes).
Class Topic: Ready Reference, health and business resources
Due: Encyclopedias and Biography resources
Assignment: Readings; Ready reference, business, and health resources assignment
CLASS 12: April 1: GEOGRAPHICAL, GOVERNMENT, AND STATISTICAL SOURCES
Note on Geographical Sources: Geographical sources are invaluable in reference. Information needs ranging from the simple "Where is [a river, town, mountain range . . .]?" to the complex "environmental analyses, historical studies of past explorations, wars, plagues; lunar surface features; geological structure of a mountain range" can be met through the use of maps. Atlases (a collection of maps with a detailed index) are found in most libraries, as are gazetteers, which are geographical dictionaries of place names. Map librarians are very enthusiastic about their profession; are interested in such issues as access to maps, Geographic Information Systems, and map preservation; and they produce many useful guides, union lists, carto-bibliographies, indexes, and directories. When evaluating a geographical source, one has to examine: authority, currency, changing names, revision policies, encyclopedia information, nationalism, topical approaches, balance/content, quality of maps, scale and projection, topographical representation, format, place name control, vernacular vs. language of the country of publication (roma vs. rome), transliteration of names, location of small towns, statistical data, subject access approaches, among others.
Notable Publishers in Cartography:
á National Geographic Society
á Rand McNally
á U.S. Government
á Atlas. A volume containing collections of maps. (Named for the god "Atlas" who held the world on his shoulders.)
á Cartography. The art of map-making. A cartographer is someone who makes maps.
á Gazetteer. A geographical dictionary or finding list of cities, mountains, rivers, population, and other features of atlases. Often indexes to atlases serve as gazetteers.
á Index map. A map that shows the total geographic coverage, encompassed by a set or series of maps, or by a segmented single map.
á Map. A graphic representation on a flat surface of certain boundaries of the earth, as well as the moon, the planets, and the solar system.
á Physical (physiographic) map. A map which shows the features and nature of the earth's surface, atmosphere and climate, distribution of plant and animal life, etc.
á Political map. A map that is normally limited to showing political boundaries (e.g., towns, cities, counties, and states) but may also include topographic features.
á Thematic map. A map which serves a special purpose or theme, such as the relative concentration of indigenous groups in Mexico.
á Topographic map. A map which represents the exact physical configuration of an area including natural and man-made features such as mountains, streams, roads, towns, windmills, and radio towers. Elevation is usually represented by contour lines.
á Travel guide. A guidebook intended to aid the traveler by pointing out the sights to see, where to dine, and the best way to get there.
á U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): Geography.
Geographical Sources Discussion Points/Questions:
á List and discuss briefly five evaluative criteria to be considered when purchasing an atlas.
á What factors should you consider when buying an atlas?
á What is a gazetteer and how can you judge the quality of one?
á What are the pros and cons of web-based atlases and maps?
á What types of information are important in travel guides?
Government Sources Discussion Points/Questions:
á What are FDLP, FirstGov, GPO, GPO Access, SuDocs, and THOMAS? Where else can one find U.S. government information (name five different sources/tools)?
á Where one can find government information about foreign countries (name a few sources)?
á Library of Congress. THOMAS: Legislative Information on the Internet.
á 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.
á Project Vote Smart. GOVERNMENT 101: How a Bill Becomes Law.
á Reference Sources handout (see ERes).
á 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.
á U.S. Government Printing Office. About GPO Access.
á U.S. Government Printing Office. An Explanation of the Superintendent of Documents Classification System.
á U.S. Government Printing Office. The Federal Depository Library Program: About the FDLP.
á U.S. Government Printing Office. FDLP Fact Sheet.
á U.S. Government Printing Office. GPO Frequently Asked Questions.
Class topic: Geographical, government, and statistical resources
Due: Ready reference, business, and health resources Assignment: Readings; Geographical, government, and statistical resources assignment.
CLASS 13: April 8: INFORMATION ETHICS; REFERENCE SERVICES FOR SPECIFIC POPULATIONS; ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS, AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
á (optional) Jacobson, F.F.; & Sutton, E.D. (2001). "Reference Services for Specific Populations." In R.E. Bopp & L.C. Smith. Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 279-306.
á Miller-Gatenby, K.J.; & Chittenden, M. (2000). "Reference Services for All: How to Support Reference Service to Clients With Disabilities." The Reference Librarian, no. 69/70, 313-326.
á Jimerson, R.C. (2003). "Archives and Manuscripts: Reference, Access, and Use." OCLC Systems & Services, 19(1), 13-16.
á (optional) Rubin, R.E. (2001). "Ethical Aspects of Reference Service." In R.E. Bopp & L.C. Smith. Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 28-46.
á Southwell, K.L. (2002). "How Researchers Learn of Manuscript Resources at the Western History Collections." Archival Issues, 26(2), 91-109.
á 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.
Due: Readings; Geographical, Government, and Statistics Sources assignment.
Class 14: April 15: WEB 2.0 and LIBRARIES 2.0 and newer technologies.
ÒWeb 2.0Ó and ÒLibrary 2.0Órefer to user-centered indexing, knowledge organization, and retrieval, often making use of social networks. The following links will familiarize you with these terms and some of their associated technologies:
Ò A Hipper Crowd of ShushersÓ NY Times, July 8, 2007
Read the articles above and any others that you care to on the topic of web 2.0, web 3.0, and library 2.0 .
Write a two page paper explaining what you think these terms mean, whether you think there can be such a thing as Òlibrary 2.0,Ó if social networking tools or semantic web tools would be useful in a library environment, and any other like issues you may want to discuss. You can incorporate your comments on the NY Times article, ÒA Hipper Crowd of Shushers,Ó featuring two recent SLIS alumni, if you wish.
CLASS 15: April 22:
Class presentation of pathfinders. FINAL PROJECT (PATHFINDERS) DUE. Please email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) the URL to your pathfinder with the subject line, ÒpathfinderÓ.
Journals and Reference Sources 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) and Internet sources:
College and Research Libraries
Reference and User Services Quarterly
Reference Services Review
Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals
Library Success Wiki (good source): http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Main_Page