Reference: NYLA Library Assistants Training

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part of the NYLA Library Assistants Training course. This was a 3 hour section on Reference Services.

part of the NYLA Library Assistants Training course. This was a 3 hour section on Reference Services.

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  • 1. Reference NYLA Library Assistants Workshop TCCC May 14, 2011 Sarah Maximiek [email_address]
  • 2. Reference Services
    • “ All the functions performed by a trained librarian employed in the reference section of a library to meet the information needs of patrons (in person, by telephone, or electronically), including but not limited to answering substantive questions, instructing users in the selection and use of appropriate tools and techniques for finding information, conducting searches on behalf of the patron, directing users to the location of library resources, assisting in the evaluation of information, referring patrons to resources outside the library when appropriate, keeping reference statistics, and participating in the development of the reference collection” (ABC-CLIO ODLIS)
  • 3. Types of Reference Services
    • In-Person
      • Reference Desk
      • Combination service point
      • One on One appointments/personal help
    • Embedded/Roving Reference
  • 4. Types of Reference Services
    • Virtual
      • Telephone
      • Email
      • Chat / instant messaging
      • Text/SMS messaging
      • Second Life/virtual reality environments
      • Video/Voice over IP/
  • 5. Collaborative Reference Services
    • Two or more libraries teaming up to provide virtual reference services.
    • Such collaboration has occurred across all levels – regionally, statewide and nationally.
    • Examples: Questionpoint ; MyInfoQuest ; AskColorado ; AskUs24/7 (WNY)
    • RUSA (ALA Reference User Services Association) Guidelines for Cooperative Reference Services
  • 6. Types of Questions
    • Directional (where are the bathrooms?)
    • Ready reference (quick facts, generally uncomplicated)
    • Specific search (broad searches on a topic)
    • Research focused (detailed / research specific searches)
    • Katz (1997) Introduction to Reference Work. (7 th ed., Vol. 1 ) McGraw-Hill:New York
  • 7. Answering Reference Questions
    • Or: the fine art of the Reference Interview
  • 8. The Reference Interview is....
    • “ The interpersonal communication that occurs between a reference librarian and a library user to determine the person's specific information need(s), which may turn out to be different than the reference question as initially posed. Because patrons are often reticent, especially in face-to-face interaction, patience and tact may be required on the part of the librarian. A reference interview may occur in person, by telephone, or electronically[...]request of the user, but a well-trained reference librarian will sometimes initiate communication if a hesitant user appears to need assistance.” (ABC-CLIO ODLIS)
  • 9. Or its... Asking a patron questions until they “articulate what they want!”
  • 10. Elements of a Reference Interview
    • Determine the query/question
    • What type & depth of information do they need to answer the question?
    • Clarifying/correcting the question as needed
    • Follow up and offer additional help
    • Thanking and closing the interaction
    • Revised from Katz (1997) Introduction to Reference Work. (7 th ed., Vol. 1 ) McGraw-Hill:New York.
  • 11. Referrals
    • Referrals can be internal or external
    • Simply put: referrals are made when you lack the knowledge, ability or resources to answer the question.
    • If possible try to answer questions the best you can, but referrals are a superior alternative then leaving the patron empty-handed!
  • 12. Some Standards and Laws
    • ALA Code of Ethics
    • RUSA Guidelines (Guidelines for Behavioral Performance; Guidelines for Medical, Legal and Business Responses)
    • NYS Code Section 4509
  • 13. InterLibrary Loan and Reference
    • A patron is referred to interlibrary loan when
      • The needed material is not owned by the library or any library in the local system (in the case of publics)
      • The material is not needed immediately
      • Many libraries belong to regional and national cooperative networks to allow reciprocal lending (OCLC) or have individual agreements
  • 14. Instruction
    • ALA ACRL Information Literacy website
    • ALA Association for School Librarians: Guidelines and Standards
    • ALA Library Instruction Roundtable
    • SUNY Librarian Association Library Instruction Committee
  • 15. Types of Reference Materials
  • 16. Databases and Indexes
    • Databases is often generically used to mean ‘article databases’ but databases can contain any data that is organized and searchable.
    • Three levels of access: indexing; indexing plus abstracting; indexing + full text/full access .
    • Because of these levels of access, it is sometimes important to stress how to gain access to full-text if it is not in the database
  • 17. Open URL Resolvers
  • 18. Databases
    • Tompkins County Public Library (must have library card to login)
    • NYPL (large number of databases that are freely available)
    • Binghamton University Libraries: Guest Access (databases without lock icon are freely available)
    • NYSL (databases are available with login, but NYS can register for a free library card)
  • 19. Boolean Logic
    • Uses “and” “or” “not” to combine keywords or controlled vocabulary into search strings
    • Can combine with ( ) to create more complex search strings
    • Advanced search screens also support such search strings
  • 20. Boolean Logic
    • AND - results will contain all words
    • OR – results will have either world
    • NOT – excludes words from results
  • 21. Boolean Logic Examples
    • Educational level and employment
    • Employment and teens
    • Employment and (teens or youth) – will return a search for employment and teens; employment and youth
  • 22. Boolean Logic Examples
    • Distance education not for-proft
    • Some search engines may not support AND; NOT. Use (+) and (-) instead.
    • Distance education –for-profit
    • Education +employment level
  • 23. Keyword searching
    • Keyword searching is the default for most databases
    • Generally searches across all citation information and abstract across article
    • Searches for keywords without context
    • Can return false hits – article citations that contain keywords, but not where/how you wanted them
  • 24. Controlled Vocabulary
    • “ An established list of preferred terms from which a cataloger or indexer must select when assigning subject headings or descriptors in a bibliographic record, to indicate the content of the work in a library catalog, index, or bibliographic database. Synonyms are included as lead-in vocabulary, with instructions to  see  or USE the authorized heading. For example, if the authorized subject heading for works about dogs is "Dogs," then all items about dogs will be assigned the heading "Dogs," including a work titled  All about Canines . A cross-reference to the heading "Dogs" will be made from the term "Canines" to ensure that anyone looking for information about dogs under "Canines" will be directed to the correct heading. Controlled vocabulary is usually listed alphabetically in a subject headings list or thesaurus of indexing terms” ABC CLIO ODLIS
  • 25. Controlled Vocabulary Searching
    • Using a keyword search, look for articles/books that seem great or “good enough”
    • View the citation information for these sources. Look for the controlled vocabulary for these sources – usually listed as “subject headings” or “descriptors.”
  • 26. Controlled Vocab Searching
    • Using the advanced search screen, limit the search for these words, using the drop downs to search in the subject heading or descriptor field.
    • OR Many databases will have a thesaurus available that you can search by typing in keywords and they will direct you to the correct controlled vocabulary term
  • 27. Example: Keyword search (using ERIC)
    • (( Keywords: library and  Keywords: schools) and Keywords: distance and  Keywords: learning)) Results: 88
  • 28. Example : Results list, first page
    • http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=EJ886461
    • http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=EJ826431
    • http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=EJ841348
    • http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=EJ792982
    • http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=ED490496
    • Some results are great, some have some elements of our search present (such as distance learning -- but in medical schools; and some are not even close).
    • However, by looking at the descriptors, I see ERIC uses the following: distance education, library schools, information science education, virtual education, online classrooms. All these are possibilities for a new and improved search!
  • 29. Example: in action with controlled vocab
    • This search narrowed the results to 36. The “false hits” present in my keyword search have disappeared.
  • 30. Hints for working with Controlled Vocab.
    • Remember to use the drop downs in advanced search menus to select the correct field to search (descriptor, subject heading)
    • Controlled vocabulary in databases will be hyperlinked, and clicking on it will generate a search. However, the search will usually be JUST for that term, so click with care.
  • 31. Hints for…(continued)
    • Keeping track of what search terms you have used with a patron is a great habit to get into - it saves the frustration of repeated searches for both you and the patron. BUT controlled vocabulary will not often work across databases. But what is controlled vocabulary in one might be a great starting keyword in another.
  • 32. Hints for…
    • Expectations to the above are (inter)nationally accepted standards: Library of Congress Subject Headings; Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), etc.
  • 33. Software Mentioned
    • 7 things you should know about wikis
    • How to get started with wikis
    • Google Docs
    • What is Second Life?
    • Second Life and Libraries – Whats the Point? (opinion piece from a 2 nd life librarian)
    • What is Libguides?
    • Libguides Community