Monday, May 4, 2009

What is Reference Now: Print, Database or Web Resource?

This training was presented by Helen Blumberg and Bob Burke and sponsored by the Maryland State Resource Center.

First, we looked at how libraries were traditionally viewed in the past and how the conteporary view of libraries has changed from a paper and pencil type to a more technologically oriented type of library.

Then we discussed what our roles as librarians and information specialists are in that we are to help our customers. We branched out on this topic and questioned how technology affects these roles. Think about how technological affects your roles in your library everyday.

The group was given the task to "Write down at least two suggestions or ideas that might help us ensure that our public libraries remain relevant and responsive to users." This is a good question to ask oneself!

In addition to talking about how technology impacts our work, we also looked into the interview process of people coming in with reference questions and how we would guide them to the research, as well as what the appropriate medium would be using model reference behavior.

Next we discussed the pros and cons of print sources. What do you think some of these might be?

Pros-Autjortative, well-organized, objective

Cons-Not always current, not helpful to remote customers, text heavy

Task II that we were given was to "Write down at least 3 special features of electronic databases not available in print resources." What do you think these might be?

Task III was "Does the Web have any disadvantages? List 3." What disadvantages are on your lists?

After completing these tasks, we talked about what we can use to evaluate web resources and compared and contrasted Print vs. Database resources.

Task IV: "If you didn't have Google, what would your favorite website be, and why?" This is an excellent question. We refer to Google so often, but never usually give a thought to what we would do if we didn't have it. If you have some database suggestions, please feel free to post them as a reply!

Lastly, how can we stay current on these resources and share them with colleagues. Some suggestions were:
  • Staff meetings
  • Workshops
  • Social Bookmarking through Delicious
  • Subject guides on library homepages
  • Email

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