Reference Resources: The Role of Print in a Digital Age

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Reference Resources
: The Role of Print in a Digital Age










Angela Critics

INFO522: Information Access & Resources

Linda Marion, Instructor

March 16
, 2010




Reference Resources


2


Reference Resources: The Role of Print in a Digital Age


Introduction and Scope

This bibliography covers the role of print vs. electronic resources i
n library
reference services.
Major themes include the need to understand users of reference
services, imp
ortance of staff training and the value of a formal collection development
policy that addresses the specific issues of print vs. electronic resources. The articles
chosen
were published between 1996 and 2009, with an emphasis on current articles that
addr
ess issues raised by the recent shift to digital sources and digital reference services.
While most articles were published in the United States, one was published in Australia
and one in Great Britain.


Description of Topic


Reference services are a key
function of libraries. Increasing reliance on
electronic reference sources and the Internet raise questions about the role of print
resources.
Libraries today face shrinking budgets, limited space and pressure to provide
expensive electronic resources that

may or may not be the most suitable choice.
Electronic reference sources require new methods of assessment and bring new
challenges. Changing user patterns require libraries to adapt, a task that necessitates
understanding the needs and wants of those use
rs.


Literature Review


In spite of the importance of reference services, little research has been done on
the continuing role of print reference sources and the shifts in reference service


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3

necessitated by the increasing reliance on electronic resources. Libraries cannot establis
h
reference policies without a thorough understanding of their users’ needs,
collection
development issues involved in

evaluating electronic vs. print resources
,

and staff
training requirements. Yet a theme that recurs throughout the existing research is t
hat
such a policy is essential. Colson goes so far as to call it “vital” (Colson, 2007, p. 174).


An interesting aspect of the research in this field is the similarities in results
across different library types. Heintzelman, Moore, and Ward (2008) conclud
ed that only
a fraction of the print reference materials in a public library are used. Bradford (2005)
and Colson (2007) arrive at the same conclusion for academic libraries. Researchers
across the board raise the issue of staff training, to include Maxwel
l (2005) in his analysis
of reference sources in school libraries. In addition, the issues raised in the earliest
articles remain relevant to present day studies of reference resources. Smith and
Templeton’s study (1999) examines attitudes in Scottish libr
aries toward the Internet as a
reference source during a time when Internet access was not universal in those libraries
and authoritative organizational websites had yet to become commonplace. Yet the
concerns librarians voiced are equally valid in 2010, i
ncluding
appropriate

training,
accuracy and reliability of the information,
and
speed and functionality of the user
interface (Smith and Templeton, 1999).


O’Gorman and Trott

(2009) argue that for reference services to remain relevant in
the changing information environment, they must base their service models on the needs
and desires of their users. Libraries are
at
heart social organizations with a responsibi
lity
to society

that requires responsiveness
to their patrons


changing demands (Fritch and
Mandernack, 2001). Puacz (2005) echoes this theme
,

while Sendi (1996) concluded after


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4

the Carlson Library’s use study that ongoi
ng studies of this type provide

essential
informati
on for any library’s reference services.


The Carlson Library study used surveys and questionnaires to assess patron
attitudes in addition to counting the number of times individual reference titles were used
(Sendi, 1996). While Sendi concluded that such

research is
vital

to maintaining a
relevant reference collection, similar studies are few and far between. A seminal study in
the last decade is Bradford (2005). Later use studies

invariably cite Bradford’s work.
Bradford reported on the Stetson Universit
y project to record every print reference
volume used over the course of two, two
-
month periods. The methodology provided a
model for later studies.


A clearer picture of print resource use at an academic library emerges thanks to
the longer duration
of

t
he study reported by Colson (2007). Individual reference books
were dotted after each use

over the course of five years
. Colson applies the results to an
analysis of specific issues including weeding and possible reclassification of reference
books. In a t
ime when commentaries on the death of print reference abound, Colson
discovered an increase of more than 40 percent in overall use of print reference materials
(Colson, 2007
)
.


Heintzelman, Moore, and Ward (2008) applied methodology from Bradford
(2005) a
nd Colson (2007) to the reference collection at a public library. This study also
concluded that print reference is not dead. But the authors reiterate the need for ongoing
evaluation of use patterns and patron needs in order to make informed collection
de
velopment decisions.



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5


A variant of the use study focuses on resources used by staff to answer patron
questions. Bradford, Costello, and Lenholt (2005) performed a staff use study at Stetson
University as a complement to Bradford’s overall use study (Bradf
ord, 2005). While
Bradford (2005) only analyzed use of print materials, Bradford, Costello, and Lenholt
(2005) compared librarians’ use of both print and online resources. This study does not
differentiate between in person, phone or virtual sources of the

questions, an area that the
authors argue merits further study.


A similar study at the Northern Territory Library in Australia concluded that the
already complex field of reference work is further complicated by the increasing
availability of electronic

sources, especially the Internet (Ritchie and Genoni, 2007).
These authors argue that reference services must remain prepared to provide a bridge to
print resources as patrons become less familiar with them and consider the possibility that
the precipito
us shift to electronic resources may actually be detrimental to the quality of
reference services.


Further evidence of the importance of formal study of customer needs appears in
Boyd (2005). This project began with a survey of staff at a suburban library

followed by
tracking every reference transaction. Boyd discovered that actual log results did not
match
the
anecdotal observations reported in the survey.


In contrast, Shachaf and Shaw (2008)
focused
specifically on resources used to
answer questions in

virtual reference service transactions. One unique aspect of this study
was its comparison of services in academic and public libraries
.

The

authors argue
that
there is a need
for further studies analyzing the similarities and differences between
referenc
e services at different types of libraries

(Shachaf and Shaw, 2008)
.



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6


The call for additional staff training first voiced by Smith and Templeton (1999)
is a common theme in many of these articles. Fritch and Mandernack (2001) argue that
the information en
vironment has shifted radically from one of controlled access to a
wide
-
open field where anyone can access large quantities of information. This means
changes in types of questions users ask and the skills needed by

reference

staff members,
hence a need fo
r training suited to what they describe as a new reference paradigm
(Fritch and Mandernack, 2001). Boyd (2005) echoed the argument that reference
questions are changing and becoming more complex, necessitating additional staff
training.


Maxwell (2005) an
d Standerfer (2006) address two special situations where the
need for training in electronic resources is critical. According to Maxwell (2005), school
librarians lag behind their public and academic library counterparts in technical skills. He
argues that

the reluctance of school librarians to acquire those skills is creating a digital
divide, preventing school libraries from acquiring and taking advantage of the benefits of
electronic reference sources (Maxwell, 2005). Rural libraries in Illinois, on the
other
hand, have access to web
-
based and electronic resources through State programs, but
budget restrictions preclude the hiring of professional librarians (Standerfer, 2006). Thus,
in a time of increasing demand for reference services, staff
members
ofte
n lack any
training that would enable them to take advantage of existing sources. Lack of funding is
widening the digital divide between patrons of rural libraries and those of similar sized
suburban libraries in Illinois (Standerfer, 2006).


Calls for tra
ining staff in the use of new, digital resources should, perhaps, not be
surprising. But some researchers argue that
given the emphasis

on learning to use


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7

electronic reference sources, library staff may need refresher training in the use of print
resources

to counter their marginalization (Heintzelman, Moore, and Ward, 2008).
Bradford (2005) makes a similar point. Both articles argue that promotion of electronic
resources to both staff and patrons have pushed print resources into the shadows. But
those refe
rence books merit the same promotion, and while such measures will not
reverse the shift from print to electronic sources they may ensure that the benefits of print
resources are not forgotten to the detriment of reference service (Heintelman, Moore, and
W
ard, 2008 and Bradford, 2005). This concern to avoid loss of print reference skills
parallel
s the conclusions of Ritchie and Genoni (2007).


The importance of retaining print resources is one aspect of the discussions of
collection development. Puacz (2005
) analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of print and
electronic sources for various categories of reference resources, concluding that a
reference collection should include a mix of print and electronic sources. Heintzelman,
Moore, and Ward (2008) suggest
that a decline in use of print resources may indicate that
the library is purchasing the wrong books and urge a targeted approach to print reference
collection development based on ongoing user studies.


One important consideration for libraries is whethe
r to purchase both print and
electronic editions of the same resource. Robbins, McCain, and Scrivener (2005)
analyzed the collections of major research libraries to determine the extent to which they
were canceling subscriptions to print versions of electr
onic resources they purchased.
They identified several important issues for consideration, including the impact on the
archival role of a research library and external pressure to purchase high
-
visibility but
expensive general electronic resources at the e
xpense of funding for specialized titles.



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8


There are specific differences between print and electronic reference sources that
libraries must consider as they develop selection criteria according to Stewart (2001).
This article provides some guidance throug
h the selection dilemma by discussing
methods for evaluating both types of resources and also concerns that are specific to
electronic formats. Stewart (2001) suggests use of decision matrix to weigh the relative
importance of each factor to the individual

library. Each institution must establish its
collection development priorities, but should also recognize that resources are constantly
changing requiring flexible policy statements (Stewart, 2001).

Special libraries may have extra considerations when ev
aluating electronic
resources. Maxwell (2005) argues that electronic reference materials are especially
appropriate for school libraries, which frequently have space limitations. Rural libraries,
however, must balance space restrictions against questions a
bout adequacy of staff
training to take advantage of digital resources (Standerfer, 2006). Shachaf and Shaw
(2008) examine collection development issues specific to virtual reference services.


While other articles, including Stewart (2001) and Puacz (2005
), compare
collection development issues of print and electronic resources and discuss some of the
concerns unique to electronic formats, Farmer (2009) focuses entirely on those technical
considerations. Each stage of consideration and purchase and impleme
ntation of a digital
reference source has its own set of
concerns

a library must consider from infrastructure
issues to security to licensing to last copy provisions (Farmer, 2009). While this article is
targeted at academic libraries, many of the issues a
re important for any library facing the
dilemma of
purchasing
print vs. electronic resources.



Reference Resources


9



Libraries around the world daily face the quandary of which reference resources
are the best value for their collections. Issues of collection development, appr
opriate
training for staff and the need to better understand user needs are basic to library
reference services. With the rise of virtual reference services, the situation is becoming
ever more complex. These articles provide the beginning of a guide throu
gh the maze of
the new reference paradigm. But more research is needed. Each of these studies is unique
or nearly so. Additional research is necessary to confirm the results.


Bibliography


Entry 1:

Boyd, R. S. (2005). Assessing the true nature of informa
tion transactions at a suburban
library.

Public Libraries,
44
(
4), 234
-
240.


Abstract:

As intuitive search engines and ubiquitous Internet access have simplified
customers’ ability to obtain information on their own, information librarians at the
Gwinnett

County Public Library system in Georgia have reported changes in the types of
questions they answer. Although this study disproved our hypothesis that customers are
answering more straightforward questions on their own and requesting staff assistance
with

more complex ones, it provided useful information on the nature of the questions
being asked. The results prompted us to rethink our ideas about what needs to be done to
serve our customers and what level of staff is needed to provide that service, prompt
ing a
dramatic shift in our service model.

(Published abstract)


Annotation:


In o
ne of
the
few public library studies,
Boyd
compares anecdotal staff
reports to logs of actual

reference questions answered. This article c
oncludes that the
nature of re
ference questions has changed and a
rgues the need for additional staff
train
ing, especially in technology. It f
ocuses on adapting the reference service model and
staffing concerns rather than collection development issues.


Search Strategy:

This was a pre
liminary search to evaluate the topic. The search was a
deliberately broad keyword search to retrieve records for browsing.


Database:

Library Literature and Information Science Full Text


Method of Searching:

Keyword searching


Search String:

Smart sea
rch for public library AND reference.




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10

Entry 2:


Bradford, J. T. (2005). What's coming off the shelves? A reference use study analyzing
print reference sources used in a university library.

Journal of Academic
Librarianship,
31
(
6), 546
-
558.


Abstract:

Th
is article reports on a use study of print reference materials at a small
private university. The goal of the study was to evaluate the extent of patron and librarian
use of the print reference collection as a whole and of individual print resources.
Refer
ence librarians recorded book titles and volume numbers of all resources they
reshelved in a spreadsheet over two separate two
-
month periods. The results indicated
less than ten percent of the print reference collection was used. The study concluded that
the print reference collection was too large and was underused. The authors recommend
studies of longer duration to confirm the findings prior to major changes in budgets for
purchasing print reference materials.


Annotation:

This frequently
cited article

describes one of the first use studies of print
reference resources after widespread
acceptance

of electronic

resources. While the study
took place in an academic library, the concerns it raises also apply to other libraries. It
emphasizes the importance
of determining usage patterns prior to making major decisions
regarding collection development or weeding of reference collections.
It does not
examine patron or staff use of electronic reference sources.


Search Strategy:

I selected the Library Literature and Information Science database
because of its focus on library
-
specific publications. Based on earlier searches, I chose to
use a keyword search with proximity limitation.


Database:

Library Lit. & Info. Science [Dial
og File 438]


Method of Searching:

Keyword searching


Search String:

?
s print()reference



1986 PRINT


10055 REFERENCE


S1 15 PRINT()REFERENCE



Entry 3:


Bradford, J.T., Costello, B., & Lenholt
, R. (2005). Reference service in the digital age:
An analysis of sources used to answer reference questions.
Journal of Academic
Librarianship, 31
(3), 263
-
272.


Abstract:

A small, private university library studied the sources librarians used to
answer r
eference questions, comparing usage of print sources to databases and off
-
site
Web resources. Over a four
-
month period, staff logged and categorized sources used to
answer patron question in a effort to verify the hypothesis that reference librarians used
electronic sources more often than print and to determine what electronic sources they


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11

used. Librarians used online sources of all types to answer nearly 60% of the questions,
using reference books for less than 10%. Further, they used less than 2% of the
total print
reference titles. The article discusses implications for collection development, staffing
and possible need for staff training in use of print resources.


Annotation:

This article complements Bradford, J. T. (2005), providing
a fuller picture
of reference services in one library. It compares

print and electronic resource usage by
reference staff in the same academic library.

It does not differentiate between question
formats (in person, email, phone). Issues raised apply to public as well as ac
ademic
libraries.


Search Strategy:


I found the reference in Ritchie, A., & Genoni, P. (2007) and
recognized the author’s name, Bradford, from entry 2. Since the first Bradford article was
useful, I decided to look at this one as well.

Journal of Academi
c Librarianship

is
available as an e
-
journal through Drexel University Libraries and is available in the
Library Literature and Information Science Full Text database.


Database:

N/A


Method of Searching:

Footnote chasing.


Search String:

N/A


Entry 4:


Colson, J. (2007). Determining use of an academic library reference collection: Report of
a study.

Reference & User Services Quarterly,
47
(
2), 168
-
175.


Abstract:

Studies indicate that a lean reference collection is the idea, but how does a
librarian determine what to pare? A small academic library did a five
-
year reshelving
study to guide in collection management. Dots were applied to books as they were
reshelved,
with different colors for each year. Data indicate that, while many items were
heavily used, many others were not used at all in five years. As a result of the study,
reference staff are reconsidering the nature of the reference collection, beginning to
de
velop a collection management policy and determining the disposition of the good, but
unused, items. (Published abstract)


Annotation:

The longer duration of this study provides a fuller picture of

print reference
source usage. It a
ddresses specific issue
s related to weeding and reclassification decisions
as well as the impact of electronic resources on the use of print reference sources. While
researchers concluded that a large number of individual reference books were not used
during the study, they note
d an overall increase of over 40% in use of the print reference
collection, a finding that indicates print reference is not dead.


Search Strategy:

Having identified the Bradford article in entry 2 as useful, I decided to
search for articles that cited it
as a reference in the Social SciSearch citation index.




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12

Database:

Social SciSearch [Dialog File 7]


Method of Searching:

Citation search


Search String:

?
expand cr=bradford jt


Ref Items Index
-
term

E1 2 CR=BRADFORD JSP, 1957, ANCIENT LANDSCA
PES

E2 1 CR=BRADFORD JSP, 1957, ANCIENT LANDSCAPES S

E3 0 *CR=BRADFORD JT

E4 2 CR=BRADFORD JT, 1996, V14, P234, RES
STRATEGIES

E5 6 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P263, J ACAD LIBR

E6 1 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P268, J
ACAD LIBR

E7 1 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P270, J ACAD LIBR

E8 3 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P546, J ACAD LIBR

E9 1 CR=BRADFORD JW, 1980, V27, P44, ARITHMETIC
TEACHE

E10 1 CR=BRADFORD JW, 1987, V62, P22, CANADIAN J
PSYCHI


s

e5, e6, e7, e8

S1 9 E5, E6, E7, E8



Entry 5:


Farmer, L. S. J. (2009)
.

The life cycle of digital reference sources.
The Reference
Librarian 50
(2), 117
-
136.


Abstract:

Academic libraries increasingly complement print
-
based reference collections
with digitally
-
based reference for financial and educational reasons. However, library
collection policies have sometimes lagged behind the technology curve. Too often,
reference
collection management practices have reflected a responsive attitude rather than
a responsible, strategic stance. Many costs are associated with this service, and
intellectual and psychological considerations make these resources a complex set of
issues. T
his article examines the life cycle of digital reference sources by focusing on
subscription databases: assessment, selection, acquisition, Web presentation and
maintenance, archiving and preservation, and de
-
selection. It offers factors to consider
becaus
e academic librarians must make decisions about these increasingly dynamic
collections.

(Published abstract)


Annotation:

Farmer emphasizes the need for libraries to establish standard policies and
procedures

for digital resources. This article concentra
tes

on technical considerations
unique to electronic reference sources. While the focus is academic libraries, the issues
raised apply equally well to any library considering the purchase of electronic reference
resources.




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13

Search Strategy:

I used the con
trolled vocabulary subject headings from an article I
found by citations searching. The article was on topic, but was not scholarly. So I used its
subject terms as the basis for a controlled vocabulary search.


Database:

LISTA


Method of Searching:

Contr
olled vocabulary search


Search String:

su=reference sources AN
D su=electronic information res
ou
r
ces AND
su=public libraries. Results further refined by su=reference services (libraries)


Entry 6:


Fritch, J. W., & Mandernack, S. B. (2001). The emerging r
eference paradigm: A vision of

reference services in a complex information environment.
Library Trends, 50
(2),

286
-
305.


Abstract:

The emerging reference paradigm in a complex, technologically rich
information environment tends toward a more deliberate blending of the conservative and
liberal philosophies of reference. As key agents in the advancement of society and
culture, librarian
s must recognize the value of community and the social context of
information in providing services that support and enhance the full range of
contemporary user needs. The complexity of the information environment, and more
uncontrolled distribution and ac
cess, lead to new issues for users. Reference services,
with a
stronger instructional role, must become more proactive in providing a fully
developed repertoire of services responsive to the multifaceted queries facing librarians
today. (Published abstract
)


Annotation:

How does the library as a social organization adapt to the wide
-
open
information world of the digital age? This article analyzes the evolution of reference
services
, emphasizing the need to remain faithful to the philosophy and principles o
f
reference service. While electronic and digital resources are a fact of reference today, this
article argues that technology itself is not the answer and examines practical responses to
changing patron needs.


Search Strategy:

While browsing
The Referen
ce Librarian
,
I found
this article:

Bugg, K. L. & Odom, R. Y. (2009) Extreme makeover reference edition: Restructuring

reference services at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center.

The Reference Librarian 50
(2), 193
-
204.

While this
article

was a pro
fessional “how we did it” piece and therefore not suitable for
this bibliography,

I reviewed its references and found this article.
I was able to retrieve it
as an electronic resource through Drexel University Library. It is also availabl
e in the
Library Literature and Information Science Full Text database.


Database:

N/A


Method of Searching:

Footnote chasing



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14


Search String:

N/A


Entry 7:


Heintzelman, N., Moore, C., & Ward, J. (2008). Are reference books becoming an
endangered specie
s? Results of a yearlong study
of reference book usage at the
W
i
nter P
ark public library.

Public Libraries,
47
(
5), 60
-
64.


Abstract:

In a response to budget constraints, the staff of a public library conducted a
study to determine if anyone was using the

reference books.
Staff used the circulation
module of their integrated library system to track in
-
house use by scanning all reference
books before reshelving. The study identified the most
-
used titles and volumes as well as
the most popular subjects. Whil
e only a small fraction of the reference books were used,
the study concluded that lack of use may reflect a need to examine the choice of
resources and to promote

the print collection on an equal basis with electronic resources.


Annotation:

This is one
of the few use studies of a public library reference collection.
While it does not examine use o
f electronic resources, the authors
argue
that promotion
of those resources has increased awareness of digital sources at the expense of reference
books. They s
uggest that print resources deserve the same promotion as electronic ones
and consider the possibility that strategic development and staff training may increase use
of print reference sources.


Search Strategy:

This was a preliminary search to evaluate
the topic. The search was a
deliberately broad keyword search to retrieve records for browsing.


Database:
Library Literature and Information Science Full Text


Method of Searching:

Keyword searching


Search String:

Smart search for public library AND r
eference.


Entry 8:


Maxwell, D. J. (2005). Digital versus print: The current state of reference affairs in
school libraries.

Reference Librarian,
44
(
91), 53
-
68.


Abstract:

This article examines the current state of digital versus print reference
collections in school libraries. Issues addressed include an overview of adoption
practices, acceptance and use of digital materials and implications for the future. The
article compares findings from multiple sources to provide an in
-
depth examination and

understanding of the qualities and characteristics that school libraries share. The sources
include current literature, research findings, and the observations and experiences of an
information specialist in the role of participate observer. Survey and an
alysis of this data
will provide a triangulation of information that will for the basis of the study. (Published
abstract)




Reference Resources


15

Annotation:

This article argues that school libraries lag behind other libraries in
adoption of electronic resources. Lack of expos
ure to digital reference sources in school
may negatively impact students’ ability to adapt to an academic library,

so this trend is
worrying. However, the author’s apparent assumption that digital resources are superior
seems to discount the value of prin
t resources entirely. Maxwell argues persuasively for
additional training in technology, but fails to acknowledge the value of print reference
sources.



Search Strategy:

I noticed that a number of interesting search returns on the topic
included the term

“print reference.” So I decided to do a keyword search for that phrase.


Database:

LISTA


Method of Searching:

Keyword search


Search String:

“print reference”


Entry 9:


O’Gorman, J., & Trott, B. (2009). What will become of reference in academic and p
ublic
libraries?
Journal of Library Administration 49
(4), 327
-
229.


Abstract:

Public and academic libraries continue to have a vital role in providing
reference services. As more and more information is only available in electronic form,
reference
librarians need to reaffirm their core values. Some of the changes happening in
reference include smaller reference collections, the disposition of printed reference
books, and the increased use of electronic tools. Other topics include different servi
c
e
m
odels for the reference desk, the changing nature of reference questions, and changes in
staffing at the reference desk. Finally, the authors speculate about the future of reference
services.

(Published abstract)


Annotation:

This article examines trends i
n reference service in response to the rise of
digital resources. The authors contrast the increasing availability of excellent print
reference sources with a public reluctance to use those books. They argue for a user
-
centered focus for library service mo
dels while remaining true to the professional values
of reference librarianship.


Search Strategy:

I planned to focus my search on reference books, so I looked up the
descriptor in the LISTA thesaurus and also browsed the thesaurus for terms related to
r
eference services. When the search returned too many results, I chose other descriptors
to narrow the returns.


Database:

LISTA


Method of Searching:

Controlled vocabulary




Reference Resources


16

Search String:

reference books AND public libraries

reference services. Narrowed

search by adding descriptor public services


libraries and public libraries


Entry 10:


Puacz, J. H. (2005). Electronic vs. print reference sources in public library collections.

Reference Librarian,
44
(
91), 39
-
51.


Abstract:

The evolution of electroni
c sources has had a significant impact on reference
collections in libraries and public library reference collections are no exception.

Evaluating, selecting, and organizing sources to meet the needs of public library
users has always been a fundamental ro
le of public librarians. However, now they have
the added responsibility of evaluating electronic resources and deciding whether the
electronic sources will supplement or replace traditional paper reference sources. Issues
of authority, accessibility, cost
, comfort, and user education must be carefully weighed
during this evaluative process. (Published abstract)


Annotation:

This article analyzes issues facing libraries regarding choices between print
and electronic resources. In addition to examining the
role of both types of resources in
public libraries, it also examines the strengths and weaknesses of each format for various
categories of resources.

Argues the need for public libraries to improve remote access for
their patrons. However, Puacz concludes

that,
given the

pros and con
s of

each format,
libraries need both print and electronic reference sources.


Search Strategy:

I selected the Library Literature and Information Science database
because of its focus on library
-
specific publications. Based on

earlier searches, I chose to
use a keyword search with proximity limitation.


Database:

Library Lit. & Info. Science [Dialog File 438]


Method of Searching:

Keyword searching


Search String:

:

?
s print()reference



1986 PRINT


10055 REFERENCE


S1 15 PRINT()REFERENCE


Entry 11
:


Ritchie, A., & Genoni, P. (2007). Print v. electronic reference sources: Implications of an
A
ustralian study.

The Electronic Library,
25
(
4), 440
-
452.


Abstract:

:

This article analyzes the balance between print and electronic reference
sources. The authors include a detailed literature analysis. They then describe a case
study of over 620 reference questions and the sources used to answer them undertaken at
the Nor
thern Territory Library. While the findings show that both print and electronic
resources have a role, authors state the correct balance of those resources is hard to


Reference Resources


17

assess. Implications for the future of reference services and librarianship are also
disc
ussed.


Annotation:

In addition to providing a detailed analysis of print vs. electronic resources
used to answer actual reference questions, this article examines the difficulties in
applying research in this field to other libraries and contexts. It als
o discusses reasons for
the shift toward greater use of electronic sources while raising the question of whether
that shift may be detrimental to the quality of reference services.


Search Strategy:

Having identified the Bradford article in entry 2 as use
ful, I decided to
search for articles that cited it as a reference in the Social SciSearch citation index.


Database:

Social SciSearch [Dialog File 7]


Method of Searching:

Citation search


Search String:

?
expand cr=bradford jt


Ref Items Index
-
term

E1 2 CR=BRADFORD JSP, 1957, ANCIENT LANDSCAPES

E2 1 CR=BRADFORD JSP, 1957, ANCIENT LANDSCAPES S

E3 0 *CR=BRADFORD JT

E4 2 CR=BRADFORD JT, 1996, V14, P234, RES
STRATEGIES

E5 6 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P263, J ACAD L
IBR

E6 1 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P268, J ACAD LIBR

E7 1 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P270, J ACAD LIBR

E8 3 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P546, J ACAD LIBR

E9 1 CR=BRADFORD JW, 1980, V27, P44, ARITHMETIC
TEACHE

E10 1 CR
=BRADFORD JW, 1987, V62, P22, CANADIAN J
PSYCHI


s e5, e6, e7, e8

S1 9 E5, E6, E7, E8


Entry 12
:


Robbins, S., McCain, C., & Scrivener, L. (2005) The changing format of reference
collections
: Are research libraries favoring elect
r
onic access over
print?

The
Acquisitions Librarian 18

(35), 75
-
95.


Abstract:

This study examines the holdings of ARL libraries for core reference titles to
see if there is a trend towards canceling the print in favor of electronic, and discusses the
implications of dupli
cation of titles in both formats. It also looks at the issue within the
context of several areas of study including general reference, arts and humanities, social
sciences, and sciences. (Published abstract)




Reference Resources


18

Annotation:

This highly technical article focu
ses on reference collections of major
research institutions in an effort to determine whether these libraries are continuing to
purchase print formats of resources that are available in both print and electronic form. It
examines trends in canceling print
purchases and the pressure to acquire high
-
visibility
but expensive general electronic resources that may limit the library’s ability to fund
specialized titles, a problem faced by many libraries.
It also discusses the effect of a shift
to electronic resou
rces on the archival role of research libraries.


Search Strategy:

Having determined that Ritchie, A., & Genoni, P. (2007) was a good
choice for this project, I reviewed the references in that article and decided this one
looked promising.

This journal is

available as an electronic resource through Drexel
University Libraries.


Database:

N/A


Method of Searching:

Footnote chasing


Search String:

N/A


Entry 13:


Sendi, K. A., (1996) Assessing the functionality of the reference collection.
Collection
Building 15
(3), 17
-
21.


Abstract:

Explains how reference staff undertook an assessment of the 30,000+ volume
collection in an attempt to determine whether materials in the Carlson Library reference
collection are useful to faculty, staff and students. Cul
led from periodical use studies,
several qualitative and quantitative assessment methods were identified: a count of every
item physically handled; short in
-
house surveys administered randomly to willing library
patrons; and a questionnaire distributed to
a group of instructional staff. The assessment,
which began in 1994, continues, and techniques are repeated as necessary. Additional
techniques, such as in
-
house interviews, will be implemented, giving the reference staff
valuable information on the users
and the uses of the reference collection. Maintains that
the intermediate results have already impacted the materials selected, and predicts that
the final results will aid in the development of a current reference collection management
policy. (Published
abstract)


Annotation:

This early study used both quantitative and qualitative tools to assess the
usefulness of print reference resources in an academic library. The conclusion that
libraries must understand user needs is echoed in
more
recent studies. T
he call for
specific collection development policies also occurs consistently through the literature on
this subject.


Search Strategy:

I wanted to search with controlled vocabulary for reference, in
particular reference books.


Database:
Library Lit. &
Info. Science [Dialog File 438]



Reference Resources


19


Method of Searching:

Controlled vocabulary


Search String:

?
expand reference

I chose these entries:

E14 1450 REFERENCE BOOKS

E28 4579 REFERENCE SERVICES


?
s reference books/de and reference services/de


1450 REFERENCE BOOKS/DE


4579 REFERENCE SERVICES/DE


S2 66 REFERENCE BOOKS/DE AND REFERENCE SERVICES/DE


I expanded DT and added the following:


?
s s2 and e11


66 S2

139870 DT=FEATURE ARTICLE S3
30 S2 AND DT='FEATURE ARTICLE'





Entry 14:


Shachaf, P., & Shaw, D. (2008). Bibliometric analysis to identify core reference sources
of virtual reference transactions.

Library & Information Science R
esearch,
30
(
4),
291
-
297.


Abstract:

As the use of electronic reference sources becomes commonplace, virtual
reference services are expanding in scope, modes, and popularity. Simultaneously,
reference practices are evolving as well. Once concept that may
be challenged by these
trends is the notion of the core reference collection. What are the sources that form this
core collection, and what art its characteristics? Are similar sources used to answer users’
questions in virtual and traditional reference? H
ow do core collections of public and
academic libraries differ? An analysis of 1851 e
-
mail and chat reference transactions
from public and academic libraries reveals that the notion of a core reference collection
persists in the world of virtual reference
services. In both types of libraries, responses to
patrons showed a skewed bibliographic distribution; librarians used a small group of
sources to answer most of the questions. Almost all sources used were electronic.
Academic libraries tended to make grea
ter use of fee
-
based sources, but public libraries
more often used sources freely
-
available on the Web.


Annotation:

This article focuses on the sources used in virtual reference transactions,
rather than questions at a physical reference desk. With the r
ise of popularity of such
virtual services, the results have implications for the nature of resources a core
-
reference


Reference Resources


20

collection should contain. Another unique aspect of this study is its comparison of
academic library responses to those of public librari
es.


Search Strategy:

Having identified the Bradford article in entry 2 as useful, I decided to
search for articles that cited it as a reference in the Social SciSearch citation index.


Database:

Social SciSearch [Dialog File 7]


Method of Searching:

Citation search


Search String:

?
expand cr=bradford jt


Ref Items Index
-
term

E1 2 CR=BRADFORD JSP, 1957, ANCIENT LANDSCAPES

E2 1 CR=BRADFORD JSP, 1957, ANCIENT LANDSCAPES S

E3 0 *CR=BRADFORD JT

E4 2 CR=BRADFORD JT, 1996,

V14, P234, RES
STRATEGIES

E5 6 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P263, J ACAD LIBR

E6 1 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P268, J ACAD LIBR

E7 1 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P270, J ACAD LIBR

E8 3 CR=BRADFORD JT, 2005, V31, P546, J ACAD LI
BR

E9 1 CR=BRADFORD JW, 1980, V27, P44, ARITHMETIC
TEACHE

E10 1 CR=BRADFORD JW, 1987, V62, P22, CANADIAN J
PSYCHI


s e5, e6, e7, e8

S1 9 E5, E6, E7, E8


Entry 15:


Smith, J. M., & Templeton, E. (1999) A comparison of the range and val
ue of use of the
Internet with traditional reference sources in Scottish public libraries.
Journal of
Information Science 25
(1), 27
-
33.


Abstract:

This study examined the use of the Internet by reference services in Scottish
public libraries and staff opi
nions on its value in their work. It compared the use of
traditional print resources to use of the Internet through a survey of all public library
authorities and an in
-
depth interview with three authorities. This qualitative assessment of
staff attitudes
provides an early view of the impact of web
-
based information sources on
public library reference services. The study highlighted technical issues and lack of
training as key obstacles to increased reliance on the Internet.


Annotation:

While this study p
redates
the dramatic increase in electronic reference
resources, the problems it identifies continue to be concerns today. These issues include
staff training, authority of sources and the number of irrelevant results returned by a
search.



Reference Resources


21


Search
Strategy:

Because Bradford, J. T. (2005) was a useful article, I reviewed its list
of references and decided this article was worth review.

This journal is available as an
electronic resource through Drexel University Libraries.


Database:

N/A


Method of
Searching:

Footnote chasing


Search String:

N/A



Entry 16:


Standerfer,
A. E. (2006). Reference services in rural libraries.

Reference Librarian,
45
(
93), 137
-
149.


Abstract:

The information age has changed libraries of all types and sizes in ways that
no one could have predicted. For a rural library, though, changes have been fast and
furious and have made a dramatic impact on the very nature of the library and the
services the library offers. Rural libraries went form a gathering place for community
ac
tivities to fully wired information centers in a matter of a few years. The article
addresses what these changes mean for reference services

one of the most basic
functions of a public library. While people are consuming more information than ever,
will th
e rural library be able to keep up with this demand even with the Internet? This
article explores reference services in rural public libraries, using examples from libraries
in central and northern Illinois, giving consideration to the nature of reference
services,
how they have changed over time, and how this compares to small libraries in a
metropolitan setting.

(Published abstract)


Annotation:

Limited budgets, limited staff and limited space constrain rural reference
services at a time of increasing de
mand for those services. State initiatives to provide
electronic resources to all public libraries remain ineffective due to lack of training for
staff. This article highlights significant differences between rural libraries and more
affluent suburban libr
aries of similar size, illustrating that in spite of government
programs, the digital divide is a real factor in quality of reference services at public
libraries.


Search Strategy:

The terms were suggested by a title I encountered in the references for
Ma
xwell, D.J. (2005). The article itself was not scholarly, but I decided to try searching
for the phrase.


Database:


LISTA


Method of Searching:

Keyword


Search String:

Keyword: “future of reference”



Reference Resources


22


Entry 17:


Stewart, L. (2001). Choosing Between Prin
t and Electronic Resources
--

The Selection
Dilemma.
The Reference Librarian
,
34
(71), 79
-
97.


Abstract:

The availability of resources in both print and electronic formats poses a
selection dilemma for librarians dealing with rising costs of materials and
stagnating or
declining budgets. Should a choice between formats be made? There are readily
identifiable differences between print and electronic resources and each has strengths and
weaknesses. Traditional selection criteria are still valid for evaluating

electronic
resources but additional issues such as technology, access method, overlap between
indexed publications and the library’s collection, service implications, archival concerns
and availability of new product information must be considered. Decisi
on models can
allow for easier comparison of information formats. A collection development policy that
incorporates electronic resources is a necessity that both justifies decisions made and
ensures that resource collection supports the library’s goals. Ex
periences shared by
today’s librarians illustrate the complexity of this sel
e
ction dilemma and highlight the
fact that there is no simple answer. (Published abstract)


Annotation:

This article examines the advantages and disadvantages of print and
electro
nic reference resources and the categories of reference sources that may be more
suited to one format.
Stewart proposes additional selection criteria for electronic
materials and adds another voice to the chorus calling for libraries to develop clear polic
y
statements for reference collection development.


Search Strategy:

Since a number of my articles were published in
The Reference
Librarian
, I decided to browse the journal. I searched within the journal for the term
collection development.


Database:

N/A


Method of Searching:

Browsing


Search String:

“collection development” within the journal



Conclusion and Personal Statement

One of the most important things that I learned from this project was a thorough
search requires the use of multiple strat
egies. The indexer’s interpretation of what is
important in an article may not reflect its value from the searcher’s standpoint.
Unsuccessful searches are inevitable, but provide information from which to begin a new


Reference Resources


23

approach. Trial and error is an essenti
al part of the process. I am now more comfortable
with using controlled vocabulary and using tools such as a thesaurus or the EXPAND
command to find useful terms. My keyword searches are also more focused now and I am
more aware of synonyms as potential se
arch terms.

I was familiar with the techniques of footnote chasing and author searching from
previous research I’ve done. But I was excited to learn about the possibility to search
citations forward. Citation
databases

like Web of Science
provide a powerfu
l tool to
researchers. I was also pleased to learn about RefWorks, yet another useful item in the
researcher’
s tool kit
.

I was surprised at how few scholarly articles there were on this topic. It seems to
be a vital issue for every library to address. I le
arned that our instinct to move many of
our reference books into circulation is, in fact, becoming standard practice.
I was
intrigued by how some of the issues identified in early articles remained important in
spite of the scale of change over the last de
cade.

At first I was nervous about writing the annotations. I’m not an expert in library
reference. How would I be able to give a judgment on the value of an article? But I found
that as I took notes, I recorded what was important about each article. It q
uickly became
clear that the Bradford (2005) was fundamental to
the
topic. I realized that since I’d
determined the topic of the bibliography, I could also identify what it was that each
article contributed to that topic. The literature review was also int
imidating, so I put it off
until last. That turned out to be a good choice, because the process of writing the
annotations helped to clarify the primary themes, thus providing the organization for the
literature review.



Reference Resources


24

This assignment was a definite chal
lenge for me, but the process has given me
confidence that I can create a scholarly annotate
d

bibliography.
Along the way, my
proficiency at searching has improved dramatically, as has my confidence in working
with various databases and interfaces. I also
think that the ability to organize a body of
information like this and identify key patterns and concepts is an important skill in
today’s world of information overload.
The
things

I’ve learned will
definitely
carry over
to other, less formal, projects tha
t I anticipate encountering as a Child and Youth Services
Librarian, to include
writing
Pathfinders for students.