New Directions in Reference

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Design and deliver traditional reference services in new and innovative ways

Librarians work in an environment of constant change created by new technology, budget restraints, inflationary costs, and rising user expectations. New Directions in Reference examines how they can use new and innovative methods to design and deliver traditional reference services in a wide range of settings. The book’s contributors relate first-hand experiences in libraries large and small, public and academic, and urban and rural dealing with a variety of changes, including virtual reference, music reference, self-service interlibrary loan, e-mail reference, and copyright law.

Change isn’t new to libraries but the accelerated pace of change is. Traditional lines that have existed between library departments have been erased and traditional notions about general and specialized reference services have been reconsidered. New Directions in Reference documents how librarians are re-thinking their roles and responsibilities to keep pace with the ongoing process of evolution that borders on revolution.

New Directions in Reference examines:

  • the skills needed to manage and evaluate virtual reference services
  • the basics of modern copyright law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • the changes in users, sources, and modes of access in music reference services
  • the use of interlibrary loan management software that allows patrons to request, track, and renew borrowed materials online
  • the "Ask-A-Librarian" e-mail reference service
  • the Government Printing Office and government information online
  • and much more!
New Directions in Reference also includes case studies involving the new Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose, California, and the impact of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) in providing references services for medical libraries. This important book is an essential professional resource for public, academic, and special librarians, especially those providing reference services.
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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Allison B Brungard, MLIS (Duquesne University)
Description: This is a timely collection of essays that effectively integrates technological and social issues impacting contemporary reference services. This title is published simultaneously as The Reference Librarian, Number 93, 2006.
Purpose: Anderson and Webb's substantive work portrays the dynamic role of the librarian in delivering a wide range of modern user-centered services, such as virtual and e-mail reference, self-directed interlibrary loan requests, music reference, and more.
Audience: This title is intended primarily for reference librarians working in all types of libraries. It is also recommended as a valuable source for administrators in terms of planning and decision making. The editors and contributors are authorities on the topics they present.
Features: The book is divided into three major sections — New Roles for Librarians, Impact of Technology, and Issues in Library Services — with 10 essays in all. Included at the end of each essay or case study are useful appendixes and Web sites. Written in a familiar language, this work is not weighed down in academic prose. Adapting to change and a strong emphasis on customer service are common themes throughout. Particularly well written, Anderson's Primer on Copyright Law and the DMCA addresses the complexities of this topic in a concise, yet informative manner. Peg Burnette and Jo Dorsch's account of the PDA experience in medical libraries reveals implications for the future use of PDAs, including offering software downloads and ready reference in all types of library settings. A minor deficiency of the book is that there are no specific references made to needs assessment or outcomes of some of the programs. Furthermore, the addition of tables, or figures would enhance the text. A welcome omission was any mention of financial constraints and other barriers when implementing new services. Instead, the contributors focus on realistic and successful endeavors in providing reference services to diverse populations.
Assessment: This book's strength is grounded in its contributors' ability to draw on their own experiences and thus provides a practical and positive approach to showcasing new services and ideas. This will be a solid addition to any reference librarian's collection. This title is a worthy and up-to-date companion to Bill Katz's well-known New Technologies and Reference Service (Haworth Press, 2000), and the more recent work, High Tech High Touch: Library Customer Service through Technology by Lynn Jurewicz and Todd Cutler (ALA, 2003). Emerging issues are still looming, such as Web 2.0 applications, including the use of blogs, wakes, and RSS feeds; podcasts; and the information needs of the millennial generation. Interest pertaining to such topics may facilitate a forthcoming edition to this title.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789030887
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Pages: 170
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Virtual reference : a reference question is a reference question ... or is virtual reference a new reality? : new career opportunities for librarians 3
Evolving reference, changing culture : the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and reference challenges ahead 23
Current issues in music reference 43
A primer on copyright law and the DMCA 59
Self-service interlibrary loan : a primer for reference staff 73
From novelty to necessity : impact of the PDA experience on medical libraries 83
E-mail reference evaluation : using the results of a satisfaction survey 99
How the GPO got its groove back : government printing office and government information on the Internet 109
Golden rule reference : face-to-face and virtual 129
Reference services in rural libraries 151
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