What Have You Learned
- A basic set of reference tools is recommended for libraries. Identify and familiarize yourself with as many of these as possible and look at new editions as they arrive. Use reliable Web guides to find similar recommended websites.
- Major Point: Identify and familiarize yourself with recommended resources in your library and on the Web.
- The catalog can be your most effective reference tool. The catalog is an organized list of the library’s collection and helps you find resources in different ways. Consider ways to connect the catalog to Web resources.
- Major Point: The catalog is a good place to start your search and can help you find books, subject headings, or author names and dates.
- Examining and Evaluating
- Think of the world as your resource and do not feel you are limited to “reference books” or webites. Understand the parts of a reference book and examine them thoroughly for effective use. Know how to evaluate websites.
- Major Point: There is no substitute for knowing the value of reference sources in your collection or on the Web. To evaluate and use a resource effectively, you must carefully examine all parts of a print resource and learn to recognize indicators of quality for websites.
- Different types or kinds of resources serve very different purposes. Typical examples of reference books are bibliographies, encyclopedias and dictionaries, almanacs, directories, gazetteers, handbooks, indices, manuals,periodicals, etc. Encyclopedias and almanacs are good resources to use when you are unfamiliar with a topic.
- Major Point: Know what to expect from different types of resources and match the resource to the question.
Library resources are often arranged by Dewey Decimal Classification. Understand what subjects are represented by the classification numbers. Dewey can be used to organize bookmarks for favorite websites and online guides to websites. The Ten Main Classes of the Dewey Decimal Classification are:
000 Computer science, information & general works
100 Philosophy & psychology
300 Social sciences
700 Arts & Recreation
Major Point: Understanding the classification system used for your library’s collection or Web links will help you find resources quickly.
- Electronic, OPLIN
- Many indexes and directories are available as stand-alone databases, through OPLIN (The Ohio Public Library Information Network), or commercially through the Internet.
- Major Point: Electronic databases, OPLIN, and the Internet connect your library to resources around the world.
- Websites may have helpful content, often directly from the source such as government agencies, health organizations, universities, and other educational institutions. Some websites provide carefully chosen and indexed guides to other websites. Many libraries provide organized lists of recommended sites for staff and patrons.
- Major Point: Libraries provide access to information for the communities they serve. The best access for many users is on the Web.
- Your files
- In addition to reference resources and online resources, keep files of pamphlets, maps, articles, etc. to answer questions that patrons ask often. Save yourself time and serve your patrons better by not re-doing work already done, and by anticipating questions you will be asked. Consider establishing databases of answers and FAQs for the library’s website.
- Major Point: Save time by keeping files of pamphlets, articles, maps, etc., to answer questions frequently asked at your library or build databases of answers and FAQs.
Know what resources are available in your library and know when and how to use and evaluate them.
End of Module 5