Reference Services

Authored by: Linda C. Smith

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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This entry provides an overview of reference services and the impact of technology on reference sources and services. Following a brief overview of the history of reference services, the types and scope of reference services are explained. Features of the reference interview and factors contributing to its success are considered, followed by a discussion of the various types of reference sources and the development of reference collections. An outline of the impact of technology on new forms of service delivery includes an explanation of both asynchronous and synchronous approaches. The ways in which reference ethics and reference policies guide services are reviewed, and the role of evaluation in assessing effectiveness of reference services is explored. This entry concludes with indications of future trends in reference services.

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