December 8, 2010

Beg, Borrow or Steal This Issue

Posted in Inspiration, Job Success, Reference, Resources at 3:10 pm by melissaautumn

Okay, don’t steal it, because stealing is wrong (and you can read the issue online). But, you definitely want to read the fall 2010 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ).

RUSQ is already one of my favorite journals – it is full of well written articles on a range of reference topics. But, this fall’s issue is spectacularly jam packed with awesomeness:

  • An annotated bibliography of books, articles and resources for reader’s advisory. This is now the go-to source if you want to learn more about reader’s advisory or beef up your collection of resources.
  • A biography of notable librarian Helen Haines.
  • The previously mentioned “Best Free Reference Websites: 12th Annual List.”
  • The annual “Best Historical Materials” list.
  • Four substantial, practical articles:
    • Using wikis to create a ready reference tool for information sharing at the reference desk.
    • Factors that influence people to pursue librarianship. Fellow professionals take note – there’s a lot we can do to encourage promising young (and not so young) people to enter librarianship!
    • Reaching college students through residence halls. This one not only discusses reasons to do outreach in the halls, it gives tons of practical ideas for doing so.
    • Developing guidelines for the use of social software.
  • Updated RUSA “Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.”

All that and the usual book reviews, too!

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November 5, 2010

12th Annual Best Free Reference Websites

Posted in Reference, Resources at 9:32 pm by melissaautumn

RUSA’s Machine-Assisted Reference Section publishes an annual list of high quality, free websites that can be used for reference. The 12th annual list was announced last month. It was published in the fall issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly and is also available on ALA’s website.

This is great resource, whether you are at a small library with a limited reference budget or a large library with extensive resources – there is something here for everyone. I recommend you peruse this list and keep an eye out for future editions!

January 25, 2010

Recommended Reading – More by Melissa Gross

Posted in Instruction, Reference at 9:26 pm by melissaautumn

January is the time I catch up on my professional reading. Since I have a few weeks off between the holidays and the start of classes, I can work my way through the stack of journals I’ve been meaning to read, as well as organize all those articles I read during the fall and set aside in a pile vaguely labeled as “good – do something with.” This is one I read back in September (!) and am just now unearthing again.

Gross, Melissa and Don Latham. “Undergraduate Perceptions of Information Literacy: Defining, Attaining, and Self-Assessing Skills.” College and Research Libraries 70.4 (July 2009): 336-50.

In my reference and instruction courses, we read an article by Melissa Gross about competency theory (Gross, Melissa. “The Impact of Low-Level Skills on Information Seeking Behavior.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 45.2 (2005): 155-63). This article, which says that people with low level skills, the “incompetent,” generally do not recognize their own lack of skill, usually sparks a vigorous discussion.

Those of you who enjoyed that discussion may want to read this recent article. Here, Gross and Latham interview college students about their conceptions of information literacy and their experience conducting research. The article references competency theory, as well as the imposed query model and Christine Bruce’s The Seven Faces of Information Literacy. Very interesting article, especially for those of you interested in reading further research on some of the ideas touched on in class.

September 27, 2009

ACRL’s Internet Resources

Posted in Reference, Resources at 8:44 pm by melissaautumn

Students often ask me how I learn about the various websites I highlight in my courses. Like most librarians, I learn about sites from various sources – links from other blogs, recommendations from friends, and reviews in print media.

One source you can use for web reviews is Internet Resources, a monthly column in College & Research Libraries News. Each column focuses on a timely topic, such as healthcare reform, providing information on 15-20 relevant, good quality websites. The columns are also available (free!) on the ACRL website and can be browsed by topic or date. A wiki provides additional and updated resources.

Reading “Internet Resources” is a good method to build your own knowledge of what is available on the web. You can also browse past columns when you webliography of good sites on a particular topic to create a library guide or to prepare an instructional session.

September 2, 2009

Do You Love Dictionaries?

Posted in Reference at 7:01 pm by melissaautumn

A student once posted “I love dictionaries!” in response to a sources assignment. (Yes, folks, that’s how great my assignments are – they lead unsuspecting students to infatuation with inanimate objects.) I’ve always remembered that quote because it captures the enthusiasm librarians have for even the simplest of reference tools, as well as the joy many of us had when we got to library school and realized we’d found a group of like-minded people who love reference books as much as we do (not to mention, we got college credit for studying the dictionary! how cool is that?).

One of my current students shared this link to a TED Talk about the future of the dictionary (thanks, Anne!).

Erin McKean Redefines the Dictionary

This is a thought provoking talk about the future of the dictionary and, by extension, all reference sources. Very interesting if you love reference books and the dictionary.