Reference Service

Reference Service

  • Ranganathan defines Reference Service as `Personal service to each reader in helping him to find the documents answering the interest at the moment pin-pointedly, exhaustively and expeditiously.
  • He says, at-tempts "to provide the right book for the right reader, in the right way and at the right time, in the right personal way."

‘Reference service’ imply the following function

•  Personal assistance to readers in the use of the library and its collection;

•  Answer questions that readers ask or give the right sources that provide answer to such     question;

•  Build up a good reference stock knowing users' needs., build up reference tools, maintain Reference Service and administer them properly;

•  Provide all these services with speed and efficiency without any bias, meeting the exact needs of users.

Factors that necessitate reference service in libraries are

i)  Users' information needs and demand for intensive services;

ii)  Growth of libraries° in all dimensions and their complexities;

iii)  Modern tools and techniques developed for library and information services;

iv)  Volume and variety of documents, both print and non-print;

v)  Impact of information technology. .

The four types of reference service

i)  Directional guidance;

ii)  Ready reference service;

iii)  Long range reference service;

iv)  General help.

Steps in handling research level reference questions

i)  Reference interview;

ii)  Determination of the subject of enquiry with a precise enunciation of the topic;

iii)  Identification of the primary sources that may provide the answer through searches from secondary and tertiary sources;

iv)  Spotting the places of possible answers to the topic;

v)  Recording the references consulted with notes and explanations;

vi)  Preparing the report covering the information collected;

vii)  Filling the gaps after receiving the feedback from the enquirer

Anticipatory information services include the following :

a)  Bibliographic compilation on specific topics;

b)  Current awareness service;

c)  Newspaper clipping service;

d) Indexing services;

e) Abstracting service;

f)  Project information files; and

g)  User education programmes.

Abstracting Service

This service is for providing current and retrospective literature on chosen fields with abstracts as well as citations of articles and papers appearing in current journals, and also reports, conference papers and proceedings.

 The aspects which needs attention in the production of abstract bulletins are :

  • Subject identification
  • Selection of items to be included
  • Sources
  • Citation practice
  • Preparation of abstracts or using author abstracts Presentation of entries
  • Supporting indexes
  • Frequency
  • Physical production.

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