Good enough: The new face of reference




Way, Doug
Lyon, Colleen

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Charleston Conference Proceedings, Against the Grain Press


College students today flock to Wikipedia in droves, while at the same time academic libraries continue to pour time and money into print reference collections that are rarely used and take huge amounts of our libraries' limited space. While libraries have responded to space and access concerns by turning to electronic books, title-by-title selection is a time-consuming affair for a collection that sees low use. In this paper we examine the factors that have led to the point where libraries need to reexamine how they collect and provide access to reference sources. Through a content analysis of reference transcripts and transaction logs, an examination of usage statistics and interviews with librarians and library school students we illustrate how these changes have altered the way reference sources are collected and used at Grand Valley State University. We also outline 10 characteristics of the "new" reference collection and discuss how we see reference collections continuing to evolve in the coming years.



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Way, D., & Lyon, C. (2009). Good enough: The new face of reference. In K. Strauch (Ed.) Charleston Conference Proceedings: Necessity is the Mother of Invention (pp. 336-346). Charleston, SC: Against the Grain Press.