Advanced Reference
Unit 3


DIG_LIB Listserv
Virtual Reference Form
Annotated Readings
Evaluation of Reference Sources

Scharzwalder, Robert.  Adding Value to Your Online Results.  Database 20 (February-March 1997), 47-50.


            No matter how well the reference librarian conducts the reference interview, it is has been found that many users do not know what they are looking for.  Therefore, they are unable to make a valid request.  It is up to the librarian to determine what information might really be wanted and how much to add over and above what is requested.  It is important to eliminate false hits and provide the user with a short and concise list of related materials.  The librarian is in a position to know what materials are scholarly or critically evaluated, thus providing the best mix of information for the patron.  As with the reference interview, it is important to follow up with the patron to determine if the correct information was provided and to determine if more research is needed.  Though some of the authors reasoning sounds angry from patrons requests, he does provide a list of search engines for retrieving information from the Web and what might be expected from each.



Swets Blackwell, ScienceDirect Announce Linking Agreement.  Information Today 17 (October 2000), 26.


        A number of electronic periodicals companies have developed additional agreements to provide better service to patrons.  This agreement links tables of contents, abstracts, and search results in SwetsnetNavigator ( to articles in ScienceDirect.  The agreement will speed up delivery to UK institutions, thus enabling the nearly 1,200 scientific, technical, and medical journals of ScienceDirect to reach the over 60,000 academic, medial, corporate, and government library customers in 19 counties.


Krumenaker, Lawrence.  A Tempest in a Librarians Teapot: EBSCO, ProQuest, Gale Exclusive, and Unique Titles.  Searcher 9 (July/August 2001), 40-45.


There is concern that publishers are pulling their titles from certain databases and signing exclusively with EBSCOhost.  This writer obtained lists from EBSCOhost, InfoTrac Web, and ProQuest Direct to compare.  The comparison involved looking at only full-text titles; those titles with only abstracts or citations were not considered.  The results were as follows:  ProQuest had 1,742 out of 3,602 titles exclusively (48%); InfoTrac had 1,160 out of 2,784 (42%); and EBSCOhost had 2,170 out of 4,039 (54%).   Thus, it appears that each service has exclusive rights to a similar number of titles.  The concern is that libraries may have to pay enormous fees to get the titles that are held exclusively by EBSCOhost which are not available on InfoTrac.  It forces libraries to subscribe to multiple vendors or to make a choice between vendors due to monetary restraints.  Is this fair to patrons?  The conclusion was that, though EBSCOhost appears to have the resources to continue to entice publishers to go exclusively with its company, their may be a time when the money will run out, and they will no longer be able to offer the incentives to continue this exclusivity practice.

            The importance of this article is that Reference Librarians are constantly trying to provide the best and most current information to their patrons.  With such money issues involved, it is difficult for small libraries to compete with the information that can be found in larger, better funded institutions.  Perhaps the publishers and distributors need to think more about the users rather than their quest for power and money.



Annotated Readings