LIS 205: Introduction to Information Sources & Services
Unit 3: Part 1Reference Services to all usersKevin Rioux, PhDDivision of Library and Information Science
Service to allLibrarians have a professional mandate to serve all persons in the communityReference services must be adapted to the needs and abilities of particular groupsDefault is service to average adultsOnce specific/special groups are identified, librarians need to create a plan for meeting the special needs of individuals within this group.Non-user groups need to be assessed:Ask: Why dont they use library services?Different groupsMay have different philosophies of educationInformation-seeking behaviors and information needs may be affected by ethnicity and socioeconomic status
Ethnic DiversityAmerican society is very ethnically diverse (especially the New York metro area).Hispanics are largest ethnic minority (approx. 14% of US population)A large percent are foreign born There are many Spanish-speaking political unitscannot assume the same culture, same information needsAfrican-Americans are second largest (approx. 12% of US population)
Socio-economicsThe traditional library clientele is middle class. However:About 14% of the total population lives below the poverty lineOver a quarter of Hispanics (both native and foreign born) and African-Americans live below the poverty line.
Non-English Speakers/New English SpeakersMillions of residents of the US are foreign bornLong-term residentsNewly arrivedStudentsOften fluent and literate in native language, but often need additional assistance working with English-language materialsESL programmingCollection should reflect the cultures of usersMaterials in different languagesIntegrate and preserve language, customsEnrich overall cultureExpensive, but they ease transition and move people to a position of contributing to the economy
Culture and Reference ServiceSome key differences between US reference and library services and those that exist in other parts of the world:Open vs. closed stacksFree vs. fee check outReference may or may not be provided at allInvestigation and inquiry are not universally highly esteemedLibrarians as authority figuresGender issuesSocial status issuesFear of asking silly questionsName sequencingReference interviews with new or non-English speakers should be adjusted accordingly
Illiteracy/Low literacyA significant number of adults cannot read wellestimated at one-third of the adult populationMost of these people do not recognize that there is a problem with their literacy levelMay be economically disadvantagedReference librarians should consider which resources would be best for use of this populationBoth reference and leisure readingShould be geared to ADULTS and topics that address adult information seekingOther programs may serve this group: computer access, etc.May have to read the information to the patron, and/or make photocopies or print outs
Services for individuals with disabilitiesLegally and ethically, librarians must adapt reference services to users with disabilities.ADA (1990):Library services must be provided in a manner that allows each individual user with a disability to equally benefit from the local libraryLibraries must comply on a case-by-case basis. Can only deny service if they can prove an undue burden
Visually impaired personsServices of the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped are available through local libraries.Large print materialsOCR scans and reads text or converts it to Braille or large printW3Cs Web Accessibility Initiativewww.w3.org.WAIStandards for accessible web sites Bobby CompliantBobbyweb service that analyzes pages for accessibility and compatibility with browsers with options for the visually impaired.www.cast.org/bobby
Hearing impaired personsDeaf vs. hard of hearingClosed captioned films and videosClear signageLibrarians who are fluent in American Sign LanguageEmail/chat referenceTDD (telecommunications devices for the deaf) for phone reference
Mobility-Impaired IndividualsNote takingBook retrieval from high shelvesPhotocopyingArranging reference area so that there are no wheelchair barriers, steep stairs. High or low desks.
Developmental issuesAutismDowns syndromeEpilepsyTourettesCerebral palsyMental illnessesEtc.
Reference librarians must be aware that they will sooner or later assist people with these developmental issues, and will need to adjust services accordingly.
ChildrenUp to about ages 12-14Often lack verbal and cognitive skills to articulate information needsServices must be calibrated to the childs particular developmental stageReference librarians have many teaching moments with childrenA big responsibility!Kids like computers, but we must teach them to be sophisticated consumers and users of information In loco parentiis : depends on library policy statementsPathfinders useful
Young AdultMiddle school to high school agesMay have more complex information needs than childrenMore research papersCuriosity about the world in generalAge-specific exploration of adult themes: sex, drugs, relationshipsHave adolescent characteristics that librarian needs to respectDo not want to be treated as childrenSelf awareness and self-perception may be incongruousPathfinders useful
Older adultsComputer anxiety among someMay ask for larger print textsMay be hard of hearingMay experience decline in cognitive ability May have specialized information needs regarding servicesLibrarian needs to exercise tact
Unit 3: Part 2 Introduction to Electronic Resources
Some background on electronic resourcesEarliest e-resources were the files made from computer-assisted typesetting and printing for indexes and abstractsMechanisms were developed to search for indexed termsoutput was only available locallyVery slow, but the idea was well-received by researchers and librariansLater modems were developed for distant searchesDeveloped into a system where only highly skilled librarians used a series of commands to retrieve informationCharges based on connection time and retrieved hitsEquipment: dummy terminals and mainframes
Some background on electronic resources, contd.Lower-cost computers allowed for the development of end-user searchesStill quite expensiveUsed key word and controlled vocabulary searchesLearning curve was still highToday: mostly web based searchesCommand systems still exist for very specialized areas Users are accustomed to key word searching, which results in lots of non-relevant hits. However, this is still very popularRole of librarian: trainer/coachMust REALLY know the system to teach it!
Whats a database?A set of information formatted into a defined structureUsually text, but can be just about anythingCan be a bibliographic recordFull textSets of figuresDefined structure is made up of defined and labeled fieldsThese fields are further structured with rulese.g., name sequence, number of characters, etc. The user may or may not see all of these fields in the typical interfacefull record options allow you to see the fieldsoften useful if youd like to see the subject headings for refining your search
Whats a database? Contd.Static database: e.g., a phonebookSingle access point for record: individual name or business nameSearchable databasee.g., online resource like Master File PremierSeveral access points: subject, author, journal name, date, etc.Uses logic algorithms and character-string matching for retrievalDATABASES ARE THE FOUNDATION OF DIGITAL LIBRARY SERVICE!User can do much of the easy tasks on his/her own. Our role is to guide the user as s/he uses them, and give assistance.Requires us to know all the features of each database and what they cover
Searching the database: precision and recallPrecision = getting only RELEVANT materialRecall = getting ALL of the relevant materialWe want both precision and recall, but because language is ambiguous and indexing is not always perfect, we dont always get perfect results.
Boolean LogicGeorge Boole, 19th Century British mathematicianBased on set theoryBoolean operators:OR (inclusive)AND (more restrictive)NOT (more restrictive)
Positional searchingA refinement of the Boolean AND operatorAllows the searcher to specify how close his/her terms should be in the text.Useful when searching for phrases e.g. total quality management, attention deficit disorder
TruncationShortening a word in a search string so that you can pick up variationsa.k.a.: wildcarding or stemmingSymbol is ? or * or : or +Truncation can be in the right or left of the stem, or can be in the middle of the core characters (internal truncation).Example: librar* Example: *shipExample: lab?rIn web-based search engines, truncation often happens without any express action by the researcher
WeightingBoolean searching is very precise, but most databases use a fuzzier method called weighting.Weighting is the ratio of the search term relative to other elements of the text in full-text documents. The more often the term appears in the document, the higher its relevancy rating.Documents with higher relevancy rating appear in the display first. The rating may be displayed as a percentage.
Database Display VariationsIndexthis view shows the search term along entries adjacent to it within the alphabetical inverted file. Each is a clickable link.
Descriptorsthis view shows the descriptors of the item in a thesaurus format. These are controlled vocabularies used by indexers to identify the item by subject. Each term in the thesaurus hierarchy is clickable.
The concept of usability comes into play when discussion displays
Unit 3: Part 3 Directories
Whats a directory?ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science:
A list of persons or organizations, systematically arranged, usually in alphabetical or classed order, giving address, affiliations, etc., for individuals, and address, officers, functions, and similar data for organizations.
Very commonly used resource at the reference desk
Electronic vs. Print directoriesPrint directories are sometimes quicker to useElectronic directoriesCan use Boolean search and keyword searchesAre updated more often than print sources
Directories of DirectoriesInternet Public Library Reference Center www.ipl.org/ref/Directories in PrintAll types of national and international directoriesIndexed in multiple ways for easy access: subject, name, geography, format, etc.Yahoo! Reference
Phone directoriesPhone books arent always free anymorePhoneFiche by UMI contains the paper versions of local directoriesSome useful, free online sources:Any Who Toll Free DirectoryWhoWhereTelephone Directories on the WebNational Email and Fax Directory
Library DirectoriesAmerican Library DirectoryDirectory of Special Libraries and Information Centers
Publishing/Book Trade DirectoryBooks in PrintLibrary Market PlaceInternational Literary Market PlacePublishers DirectoryPublishers Catalogue Home Page
These sources are available in both print and online formats
Educational/Research Institution DirectoriesThe World of LearningNational Faculty DirectoryThe HEP Higher Education DirectoryResearch Centers Directory
Foundations and Grants DirectoryThe Foundation DirectoryThe Foundation Center OnlineDirectory of Research Grants
Business DirectoriesStandard & Poors Register of Corporations, Directors and ExecutivesDun & Bradstreets Million Dollar Directory (must have $9 million in sales to be included)HooversThomas Register Online
Association DirectoriesEncyclopedia of Associations: National OrganizationsEncyclopedia of Associations: International OrganizationsAssociations on the Net
Government DirectoriesWorldwide Government DirectoryWashington Information DirectoryCarrolls Federal DirectoryCarrolls State DirectoryCarrolls Municipal Directory
Unit 3: Part 4 Indexes and Abstracts
Catalogs vs. Indexes vs. AbstractsCatalogs provide access to the general holdings of the libraryIndexes provide access to the contents of some of the holdings in the library (especially periodicals). They may also point to sources the library does not contain, which sets up an ILL opportunity.Abstracts provide a brief summary of content.
Usually a human has to be involved in indexing and abstracting materials, even though these tools are managed electronically.
Trends for indexes and abstract products TV and radio transcripts in addition to the texts of periodicalsMore abstractsInclusion of at least some full text articlesVERY desirable featureDifferent product packaging and prices based on the nature and needs of the purchasing librarySome are bought through a consortiumLinks between index items and full textMore retrospective coverage
General Periodical IndexesReaders Guide to Periodical LiteratureBoth print and electronic Has some full text in the electronic formInfoTracEBSCO PublishingProQuest
Newspaper IndexesNew York Times IndexNational Newspaper IndexProQuest Full Text NewspapersNewspaper SourceLexis-Nexis (full text searching)
Citation IndexesInstitute for Scientific Information (ISI Web of Science)Science Citation IndexSocial Science Citation IndexArts & Humanities Citation Index
Citation searchesCited referencesTimes citedRelated records
FormatMost of the major indexes and abstracts are available in electronic form. Electronic search tools give more access pointsBoolean operators can make the searches very preciseOlder printed indexes and abstracts are important for retrospective research
Scope of indexesLibrarians and users should recognize:What periodicals are indexed in a particular sourceThe controlled vocabulary or subject heading scheme used for indexesBoth of these are in the Help section or in the preface or scope notesUseful tools:Uhlrichs International Periodicals Directory Books and Periodicals OnlineFulltext Sources Onlineall of these give information on which periodicals are covered by which indexes and abstract services.
Note:Indexing vocabularies are not standardized!Interfaces for the same index may be different depending on the vendors interfaceLibrarians must continuously develop expertise in database coverage and search strategies