Enhancing the Quality of Reference Services for the 21st Century

Whitlatch, Jo Bell
September 1998
Reference & User Services Quarterly;Fall98, Vol. 38 Issue 1, p15
Academic Journal
This article discusses means to enhance the quality of reference services in the 21st century. The role of librarians in the delivery of reference services is an important aspect of library science. Today, the primary goals of reference services is to enhance access rather than developing comprehensive collections. Improvements in reference services may require a change in philosophy as well. Argument that reference librarians must abandon their old philosophy of merely helping people locate an information source to provide an objective service. The use of information technology tools in the access of reference information provided opportunities to add additional value for library users through effective evaluation of sources. Library online catalogs and indexing/abstracting systems still reflect the old philosophy of librarianship. Records for books and periodical articles still remain much as they were in printed card catalogs and periodical indexes/abstracts. The automation of records became the first electronic descriptions of books and periodical articles in the generation of automated online catalogs and CD-ROM indexes. Accomplishment of goals in librarianship should focus on customer needs in the 21st century.


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