Presentation on theme: "Using the Internet As a Reference Tool Michael Sauers, Internet Trainer, BCR Computers in Libraries, 15 March 2000."— Presentation transcript:
Using the Internet As a Reference Tool Michael Sauers, Internet Trainer, BCR Computers in Libraries, 15 March 2000
What We Are Here to Discuss How to use the Internet effectively at your reference desk. Evaluating Internet Resources Ready Reference Strategy
Guess What? The Internet isn't as difficult to use at your reference desk as you may think!
Why Is This Important? Librarians must take an assertive role in new information technologies Patrons are "sure" everything can be found on the internet Only through effective techniques can it become a valued part of our reference collections
Assumptions By your attendance at this seminar, I will assume you already know the following: How to access the Internet What a browser is and how it works Not everything can be found on the Internet Books are STILL useful
Evaluating Print Resources What six items do we look at when evaluating print resources? Purpose Authority Scope Audience Cost Format
Purpose The purpose of a reference work should be evident from the title or form. Has the author or compiler fulfilled the purpose?
Authority What are the author's qualifications? Does the imprint of the publisher indicate the relative worth of the book? Does the author have a bias or agenda?
Scope What has the author contributed that cannot be found in other bibliographies, indexes, handbooks, almanacs, atlases, dictionaries, and so on? Is the data more current than that of another source?
Audience Is the work for the scholar, student of the subject or a layperson? Is the work age appropriate? Is there patron demand for the title?
Cost Does it fit in your budget? Is the extra cost worth it?
Format Is the work useable? Is it of a manageable size? Is there an index?
Evaluating Internet Resources So, what do we look for in Internet Resources? Purpose? Authority? Scope? Audience? Cost? Format?
Purpose? Is purpose a consideration? Is the purpose of the site evident? Has the author or compiler fulfilled the purpose?
Authority? Is authority a consideration? What are the author's qualifications? Does the imprint of the publisher indicate the relative worth of the site? Does the author have a bias or agenda?
Scope? Is scope a consideration? What has the author contributed that cannot be found in other bibliographies, indexes, handbooks, almanacs, atlases, dictionaries, and so on? Is the data more current than that of another source?
Audience? Is audience a consideration? Is the work for the scholar, student of the subject or a layperson? Is the work age appropriate? Demand will apply if you are limiting Internet access.
Format? Is format a consideration? Is the work navigable? Is it searchable? Are links apparent and logical? …with a little modification
Cost? Is cost a consideration? Until a year or two ago I said no. Internet based services were free Services accessed via the Internet weren't Recently more sites are starting to charge SF Chronicle - $1.95/article Boston Globe - $2.95/article
So, How Do We Evaluate Internet Resources? We should be evaluating internet resources the same way we have been evaluating print resources for decades! Just apply what you already know to this new medium.
What Specific Items Should We Look for in a Web Site? Author or contact person Link to local homepage Institutional connection Date of creation or revision URL: TLD / ~ (though not as reliable as most think)
Web of Deceit? What to watch out for: Sites that claim to have The answer Make money fast! Are they actually selling something? Credit Counseling - MasterCard Café Herpe - SmithKlein Beecham
Ready Reference Strategies Forgetting the Internet for a moment... When a patron comes to you at the reference desk and asks a ready reference question what actions do you normally take?
What Do You Do? Take them over to the reference section, pick the correct book, open it up, find the answer. Remember this is a perfect world....
Now, on the Net... You now have Internet access at the desk... That same patron comes in and asks the same question and you think the Internet may have the answer. What do you do?
What Do You Do? The most common response is to go to your favorite search engine and start hunting. This is the wrong approach to take!
Remember... You had a simple strategy for print, what happened? Remember, treat the Internet like you would any other collection of resources.
Electronic Shelf Reading You shelf read your print collection, dont you? Why not shelf read the Internet?
Shelf Read the Whole Net! Remember your first day on the job out of library school? How could you possibly remember what was contained in every book in the reference section? The Internet is no different!
Develop Your Electronic Reference Collection Create a web page NOT a bookmark list Be sure that it loads quickly and is easy to find Organize it in a logical order Be sure the whole staff becomes familiar with the list (just like the print collection) Use it
It Takes Time Don't expect to be able to find all the answers on the Internet too quickly. It will take time to learn what resources are available; which ones work, which don't
What Types Of Questions Are Best Answered On The Internet? Current events Business statistics & data Government information Sports Information Medical conditions or syndromes Internet/computer Directory-type information Travel & tourism