Describes the advantages of CD‐ROMs over printed and online sources: large storage capacity, relative cheapness and minimum instruction required to undertake searches. They offer challenges as well as new possibilities. Identifies five main criteria from the literature which should be considered when introducing this technology into reference libraries. The service must be marketed and publicity is therefore essential. Equipment should be located near the reference desk and some regulation of access is desirable. CD‐ROMs may be used with little training, but some user instruction is necessary if efficient and sophisticated searches are to be made. Staff training is vital and skills should be continuously updated. CD‐ROMs have a strong bearing upon collection development. Cost, currency and contents should be considered when comparing their usefulness with other media. At present, CDROMs offer the most efficient service when used in conjunction with both printed and on‐line media.
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