New Directions in Reference

Ina Fourie (University of Pretoria, South Africa)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




Fourie, I. (2008), "New Directions in Reference", The Electronic Library, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 277-277.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

New Directions in Reference offers an interesting collection of contributions stressing that reference librarians should move beyond the traditional print or digital spheres. Such new possibilities can, for example, be found in Harry Meserve's recounting of the mergers of public and university library services and Byron Anderson's call for librarians to fight aspects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Reading through New Directions in Reference I was once again struck by the wealth of challenges and exciting developments facing librarians, and the importance to be alerted to such challenges.

New Directions in Reference examines the following: the skills needed to manage and evaluate virtual reference services; the basics of modern copyright law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); the changes in users, sources and modes of access in music reference services; the use of interlibrary loan management software that allows patrons to request, track, and renew borrowed materials online; the “Ask‐A‐Librarian” e‐mail reference service; the Government Printing Office and government online and reference services in rural libraries. The publication also includes a number of case studies involving the Martin Luther King Jr Library in San Jose (California) and the impact of personal digital assistants (PDAs) in providing reference services for medical libraries.

Chapters are mostly well‐referenced, although the references are somewhat dated for a 2006 publication.

New Directions in Reference is a well‐bound book and it concludes with a good index. At US$19.95 it is recommended as good value for reference librarians who wish to expand their horizons, and who are looking for stimulation for new initiatives.

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