Less is more: essential web resources that eliminate clutter and enhance service

Naomi Gold (Naomi Gold is Reference and Research Librarian at Samford University Library, Birmingham, Alabama, USA and Adjunct Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

Reference Reviews

ISSN: 0950-4125

Publication date: 3 May 2011


Purpose – – The purpose of this paper is to propose that drawing on a smaller number of high‐quality web‐based resources can facilitate the work of reference librarians.Design/methodology/approach – Draws on the writer's experience as a reference librarian and teacher of MLIS students, and offers a list of 25 exemplary web resources that provide high quality and utility for both academic and public library service. There are five compelling reasons to emphasize the use of a smaller number of high‐quality web‐based resources: providing reinforcement and clarity about authoritative, practical and high‐quality resources for new reference librarians; facilitating the growing phenomenon of digital reference service; enhancing information literacy; supporting students of library science residing outside Western countries; and working to create greater equity by assisting librarians and patrons in areas with fewer resources to recognize and make use of web‐based materials.Findings – Focusing on fewer resources, especially on those that consist of aggregated or compiled sources subjected to quality review, enhances reference service and information‐seeking.Originality/value – The challenges associated with web‐based information‐seeking and research have never been addressed by the “less is more” hypothesis, that is, by the proposal that limiting the number of sites consulted can improve results.



Gold, N. (2011), "Less is more: essential web resources that eliminate clutter and enhance service", Reference Reviews, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 4-11. https://doi.org/10.1108/09504121111140361

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