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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

James Rettig

The future of the academic library and the future of reference service are inextricably interdependent. These include information technology, the role of the library as…

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Abstract

The future of the academic library and the future of reference service are inextricably interdependent. These include information technology, the role of the library as place, users’ values, and users’ naïveté about the complexity of information. Significant user values include immediacy, interactivity, personalization, and mobility. In order to develop services that respond to users’ need, librarians need to develop an anthropological understanding of their user communities. They also need to play a significant role in developing information systems. These need to provide personalized service. These ideas are not new; however, information technology has advanced to a point where they can be applied both practically and effectively. As librarians take a larger role in adapting information technologies to meet users’ information needs in ways that respond to their values, reference service must remain user‐centered; high‐tech and high touch are equally important.

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Reference Services Review, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1987

John Budd

What hath Harvey wrought? In 1932 Sir Paul Harvey edited the first version of this “useful companion to ordinary everyday readers of English literature” (Harvey 1932…

Abstract

What hath Harvey wrought? In 1932 Sir Paul Harvey edited the first version of this “useful companion to ordinary everyday readers of English literature” (Harvey 1932, p.v). Harvey provided a guide to writers, some of their writings, some allusions, places, and some other information pertinent to an informed appreciation of English literature. Because of the nature of the work—the one‐volume companion—Harvey made the decision to eschew “Completeness in a moderate compass, and the equipment of a specialist at all points” (ibid.).

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Reference Services Review, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1987

James Rettig

All seventeen had graciously agreed to my proposal to gather for a small conference to seek consensus. A generous grant from the Pierian Press Foundation would cover all…

Abstract

All seventeen had graciously agreed to my proposal to gather for a small conference to seek consensus. A generous grant from the Pierian Press Foundation would cover all of our expenses for a long weekend at a resort hotel; the only condition of the grant was that we offer our results to Reference Services Review for first publication. Over the past five years each of the seventeen had in turn accepted my challenge to answer the following question:

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Reference Services Review, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1995

James Rettig

It all began a very long time ago, sometime before 1876, that annus mirabilis of librarianship during which the American Library Association was founded, Library Journal

Abstract

It all began a very long time ago, sometime before 1876, that annus mirabilis of librarianship during which the American Library Association was founded, Library Journal debuted, and Samuel Green published in its pages the first article about reference librarianship. And it continues today. In April 1994, an unidentified library school student from the State University of New York at Buffalo queried the participants of the LIBREFL listserv, asking them, “Can you give a summary of the ‘hot’ library reference issues of the week? I'm working on a project for my Reference course, and would like to find out what is REALLY vital to refernce (sic) librarians out there today.” I was tempted to reply that all of that week's “hot” issues were identified in Green's 1876 article. In that article describing the phenomenon we today call reference service, Green touched on issues such as the librarian's obligation to provide information without injecting personal values, the inability of any librarian to know everything, the need sometimes to refer a patron to another information agency, SDI services, the value of proactive rather than passive service, the challenges of the reference interview, and, of course, what has come to be called the “information versus instruction debate.”

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Reference Services Review, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1984

Jovian P. Lang

Along with many librarians who pick up RSR, I turn to “Personal Choice” as the first article to read. It is always intriguing to learn others' choices and their reasons…

Abstract

Along with many librarians who pick up RSR, I turn to “Personal Choice” as the first article to read. It is always intriguing to learn others' choices and their reasons. Most of us probably never think that the question will be dropped into our own laps, so though we might disagree with others’ choices, we rarely think seriously of those we would make ourselves. Fortunately, James Rettig does give enough time for us to think about it, to try to come up with a different approach, to philosophize on a specific desert isle. “If you were stranded on a desert island and had to create a reference/information service with only ten sources, which ten would you choose?”

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Reference Services Review, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1982

James Rettig

During the 1940s and early 1950s, the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corp. buried metal drums in the earth in Niagara Falls, New York. The drums, hundreds of them, contained…

Abstract

During the 1940s and early 1950s, the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corp. buried metal drums in the earth in Niagara Falls, New York. The drums, hundreds of them, contained chemical wastes. The company's actions were perfectly legal and its intentions good; it was placing these potentially harmful substances out of harm's way — secure in metal drums, secure beneath the earth. Hooker's use for the land ended and in 1956 the company sold it. A school and houses were built over the chemical dump. The unfortunate aftermath is well known. The drums corroded; their contents leached out and into the earth and, apparently, into the bodies of those who lived on it. As a result, residents of the Love Canal area experienced unusually high rates of miscarriages, birth defects, and liver disorders. Such were the worst of the effects. Many residents had to abandon their contaminated homes. Suddenly Love Canal became a forlorn place. Good intentions in the 1940s had unwittingly wrought evil consequences in the 1970s.

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Reference Services Review, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1979

James Rettig

No one has yet sued a librarian for malpractice. Perhaps, as many have suggested, this indicates the public's view of librarianship and its relative value among the…

Abstract

No one has yet sued a librarian for malpractice. Perhaps, as many have suggested, this indicates the public's view of librarianship and its relative value among the professions. Perhaps instead it testifies to the consistently high quality of service librarians universally deliver. Whatever the reason or reasons, librarians have had and continue to have responsibilities to meet. Reference librarians have responsibilities to the patrons they serve and to the agencies or institutions for which they work.

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Reference Services Review, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2006

James Rettig

Abstract

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Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-007-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1984

James Rettig

That librarianship has become, in the words of the cliche, a world of “bits and bytes” is itself a cliche. Librarians who admit that they were originally attracted to the…

Abstract

That librarianship has become, in the words of the cliche, a world of “bits and bytes” is itself a cliche. Librarians who admit that they were originally attracted to the field by the librarian's proverbial love of books — a world of imagination and poetry — have been embarrassed into silence. The day belongs to information managers rather than to bookmen, a term held doubly archaic since in this case the book is secondary to its bibliographic control and since the alleged inherent sexism of the term offends the sensibility of librarians more concerned about politics than about language. Until recently, a reference transaction ended invariably at a codex rather than at a terminal. At such a time as the present, therefore, the suggestion that the ideal reference librarian should model himself (or, needless to say, herself) on the ideal poet is likely to be greeted by many with incredulity and by some with derisive laughter.

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Reference Services Review, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1984

James Rettig

Wanted: Assistant Reference Librarian. Minimum of seven years experience in reference in academic libraries required. To provide general reference service to faculty…

Abstract

Wanted: Assistant Reference Librarian. Minimum of seven years experience in reference in academic libraries required. To provide general reference service to faculty, staff, and students. Other responsibilities include database searching, bibliographic instruction, and assistance with interlibrary loan. Some evening and weekend hours required. ALA‐accredited MLS required, second master's degree desirable.

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Reference Services Review, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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