Unit 3: Reference and Information Access Tools

1) List the chief reasons for providing reference service in Libraries. 
The underlying rationale for reference service has been based on four aspects, namely, to develop the role of the library as an educational institution, to assist academic community, to help users select best documents from the vast universe of recorded intimation and to justify the existence of the library to the persons/people who provided financial support.

2) State the three classes of reference materials required in an ideal reference collection. 
The reference collection should include three classes of materials:
• strictly reference books
• standard works of information
• all such materials that cannot be lent for home reading

3) Name briefly the three broad categories of reference sources 
The three broad categories of reference sources are: primary, secondary and tertiary. These are based on originality of materials.
Primary Sources
These are materials, which are the most authentic and original. They usually take the form of a journal article, a monograph, dissertation, report or a patent. These materials are also referred to as primary as they have not passed through any filtering mechanism like condensation, interpretation or evaluation and are the original work of the author. The primary sources are very large in number and can be usually accessed by the help of some secondary source like, an indexing service or an abstracting service.
Secondary Sources
A secondary source is one that gives information about a primary source. The original information is selected, modified and rearranged in a suitable format for the purpose of easy location by the users.
e.g. An abstracting periodical or a bibliography. Tertiary Sources The tertiary sources consist of information that is a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources. They include lists of all kinds of sources of reference, works like the encyclopaedias, dictionaries, yearbooks, bibliography of bibliographies, almanacs, etc.

4) Why do users require reference sources?
The users require reference sources as they have following problems:
• need to obtain information quickly for a specific problem area or query.
• need for selection of information, as there is overabundance of information
• wants to specialize only in a restricted subject area
• difficulty to obtain copies of required material or the material itself
• difficulties and inadequacy of time for evaluation and selection of materials
• impact of information technology on society
• modern information access tools and technologies developed for library and information centers,

5) How can the librarians help the users to locate information and to overcome the problems faced by them
The users can overcome the problems faced by them based on following aspects:
• identification of reference books information access tools available in the library
• locating reference books and their suppliers outside the library
• organising new reference books in the library to cater to the information needs
• setting up cooperative mechanisms with other libraries and information organisations so as to pool the resources.

6) Indicate the different categories of queries visible in the libraries. 
 The different categories of queries visible in the libraries relate to:
• Author/title queries
• Directional and administrative enquiries
• Fact-finding queries
• Material-finding queries.
• Research queries.

7) Mention the areas of information technology that have influenced the reference environment. 
 The following areas of information technology have influenced the reference environment:
• Electronic databases
• Online databases
• Teletex and Videotext systems
• Online Public Access Catalogues.

Online Access : It is interactive access to computerized databases of information.
Reference Books : The books which are used to answer immediate questions of users. These books are kept for reference only and are not allowed to be used outside the library. Any publication, which is used to obtain authoritative information.
Reference Material : Books and other library materials which may not be borrowed for use out of the library, either because of their nature is such that they are prepared for brief consultation rather than for continuous reading, or they belong to a reference collection from which items may not be borrowed.
Reference Service : Is the establishing of contact between Reader and Book by personal service.
Teletex : A broadcast system, providing pages of regularly updated in-formation accessible to
user. It acts like an electronic newspaper.
Videotext : It is an interactive system, using telephone lines and is avail-able to subscribers only. It provides extensive information to searchers through hierarchically structured pages.

Source: IGNOU Study Material
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