CORE Reference Fundamentals (online learning course)
Jun 28, 2005 - Aug 23, 2005
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
December 4, 2007 - February 11, 2008
- Are you stepping into the role of providing reference assistance for the first time in your career at your library?
- Do you find that it’s time to brush up on your basic reference skills so you can provide expert reference service in the contemporary world?
- Would you like to become more comfortable with the practice of excellent reference work?
All kinds of libraries provide reference assistance directly to users in person, by telephone, through email and online chat. And all of these reference services require well trained staff who are comfortable with both the methods and underlying values of reference work. Whether you have been recently promoted to support professional reference services, or are returning to reference work some years after you completed your library degree, you’ll need a clear understanding of where to look today for well evaluated answers, how to understand accurately the information needs users present through their questions, and when to utilize which kind of resource to uncover pertinent information. This course will acquaint you with how and why to perform the reference interview, which resources are best suited to which types of reference questions and user needs, how to use both print and Web based resources appropriate to the reference need, and how reference work fits into the mission of your library. You’ll learn how situational factors, such as the layout and policies of your library, are a part of providing excellent reference service, as well as become aware of alternative methods for delivering reference help to your users even when the library is closed.
Workshop Description: This eight-week online learning course will provide you with the opportunity to both explore and practice using reference interview methods and a variety of print and Web based reference tools. Through individual and group exercises, you will become acquainted with the diverse needs of different types of users, including those with physical disabilities and those with whom you do not share a common language. You will learn about the basic structure of indexes and how indexing promotes ready reference opportunities. We will spend time examining and using a variety of ready reference print and Web-based resources, as well as specialized resources for such niche reference needs as homework, government research, and inquiries about images or sounds. The instructor will provide sample policies, templates, cheat sheets and a webliography, as well as practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately.
During the course, you will be doing exercises and taking quizzes. You will also participate in weekly online discussion forums as part of the online learning process.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Module One: The Reference Interview
- Goals and components of the reference interview
- Helping with sensitive questions
- Phrases to know and practice
- Module Two: Library Users’ Rights to Privacy and Open Access
- The Bill of Rights, ALA’s Bill of Rights, and CIPA
- Working across barriers of disability or communication
- Responding to age needs appropriately
- Module Three: Your Library as a Reference Tool
- Building layouts
- Special collections
- Your library’s website
- The structure of your library’s catalog
- Module Four: Construction and Use of Indexes
- Comparing and contrasting print and online indexing
- Databases and ready reference work
- Module Five: Evaluating Reference Tools
- Print tools
- Online resources
- Module Six: The Most General—and Powerful—Ready Reference Tools
- Almanacs and encyclopedias
- Search engines
- Module Seven: Specialized Reference Tools
- Dictionaries, atlases, and directories
- Online guides to language, geography, and locations
- Module Eight: Beyond Ready Reference
- Nontraditional reference sources, like Flickr
- Government publications (online and in print)
- Niche inquiries, including homework, sports, and celebrities
Online Learning Details:
This eight-week course will be taught online using the web. When you register, you will receive a registration confirmation that will include the URL to get to the course, as well as a username and password.
Every student proceeds through the online learning modules at his or her own pace. Students should expect to commit to spending a minimum of 2 to 2½ hours per week on this course in order to be successful. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, you will be expected to log in to the course each week to do that week's assignment. We ask that you log in sometime during the first week of the course to begin the course work.
Your instructor will be available for limited consultation support for two weeks after the official end date of a course, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that, to give those who have fallen behind time to work independently on the course. However, you will be expected to accomplish the majority of the course in synchronization with your peers during the first eight weeks.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone from the library community who must respond to users seeking reference information. This course is especially geared to paraprofessional staff new to reference work or librarians who are not familiar with contemporary tools and methods that support excellent reference service.
This course is taught over the web. You must:
- Have an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.
- Be able to save Microsoft Word .doc or Adobe .pdf files to your computer and print them out. (For .doc files, a free Word Viewer is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=en. Search for "Word Viewer." For .pdf files, a free Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html).
- Be comfortable navigating on the web and navigating back and forward on a website that uses frames.
System Requirements: The online learning product that Infopeople uses is called Angel. The following are minimum system requirements for using Angel. You will need access to a computer that has at least these specifications to participate in an online course:
- Internet Explorer 6.0 and above, Netscape 7.1 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- Mozilla 1.4 and above (which is the same engine as Netscape 7.1), Safari 2.0 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- OS X and above (OS 9 will NOT work with our online learning product)
If you are not comfortable with any of the above, please consider taking this course with a colleague who does meet these requirements.
Fee: $150 for those in the California library community and $300 for those out-of-state.
Course Start: This 8-week-long online learning course starts on December 4, 2007.
Since this course overlaps with Christmas and New Year's Day, the eight modules will be offered over ten weeks. You will not be expected to work on the course during the weeks that contain Christmas and New Year's Day.