Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Fundamentals of Reference

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Fundamentals of Reference

Article excerpt

Fundamentals of Reference. By Carolyn M. Mulac. Chicago: ALA, 2012. 132 p. Paper $52 (ISBN 978-0-8389-1087-0).

In the introduction to this book, author Carolyn Mulac states that "the purpose of the Fundamentals of Reference is to present an outline of the big picture" (xi), and she undeniably accomplishes this goal. Fundamentals of Reference presents itself as an overview of its topic, touching briefly on the many aspects reference services in a very broad and general way. With two parts, "Reference Sources" and "Reference Services," this resource discusses a rather odd mix of general reference ideas and practices.

In the first part of the book, online and print reference resources are discussed in somewhat vague terms. The author first discusses reputable reference reviewing websites, including Reference Books Bulletin, a division of ALA's Booklist, and suggests that librarians should continually read such sites to stay informed. Next, the author provides brief overviews of standard online and print reference resources, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, and so forth. Wikipedia also makes an appearance in this section.

After a brief introduction, the second part of Fundamentals of Reference outlines reference services. Again, in broad strokes, the author discusses elements of the reference interview, as well as specifics about providing reference in a variety of formats: in person, on the telephone, online, and via chat services. …

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