Magazine article American Libraries

RUSA Offers Practical Reference Tips

Magazine article American Libraries

RUSA Offers Practical Reference Tips

Article excerpt

One of the hallmarks of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) is a focus on the practical. Many of the division's 5,000 members are reference practitioners and they have developed handy guidelines and tools to help their harried colleagues. Here are a few:

Use "best" lists

There are many "best" lists, but with RUSA you can be assured of rigorous selection criteria and a well-vetted process. The annual lists of the best reference websites, reference sources, and books for adults are all available at In a recent American Libraries reader survey (Aug., p. 42), the RUSA list of Best Reference Sources, which runs in AL's May issue, received top marks with readers.

Got a business question?

Those without special education or training in business librarianship may dread getting business questions. Members of RUSA's Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) have two new online newsletters that can help. Public Libraries Briefcase has practical information on successful business programs in public libraries and how to find industry information. Academic BRASS has timely articles on information-competency skills for business students and electronic access to financial market data. Both are available at

If handling those business questions is challenging, dealing with medical questions can be even worse. RUSA's Guidelines for Medical, Legal, and Business Responses offers practical suggestions on how to handle these types of questions. …

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