Magazine article American Libraries

RASD's New Interlibrary Reference Request Form

Magazine article American Libraries

RASD's New Interlibrary Reference Request Form

Article excerpt

A USER APPROACHES THE REFERENCE DESK looking for the origin and a recipe for "Buffalo chicken wings." She tried them in Buffalo, N.Y., a few years ago and has not been able to find a recipe or information about them. You try such sources as 1001 Chicken Recipes, Complete Chicken Cookbook, and Chicken and Game Cooking with no luck. You know you could probably get the answer from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System--but how?

Can you answer every question asked at your reference desk? Librarians are often asked questions or receive information requests for which their collections are inadequate. Interlibrary loan has long been an established method of obtaining books and articles not available locally, but external requests for information, when a specific bibliographic citation is lacking, has been a hit-or-miss, nonstandardized affair. Although many libraries have arrangements with other libraries allowing them to refer informational or reference queries to each other, and some states and networks have established formal cooperative reference agreements, the procedures ofr requesting and referring vary greatly.

The need to standardize and facilitate this process was recognized by the Cooperative Reference Services Committee of ALA's Reference and Adult Services Division, and during the past few years the committe has developed a model Information Request Form that was approved by the RASD Board of Directors in July 1984 (see opposite page).

The form is primarily intended to facilitate intersystem communication, but could certainly be used within systems as well. It has been tested for a three-month period by two reference service operations, the Suburban Library System (Oak Lawn, Ill.), and the Oregon State Library (Salem, Oreg.). Copies were also sent to all the state library agencies for review and evaluation, and the form has also been made available for use on ALANET. The committee is now reviewing the feedback from these sources to determine if any changes should be made before the form is released for general use.

Use of the form

The form may be used whenever a library cannot answer a question or supply information requested by a patron and would like to ask another library for assistance. The front of the proposed form, with an example of a question, is shown on the opposite page. The four-part form includes instructions for use on the back of each sheet. …

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