LIBR 503 (3)


[No longer offered as of September 2015]

MLIS and Dual MAS/MLIS: LIBR 500, LIBR 501
MAS: completion of MAS core and permission of the SLAIS Graduate Adviser

GOALS: This course focuses on the knowledge and expertise needed for the provision of basic reference and information services.


At the completion of this course students will have:

  • An understanding of the components of the reference process, and the interpersonal and communication skills needed for effective reference assistance
  • The ability to analyze reference and research enquiries in order to assess user information needs
  • The ability to formulate search strategies that will efficiently identify and locate relevant information
  • A familiarity with the selection, evaluation, and use of the main types/categories of information sources
  • An understanding of the basic principles and practices for teaching bibliographic research skills and for providing readers’ advisory services
  • A familiarity with the major trends and the professional literature in reference services
  • The ability to clearly annotate selective items from the literature


  • The history of reference services; current trends; the changing role of the reference librarian
  • The reference process: the reference interview, question analysis, formulating search strategies, access, providing instruction, evaluation
  • Theories of information-seeking and communication
  • Basic reference sources: the Internet; directories; bibliographic sources; almanacs; indexes; biographical sources; encyclopedias; dictionaries; geographical sources; government documents
  • Providing and managing reference services; ethical issues; service to specific populations
  • The reference literature of Library and Information Studies