LIBR 539G (1)


Offered on an irregular basis


MLIS and Dual MAS/MLIS: Completion of MLIS Core or permission of SLAIS Graduate Advisor

MAS: completion of MAS core and permission of the SLAIS Graduate Adviser

GOAL: This course will provide an understanding of the nature of business reference services, specifically aiming to offer both practical skills and hands-on experience with managing the business reference interaction.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe business reference within the context of other subjects and of different types of libraries;
  • Conduct effective business reference interviews;
  • Analyze common business requests for possible subsidiary and related questions;
  • Predict potential sources and/or publishers for specific types of information; and
  • Communicate resource and search strategy suggestions clearly and concisely.


  • Identify and discuss the differences and similarities between business reference and reference assistance for other subjects;
  • Compare and contrast business reference interactions in special, academic, and public libraries;
  • Identify and discuss the varying information requirements of the disciplines within business (accounting, marketing, etc.);
  • Identify and practice reference interview techniques that can clarify a client’s business information needs;
  • Practise analyzing common business requests for possible subsidiary and related questions;
  • Identify and practise approaches that aid in finding relevant business information sources;
  • Discuss ways to include business information literacy instruction within a reference interaction;
  • Practise communicating concisely and clearly with clients both in-person and online;
  • Identify and apply evaluation criteria for business resources and discuss ways of conveying the importance of resource evaluation to clients; and
  • Compare online, telephone, and in-person business reference interactions.