CDIG / CARLDIG Preconference

Marriage of Three Partners:
Collections, Reference and Technology
in an Emerging Electronic Household

Where's the Computer That ... ?
Collections and Technology:
It All Comes Together at the Reference Desk

Kathleen Dunn
AUL for Reference, Instruction and Collection Services
Cal Poly Pomona

Moderator: Jim Jacobs
Data Services Librarian
UC San Diego

SECOND SPEAKER Dunn enthusiastically supported the notion that cooperation was the only way that reference service was going to evolve in academic libraries. She sees a partnership involving reference, collections, systems and even technical service catalogers as participating in the delivery of public services. Her definition of reference included every kind of instruction, and she calls for a service plan for electronic resources that impacts everything. This range includes selection of resources, technical support--and she indicated the need for backups when technology fails--intervention for product stability, updating web-based access and information--especially from the 856 fields in bibliographic records--and urging new methods to cope with the complexity of information choices.
One of the emerging roles of librarians is to assist users with the new gateways to access. The Web leads to new paradoxes and offers terrific challenges. Users need help to distinguish and assess resources. Librarians have been successful in selling self-service; however, they are beginning to realize that in the electronic environment, especially with the Internet, users may not be selecting appropriate resources. Thus, Dunn advocates for librarian self-promotion as the best way to convince users that an information professional--the librarian--is needed to assist in quality 'Net searches.
Dunn suggests ways to facilitate collaboration in libraries to be assured that users are being directed appropriately: to gain an awareness of interdependence and to foster new interrelationships; to build stronger communication between units; to adapt the organizational structure to formalize cross-training among the staff, and to understand how decisions are made regarding selection, access, and use.
The CSUs are moving toward establishing more core collections for electronic resources and ways to practice more cooperative collection development. This is not easy, but the individual libraries need to have strong in-house library systems staffs to support changing services. This is a time of unsettling change, but they are very exciting times; electronic resources will be the center stage of reference transactions.

Julia Gelfand
UC Irvine

Annual Conference Highlights