REFERENCE & USER SERVICES
LIS 205 - Introduction to Information Sources and Services
Dr. Shari A. Lee
LIS 205: Introduction to Information Sources and Services served as an overview to the terminology, concepts, and practices used in the delivery of information services that effectively meet user needs in a variety of settings. The course focused primarily on the reference process as well as the content, organization, use, and evaluation of print and electronic resources (Lee, 2014). Upon completion of this course I believe that I have gained the skills and knowledge needed to retrieve, evaluate, and produce diverse information for a range of users. The artifacts below confirm my proficiency in the 5th ALA Core Competency – Reference and User Services.
The first artifact chosen for this competency was the final assignment for this course, the LibGuide. The final product was a group effort accomplished with two other classmates, Rachel Sferlazza and Colleen Hutchens. After much deliberation, my team members and I decided on a topic that interested us all, fashion in America. We wanted to find out all we could about this topic but knew that it could end up being too broad. In order to ensure that we did not overload ourselves with too much work we decided to narrow down the timeline from 1900 to 1999. We focused on researching books, articles (historical and contemporary), exhibitions, websites, photographs, and videos related to this history of fashion in America. This assignment allowed us to explore several of the key concepts presented in the course such as effectively searching, retrieving, and evaluating high quality information resources to be disseminated across a technological platform and accessed by a wide range of diverse users.
The second artifact that demonstrates my competency in Reference and User Services is the Information Source Analysis assignment. The purpose of this assignment was to choose three similar information resources and compare and contrast them thus understanding the best resources to utilize when researching specific topics. I chose the 5th edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia, Britannica, Encyclopædia online (www.britannica.com) and Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org). This assignment allowed me to fully understand how to apply standard evaluative criteria for analyzing and comparing information sources in order to determine the fitness of sources to meet particular institutional and user information needs.
The artifacts discussed above demonstrate my proficiency in this competency; however what I gained from this course cannot be demonstrated by a paper or project. The most helpful part of this course was its real world applications. While I was enrolled in Introduction to Information Sources & Services I was also working at the reference desk at St. John’s University (2 hours a week) as part of my graduate assistantship duties. I was able to learn the theories and concepts of Reference and User Services and then apply them in real life. It had been a long time since I have touched a research database and this course reintroduced me to the world of research after several years out of it. Introduction to Information Sources & Services not only gave me the confidence to demonstrate my newfound skill in retrieving and analyzing information resources for our patrons but it also allowed me to apply the appropriate communication skills in one-on-one reference interviews, something that I was very nervous about.
Lee, S. (2014). Course syllabus LIS 205 introduction to information sources and services fall 2014 [Course handout]. Division of Library and Information Science, St. John’s University, Queens, NY.