A-Z Common Reference Questions for Academic Librarians

Facet. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781783304110. pap. $79.99. PRO MEDIA
For frontline reference staff, breadth of basic knowledge is the key to confidence and, as often follows, to successful patron interactions. Dawson (academic support librarian, London Sch. of Economics Lib.) embraces this theory fully with her heavily UK-focused “survival guide” covering common reference queries, organized into 100-plus alphabetized chapter entries. Each entry begins with a snapshot of typical questions, followed by common starting points and recommended sources—the last of which is divided into useful subcategories, such as key organizations, libraries and archives, study guides, news services, major databases, and journal articles. Entries include not only major academic subjects (environment, history) but also formats and interdisciplinary issues familiar to anyone experienced with reference (copyright, higher education, research methods). Dawson’s brevity when it comes to describing resources makes scanning chapters a snap—yet this limit, along with its default UK perspective, makes its practical use as a reference source in the United States questionable.
VERDICT An efficient and well-organized resource for UK reference desks and novice staff looking to gain confidence in that setting.

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