Referring Information Requests

As of September 1st, we will be ready to use our online question management system, QuestionPoint, to refer information requests (reference questions) between libraries for our customers.  Terry Beck and Christa Werle are developing an announcement for all libraries, an Intranet page for best practices, and talking points and instructions for anyone working at an Information Desk or helping a customer submit a question through our online form:  Watch for a post & email with more information around September 1, 2011.

J Reference for Student Place MOSEs

RSC discussed the needs for reference collections in libraries focused on serving elementary through high school students.  We learned from Collection Development that we are buying fewer copies of circulating non-fiction in print because it tends not to get checked out with the exception of career, animal, and science information.  These are the three areas that the RSC also feels should be developed in a Student Place print reference collection.  In addition the circulating collections of a Student Place might be developed with career, animal, science, states & countries, health & medical, and 100 page biographies.  It was discussed that most students want information that they can take with them by checking out, making copies, or accessing online.  It appears that students are placing less and less demand for in library use only materials.

New Research Subject Headings

As we strive to best meet our customers’ needs with the resources that we have, the RSC has decided to change the way we manage our recommended web sites.  Instead of trying to maintain a lengthly collection of sites in categories and sub-categories, our Reference Services Committee will hand-pick the best 3-10 resources (Databases & Web sites) in each of the following subjects:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Biographies
  • Books & Literature
  • Business & Investing
  • Citizenship & Immigration
  • Consumer Information
  • Countries
  • Do-It-Yourself
  • Encyclopedias
  • Environmental Studies
  • Fast Facts
  • Genealogy
  • Green Living
  • Health
  • History
  • Island County Info
  • Job & Skills Development
  • Language Learning
  • Law & Government
  • Learning Online
  • Magazines & Newspapers
  • Maps
  • Religion & Philosophy
  • Science
  • Snohomish County Info
  • Social Issues
  • Technology

If you have any favorite sites that you currently access through our recommended web sites, please take a few moments to bookmark them in your own profile before the end of December as we cannot guarantee they will be included in the new sets of resources.

We are excited about a more stream-lined, user-friendly online collection!

Reference Services Committee Representatives

At yesterday’s RSC meeting we welcomed Kara Fox (OAK) as our newest committee member.  We’re now back up to full speed and have done some shuffling of assignments.  The following is the most current list of branches with RSC representatives:
Please contact your representative with any replacment requests, requests for new material, or if there are e-resource/reference training needs in your library.



BRI Darren
CLI Kara
COU Kara
DAR Mark
EDM Darren
FRE Kara
GRA Mark
LAK Nate
LNG Kara
LYN Darren
MAR Mark
MIL Nate
MON Nate
MTL Darren
MUK Darren
OAK Kara
SNO Nate
SUL Nate
WHE Terry & Christa

RSC Meeting: Federated Search

In an effort to improve the federated search of our online periodical and eRef content, the RSC is considering moving from the SerialsSolutions 360 platform to EBSCO’s Integrated Search platform.

From initial review, it looks like we would have greater flexibility with customization of the search and results interfaces with EBSCO’s product.  Results from our EBSCO resources would also return more quickly, improving the speed of the overall searching.  We can also apply the full-text filter prior to conducting the search with Integrated Search, a feature we have wanted for quite some time.

More new coming on this as we learn more about the products.  A decision will be made by July 1st.

RSC Meeting: Electronic Resource Renewals

At $10.71/search in 2009, the Reference Services Committee decided not to renew LitFinder in 2010.  Alternate free resources, including Project Gutenberg, seem to be meeting our needs in this subject area.

We will be renewing our subscriptions to All-Data and the Historical New York Times.

Next up for consideration?  WOIS.  To make an informed decision, we will ask all staff to evaluate/trial three career products mid-June to mid-July.  Based on feedback we will make a renewal/purchasing decision for WOIS, Job & Career Accelerator, and  Gale Career Transitions.

In June we will also be trialling ValueLine Online.  This fall we will need to make the decision to keep our print subscriptions in some branches or subscribe to the online product and provide access to all branches and remote users.