Il futuro del reference


Riportiamo brevemente un riassunto di una discussione in corso sull lista DIG_REF.

La premessa è questa mail di Susan Beck <susanb(at)>:

Greetings, I have been asked to give a presentation on the Future of Reference. I thought I would ask YOU, the people who do Reference the most — what you think are the *two* greatest challenges for reference today.

How do you envision the future of reference?
Why don’t you talk to a few young lawyers, engineers, investment bankers, etc. The knowledge industry doesn’t stop at the library door. I am rather stunned at your response.

Come sarà il reference in futuro? Esisterà ancora un servizio di reference per la net-generation?

Ecco alcune delle risposte dei bibliotecari americani (grassetti nostri) :

Hi Susan

Moving from an information storage to an information sharing format. People prefer to share information rather then take the time to read it. Is this an outgrowth of social networks or are social networks an outgrowth of people’s desire to share? I haven’t figured this out yet.

The follow up a course is not just information literacy, but teaching people the value of using stored information and taking the time to do it.

The question of time is actually more important. I just watched a mother not help her daughter with homework despite the fact I pointed out extally what they needed to do. She just didn’t want to make the effort.

If we are talking the general college undergrad student population, and the potential employers of such students, I think it’s naive to assume that those employers put a premium on the ability to search well.


Making students understand that no one is going to pay them $60,000 a year to google — seriously making them understand how complex and often downright difficult it is to get relevant, superb information without putting effort into a search.

>>what you think are the *two* greatest challenges for reference today

1) Maintaining reference collections... in the dash into the 21st century an appalling amount of stuff is being pitched and budgets are being radically shifted to the electronic (some of which will not last or will not have deep backfiles)2) Hold to the privacy ethic, though the world around you be mad for social software and had adopted a devil may care attitude about their own protections. This will matter again, probably sooner than later.Can’t think about the future of reference right now…because I’m on the reference desk in 5 minutes!


Here’s one for now and it applies to the present AND future:Teach all ages to ask questions — and how to ask and where + whom to ask
— and that it is OK to ask!”Reference” is of limited value if few want or know they need it. — and aren’t afraid to use it.Hmmmm Just thought of a number 2 — which is a follow up:

Teach how to evaluate the answers received and what to do with the results.


Hi Susan,

Good questions.I think two big challenges are 1) maintaining a unique social and institutional relevance in the evolving popular mind, and 2) making relevant use of technology.As for my visions of reference services in the future, I have a couple.One involves moving from “the reference desk” model to something more like an office visit where patrons relax in a comfortable waiting area environment with interesting distractions and light refreshments before being called back to an individual librarian’s desk for a one-to-one consultation. While the reference desk remains, it’d have more of a triage function, handling the more simple ready reference kind of questions while sending the more involved or complicated questions back to the waiting area. Maybe this model is used in some libraries now. I’d be interested in hearing from any practitioners.Another vision I have is doing virtual reference from anywhere with broadband connectivity, preferably somewhere warm, sunny and muy tranquilo.

Il reference del futuro non sarà tanto insegnare un’abilità pratica di tipo tecnico-informatico, cosa nella quale i net-geners eccellono, quanto la valutazione e scelta dell’informazione reperita.

Reference e information literacy andranno sempre di più a braccetto?


Una risposta a “Il futuro del reference

  1. Segnaliamo una ricchissima presentazione della collega Virginia Gentilini
    disponibile a questo indirizzo
    Una summa di tutto quello che c’è da sapere sul reference


Inserisci i tuoi dati qui sotto o clicca su un'icona per effettuare l'accesso:


Stai commentando usando il tuo account Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Google+ photo

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Google+. Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Foto Twitter

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Twitter. Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Foto di Facebook

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Facebook. Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )


Connessione a %s...