Monday, May 16, 2011

Terms Associated with Reference

In our first lesson we looked at some of the terms associated with reference. A term in the glossary or our textbook that I have been thinking a lot about in the past five years is "Scope." Scope is a concept I am struggling with in regards to reference and reference skills for K to 5 students, especially K to 2. What do appropriate reference resources for these patrons look like and what should be the scope of a reference collection be at the K to 5 level?

Oftentimes, I find that in current reference works available for younger students that adjustments made for readability also equals limiting content or scope to such a degree as to make the source useless.  The reference work is so limited and simplistic that it just teaches the young user to go where the older students go for information and reference: Google. I am hoping to find suggestions for quality reference works that have the readability level appropriate for users below grade three.

Our text's glossary also included the Big 6 Problem Solving Model.  This is just one of many models or recipes for inquiry learning.  Our instructor pointed out that it was a proprietary model which made it a little less desirable.  I do agree this is problematic. Nevertheless I find its simplicity and vocabulary to much more accessible to K to 5 users than that used in other models including the Points of Inquiry model produced by the BC Teacher Librarians Association.

In the discussion forum Sarah Tait and Jelica Mihaldzic, and I believe a few others, lamented the acronyms in the glossary.  They found the full terms already difficult to remember without the addition of a meaningless and unmemorable acronym.  I  think they point out something very important.  I think as librarians we should take note of what some lawyers are advocating in terms of simplifying legal language into "plain language".  As librarians we have a mandate to make the retrieval and use of information as easy as possible. Acronyms don't help.

Along with Jennifer Reed and others I share the same surprise at the inclusion of the term reference interview.  Perhaps this surprise is something that is shared more among elementary teacher-librarians in our group who have little opportunity to engage in such discussions.  Anne points out that Ann Riedling is referring more to the public library contexts where such interviews are common.  As Anne points out, the teaching and subsequent use of an information framework would negate the occurrence of the reference interviews that Ann Riedling is referring to.

I found Anica Teglasi's comment that the glossary terms helped her reflect on what materials she had in her own reference collection very useful.  She felt hers was "pitiful." I assume she said this because she had very few of these resources in her own reference collection. Because of Anica's comment, I took some time looking at the different kinds of reference works and realized I didn't have a number of them or they were quite old.  I will need to learn a more about how necessary some are to a K to 5 library before I become too forlorn but the glossary has served as an unexpected cause for reflection and evaluation of my reference collection. 

1 comment:

  1. Actually, the glossary employed by Reidling is minimal - compared to the Reference course that I took in Library/Information school in Texas, we are only scraping the surface of reference. I agree about plain English in general but in this milieu there are a few things that require their own nomenclature.