The types of basic reference sources and the purpose of each


Row of colorfully bound books

 The primary intent of this course is to acquaint public services staff, including reference librarians, with basic reference sources; however, the information presented here may also serve as a tool for collection development.  The format is different from preceding courses, as each overview includes a definition and purpose of the category covered, plus an annotated list of recommended sources for reference work. 

The categories covered are:

Basic Reference Sources

Included are standard or recommended titles in each category.

When investigating the possibility of purchase, you may want to check Books in Print, or, or for ISBNs and prices.  Remember, too, that Web sites of publishers and booksellers often show sample pages, including indexes and tables of contents, for many books.

While it is important for librarians to be knowledgeable about basic reference tools and their use, many of the resources discussed in this course will be too expensive for a small or medium-sized library's collection.  Nevertheless, many resources listed in this course are priced under $100 and even under $50.

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