Week 3 |Trends Reflection | References & Information Technology Providers

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      Michalina Lisik

      Throughout this weeks investigation, I was able to dig deep into the current and historical placement of references. My reflection on references and IT providers, will focus on the required adaption of library references, reflecting on modern user demands.


      In the simplest form, a reference is created to respond to relevant users seeking particular information (RUSA). During the late 1900’s, users seeking information grew dependent on library references. In addition, users utilised reference desks, namely centralised locations where librarians provided direction to relevant library materials (Reference Librarian). The centralisation of information required strong references to cater to individuals seeking specific material.

      However, in a modern sense, a centralised location for general information is often accessible within current computers and mobile devices. No longer are individuals travelling as often to libraries, to find information. Dependencies on modern forms of information providers are hence rising. As explored throughout the Library Journal, information sites such as Wikipedia are sources of great focus for modern information seekers. Coffman and Arret reinforce this due to a 40% decrease in reference transactions between 1997 and 2003 (Library Review).


      What does this mean for references? As the Library Journal identifies, Wikipedia and other IT information sites can provide basic information. However, references are most certainly required to allow for access of more sophisticated information. As explored by Barner, the sources and research available from search engines are not as reliable as those provided and referenced at a library, however the ease of using the internet makes up for it. In my personal reflection, I believe referencing and the presentation of these references must continue to adapt to facilitate the needs of modern users.

      Digital libraries are an excellent innovation facilitating the growth and reach to users. Throughout my initial research, I identified the change in reference demand as unsettling and almost ‘unfair’ to the past reference process. The basic idea that information is less sought after using transaction references made me believe that IT providers are preventing users to dig deep into library information. However, throughout further research into the issue, I identified a significant benefit to the adaptation discussed throughout this reflection. Rather than simply adapt to satisfy the trends of technology, libraries could harness and take advantage of the global reach of information. Accessibility through digital libraries encourages international contributions and reviews for information (Barner, 2011). This ultimately contributes to the human knowledge base and most importantly, maintains the strength and insight provided in the information.

      Supporting the familiar conclusions maintained throughout research on the changes of referencing, I too, believe that despite the decrease in reference transitions and the physical seeking of information, that references have maintained significance in the research world. The opportunities available to referencing, particularly in digital libraries, can further enhance the original forms of references.

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