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Reference Policies

Librarians should use any resources available to them.  These include:  databases available through SAILOR; member library proprietary databases (in keeping with the library’s license agreements); free materials available via the web, and print resources.

Remote authentication of local database subscriptions

  • Sailor databases: Accessible to all with a valid public library card
  • When helping a customer search online databases, obtain the customer's library card number to authenticate them as users and to access their home library databases.
  • If the customer has no card, the librarian may use the generic (dummy) library card number provided in the customer’s library’s policy page (if available)
  • If the librarian cannot access the customer's  databases, the librarian may refer the customer to the library that owns the database subscription.

Website evaluation

Select those websites that are authoritative, non-commercial, and “objective.” When information is available only on a website that is questionable to the librarian, the librarian should inform the customer of this. (See https://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/ref/research/webeval.html for more on specifics regarding website evaluation.)

Cite Sources

Websites used in answering customer queries should be accompanied by a brief explanation of what the page is and why it is relevant to the customer’s information need.  When a website is not directly pushed to a customer, librarians must always cite the source used to provide the information.

Explicit Materials

AskUsNow! librarians will not intentionally provide pornography to customers of any age. Librarians should inform the customer that questions seeking online pornography are beyond the scope of the service.

AskUsNow! librarians should not knowingly bypass a filter in recognition of the wishes of the parent/guardian, school, or other institution which installed the filter. A website which contains such language or content can be provided but explicit content not cut and pasted.

Example: “lyrics to jay z show me what you got?” (librarian would push: http://rap.about.com/od/lyrics/a/JayShowMeLyrics.htm)

 

For resources, see Recommended Chat Resources.

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