RUSA Approves New Definition of Reference

At the January 14, 2008, meeting of the RUSA Board, a new definition of reference was approved. It was based on solicited input received on the RUSA Blog as of 12/8/07. Thank you to all those who gave input, as well as all those who worked hard to come up with a definition that could be supported by so many.

Lisa R. Horowitz
Chair, Reference Services Section (2007-2008)

Definition of Reference
Approved by RUSA Board, 1-14-08

by subgroup of RSS Executive Committee

Reference Transactions are information consultations in which
library staff recommend, interpret, evaluate, and/or use information resources
to help others to meet particular information needs. Reference transactions do
not include formal instruction or exchanges that provide assistance with
locations, schedules, equipment, supplies, or policy statements.

Reference Work includes reference transactions and other
activities that involve the creation, management, and assessment of information
or research resources, tools, and services.

(The following bullets clarify what is meant
by terms within the Reference Work definition.)

Creation and management of information
includes the
development and maintenance of research collections, research guides, catalogs,
databases, web sites, search engines, etc., that patrons can use independently,
in-house or remotely, to satisfy their information needs.

Assessment activities include the measurement and evaluation of reference work,
resources, and services.

BRASS Thomson Financial Student Travel Award

BRASS Thomson Financial Student
Travel Award

Thomson Financial Student Travel Award would like to encourage library school
student’s to apply for this year’s award to travel to the American Libraries
Association’s annual conference, which will be held in Anaheim, CA June 26-July
2, 2008. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

recipient shall have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career as a business
reference librarian and the potential to be a leader in the profession. This
may be demonstrated by: course work, internship, practicum, jobs, special
projects, publications and related activities.

recipient should be a student in an ALA
accredited library school.

recipient has not been awarded a previous or concurrent ALA sponsored travel award.

must be willing to participate in BRASS activities at the ALA Conference for
which the award has been made and write a short statement following the
conference on his or her experience to be published in RUSA Update.

 Nomination of Candidates

Applications for
nominations are to be made in writing via email to the Chair of the committee,
( The applicants will be evaluated by the BRASS committee
on the basis of their written applications, references, academic merit, and
potential for leadership in the profession, stating in detail the contributions
of the individual. Applications are due to the Chair by December 1 or the due date as specified of other ALA awards that year.

Applicants must submit a
written application for the award stating their academic and professional
achievements and reasons for choosing business librarianship as a profession
along with an academic transcript and three letters of reference

Presentation of the Award

Formal announcement and
presentation of the award shall be made at the BRASS membership meeting at each
ALA Annual Conference.

Form and/or Type of Award

award of $1,000 for travel expenses incurred at the ALA Annual Conference which
would include a one-year membership to ALA/RUSA/BRASS if the recipient is not
already a member.

recipient of the award will be formally invited by the Chair of BRASS to attend
BRASS Executive Committee meetings and other BRASS activities.

Tina M. Adams
Chair, BRASS Thomson Financial Student Travel Award Committee
Cline Library
Northern Arizona University
PO Box 6022
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
(928) 523-6849

A Grand Opening in Second Life

I took the opportunity to attend a lecture and the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the virtual campus of the San Jose State Unviersity's School of Library and Information Science in Second Life yesterday. The campus is very large and impressive (I'm building an album of screenshots here). The commitment by the university to using Second Life to extend their educational program and reach is also quite impressive. The lecture involved a live demonstration of their own virtual environment learning system called SLoodle, which connects Second Life (SL) with Moodle. Because I've been testing out Moodle as a possible alternative to the courseware management system we're using for our RUSA Professional Development Online course, I was very curious about SLoodle.

All avatars present at the lecture were invited to click on a tape recorder on stage and agree (opt in) to being recorded sloodlechatx350.jpgon a transcript generated in SLoodle's chat room. (Good thing I'd already registered!) See the image to the right, it shows Second Life in the background window, with SLoodle open to the chat transcript, with particpant icons to the far right. By typing into chat boxes in either window, the text was shared, meaning that someone could particpate whether they were in Second Life or not, or whether they had “opened” SLoodle. Having used WebCT's chat rooms for the past two years, I could see right away what a wonderful advantage this would be for handling discussions. In the Reference Interview and Readers' Advisory courses, we pair off particpants to roleplay interviews between librarian and information seeker. SLoodle would add another dimension to such activities. (It's also a shortcoming of SL that transcripts aren't automatically generated.)

When I asked about security issues, which have been raised by people I know and trust, I was told that Moodle is being used by a wide range of universities with very few issues. I'll be taking a course from the University of Illinois starting next week that uses SL and Moodle, so I'll ask about their experience with security as well as see from the student perspective how this blending of technologies works.