- Service and Its Historical Perspectives
- No.6, p.39-51
Whenever a particular situation of solving a problem arises, we seek for information in order to fi11 a gap in our knowledge. As the total stock of information possessed by a society becomes greater, we come to rely more and more on information sources in recorded form. There are various methods to acquire information such as conversation, reading, learning, research, etc. Reference work is one of the methods to achieve the same purpose. If it is to function adequately in the society in transmitting knowledge, it must be used together with other methods.
Reference work began to take shape in American public libraries in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the desirability of providing reference assistance was widely accepted in this period. The idea of the reference work performed in public libraries influenced the public services of college and university libraries and most administrators agreed on, by the end of the first quarter of the twentieth century, that undergraduates needed help in using libraries and their resources.
Around the turn of the century, American public libraries began to provide services to the industrial world. Special libraries attached to industrial organizations grew rapidly in number in the second decade of this century. It was in these special libraries that information services developed, because they were set up for providing information for the specific purpose, namely for mission oriented purposes. Information service may be considered as a specific form of reference work in its most advanced stage of development. In future, other types of libraries are expected to expand their range of reference work along the same line as already followed by special libraries.
(School of Library and Information Science)
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