- Trends in Teaching Reference
- No.7, p.19-32
Library education has been harassed by the vocationalism since the establishment of the first library school in the United States. The educational programs of library schools have continuously been re-examined to meet changing library and social needs. Teaching of reference courses in the past was concentrated upon making students familialized in the individual sources of recorded knowledge. When the title-centered reference course was considered no longer feasible, one alternative was to emphasize types of reference materials.
Current topics of reference teaching have been disclosed by following up the references quoted in current articles. Recently, such creative approach to teaching as a case study method appeared to be taking place in reference courses. This method relates the course content to the realities of a library situation. Adovocates of the method criticize traditional “textbook-lecture-problem” method for having been compelling students to memorize details of a large number of reference tools.
The history of teaching reference courses in the university level in Japan goes back to 1951, when the Japan Library School was first established. Although the content of the course in later period differed to some extend from the ones in earlier period, there was not much changes unti1 1961. The basic reference course was given in one year, in which both reference methods and reference materials were explained.
In order to allocate much more hours to discuss reference method) the introductory reference course was divided into two courses in 1968, ‘Reference and Information Sources’ and ‘Reference and Information Service.’ We arrange the content of latter course in five major areas, the first dealing with library users-their information gathering habits, analysis of needs, etc. The second unit deals with information sources-recorded information, the basic reference tools taught in the former course being used as illustrations, etc. The third unit deals with the reference process―― practical matters of reference interview, the formulation of search strategies, etc. The fourth unit deals with bibliographic services-compilation of bibliographies, indexes, etc. T. he fifth unit deals with reference-related administrative situations-the function of reference work, reference departments, etc.
In addition to the introductory reference courses, we had had an advanced reference course. In 1962-63, we decided to develop it after the pattern of library schools in the United States, grouping all materials into three broad fields, humanities, social sciences, and science and technology.
In reality, we are still forced to tackle with several problems in teaching reference. The reference work is not well recognized in Japan as an integrated function of the library. There are shortages in bibliographical tools to use Japanese materials effectively. As for the problems of the students, with a few exceptions, they have not had experience in or contacts with libraries rendering good reference services. Most of the students know very little about subject fields and they have had scarce opportunity to study or use reference tools previously. Taking these problems into consideration, we feel the strong need to cooperate with professional librarians at work in various types of libraries so that we can develop both method and content of the reference course based upon the gradual improvement in the field.
(School of Library and Information Science)
- 本文PDF (1,900K)