Information Retrieval and Dissemination Notes

Introduction to Dissemination Of Information

Dissemination is a service that takes information to the user preferably before he formulates a demand for it. Dissemination is also the distribution or the sending of information whether specifically requested for or not members of an organization by a librarian or an information officer.

Information dissemination includes all the activities that take information to users. It ensures that the clientele get the most relevant. Comprehensive desirable and reliable information on a regular basis. It involves specific activities which include: – reference, circulation, bibliographic services, and current awareness services among others.

As part of information dissemination functions, a library establishes and maintains a collection of reference sources. Provides answers to simple factual reference queries directs users who need research information to possible sources of information. Publicize new issues and communicates directly with the users. It also routes information sources to users whose interests are known particularly in research and special libraries, directs information seekers to relevant information in the library or obtains such information from other libraries using knowledge of their collection and systematically gathers research information sources pertinent to research queries and conveys them to persons who need them. It also compiles selective bibliography based on users requests. The library/Information center also lists current literature received including the copying of abstracts in abstracting journals and distributing them to users, locates, synthesizes, evaluates information and provides it in a written summarized form. It also translates articles written in other languages into the language understood by users and provides current information relevant to user’s interest on an individual and users basis i.e. Selective dissemination of information – SDI. It also identifies the resource persons who could be consulted in response to queries received from users using previously acquired knowledge of the community.

Methods Of Disseminating Information

The following are the methods used in dissemination information

  • Through circulation services- Circulation of periodicals and original documents. It also entails the circulation periodical table of content lists.
  • Reprographic services- Photocopying and distributing tables of contents and other information to users.
  • Compilation of bibliographies and reproduction of guides and catalogues- these are either general guides or subject guides.
  • Indexing and Abstracting
  • Literature searching.

Revision Exercise 1.

  1. Explain briefly the meaning of “Dissemination of information” in regard to a library or an information center.
  2. State reasons why libraries undertake dissemination of information and its relevance.
  3. Discuss the methods used to disseminate information and the role of computers and other information technology in the entire process.
  4. Distinguish between current awareness services and selective dissemination of information.




2.1. Introduction

Reference sources are information sources or tools that embody specific or general information requirements of the information seekers. The information is needed by the users to either advance their knowledge or help them to solve academic or professional problems.

They can also be defined as documents that possess a reliable databank or factual, conceptual and addressional information that can provide the right answers to different queries presented by patrons or users.

They are secondary or derived documents based on original or primary documents.

They do not contain new knowledge but they repeat and organize knowledge that is available.

Secondary sources are information sources about primary or original information, which have been modified or selected for the purpose of an audience.

Reference is a word derived from the word ‘refer’ which means to cross check, to direct or to see to. In information science, it means to direct or refer for information confirmation.

Reference collection in a library or information center is referred by the users for specific answers and they answer questions varying from facts to figures, to dates and locations, names and events, spellings and quotations and a lot more. It helps a user in getting quick answers and shortens the search time for the users. They contain explicit information arranged for quick use. Reference collection also refers to publications designed for reference purposes and are arranged so that specific information can be quickly extracted. They are not meant to be read from cover to cover, but consulted as the need arises.

They are used to look up for factual information of almost any kind, and they exist in almost all fields and are used for definitions, explanations, numerical data, names and addresses, brief introduction to subjects among others.

They are categorized into general reference sources and subject reference sources.

The general reference sources include encyclopedia, almanacs, atlases yearbooks, handbooks, manual and directories maps and atlases, gazetteers, biographies, bibliographies etcetera.

Subject reference sources include subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, subject yearbooks and others.

The reference sources are available in both book formats and electronic formats. A computer is required to access sources in electronic formats.

2.2. Types of Reference Sources

There are two classes or types of references source namely the source type and control- access or directional sources.

2.2.1. Source Type

They are those types of reference sources that embody specific or general information. They help users to advantage. Such sources are like Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Almanacs/yearbooks, Handbooks, Geographical sources and others. Encyclopedias

A general encyclopedia is a reference source that contains information on all branches of knowledge. A subject encyclopedia treats comprehensively a specified branch of knowledge or literally work. General sources contains extensive information on all branches of knowledge. The entries are usually arranged in alphabetical order. General Encyclopedia contains information on almost all subjects and they attempt to give broad overview of the subjects.

Forms Of Encyclopedias

There are two forms of reference sources and in this case Encyclopedias namely; subject Encyclopedia which treats a specified branch of knowledge and General Encyclopedia which covers all branches of knowledge.

Features of a subject Encyclopedia

  • The scope is limited to a clearly defined branch of knowledge e.g. chemical engineering. Information science or medicine
  • Level of treatment is likely to be technical or scholarly. It is thus designed for use by experts and the length of articles range from a few lines to several pages.
  • The articles are illustrated and may contain tables or charts.

Features of general Encyclopedia

  • It contains fairly long articles presenting all branches of knowledge.
  • Themes of Encyclopedias are selective. Only some major themes are thoroughly or exhaustively discussed.

Criteria for Evaluating Encyclopedias

  • Purpose
  • Authority
  • Currency
  • Completeness
  • Arrangement
  • Format (physical structure and content organization, Ink, Spacing, Cover, headings, type faces, binding
  • Scope- Coverage, content
  • Special features- e.g. indexes, table of content, lists of abbreviations, abstract, glossary, footnotes.

NB: Evaluation of a reference source aims at creating a good understanding of these sources or determine whether they are worth. Evaluation also helps to determine the currency and relevance of the reference sources. It also helps to improve in collection development and planning. It helps to avoid wastage of financial, physical and material resources.

  • Purpose

The purpose for which the encyclopedia was intended has to be evaluated to determine whether it fulfills or accomplishes its purpose.

Clues of what the author expects his work to accomplish.

The entries in a table of contents are properly arranged to facilitate location and retrieval of information. A good reference source should accomplish its purpose e.g. an encyclopedia of dance should have information about dance.

  • Authority

These deals with the credentials of the contributors which is enhanced by the professional experience, academic qualifications, occupation of the contributors of the work etc. authority can also be judged from the previous works authored by the same author or contributors.

  • Currency

A good encyclopedia should be continuously revised to add new ideas and information.

  1. Data or information changes so quickly that last years almanacs or encyclopedias may be historically outdated to answering current series of questions. The currency can be determined from edition statement or date of publication. An information center should hence update its collection regularly.
  • Completeness

A good encyclopedia should portray completeness i.e. no significant information or data should be omitted.

  • Arrangement

The series of an encyclopedia must have some systematic sequence to facilitate retrieval or access to its content. If possible, information should be arranged alphabetically in a dictionary form.

  • Format

It is evaluated in terms of the legibility the size of type faces and type fonts, spacing, the bolding of headings and subheadings, quality of paper, ink, the type of binding, type of cover etc.

Illustrations e.g. where charts, tables and diagrams are used, they should be clear and related to the text.

  • Consistency

Within the work itself the reader should be able to find the general type of information in each entry e.g. place of birth.

  • Scope

This highlights areas covered in the reference work. A good encyclopedia must state what is included in reference work and what is not included in the inclusion and the exclusion e.g. introduction.

  • Special features

A good encyclopedia should have features such as table of contents, index, and a list of abbreviations, foreword, and glossary all which will facilitate good understanding. Dictionaries

They are defined as compendiums of words in a language arranged in alphabetical order and defined in the same language or words in a language translated into one or more languages. A dictionary is a book which concerns itself with the meanings, pronunciation, usage, history, derivations among others. The words are usually organized in alphabetical order. They give comprehensive reading a language and help in standardizing of a language.

Dictionaries help in finding the right spellings, meanings, pronunciations and syllabications (words division). They indicate the major places, names, personal names, abbreviations etc.

General dictionaries provide information about words, their spellings, meaning and pronunciation, where they come from and how they are used. The words are entered alphabetically.

Forms of dictionaries

They are categorized as General English Language dictionaries both abridged and unabridged, foreign language dictionaries (bi-lingual) that give the meaning of one language into another and subject dictionaries that give definitions of words e.g. dictionary of geography, chemistry etc.

Evaluation Of Dictionaries

The following is the criteria followed in evaluating dictionaries:

  1. Authority
  2. Scope- it is considered from the following view points; purpose of the work, number of entries, special inclusions, vocabulary and emphasis is given on the number of definitions that can be found within the dictionary.
  3. Word treatment- spellings (American or British) history of words or etymology
  4. Currency- this means it must be kept current and be able to express new words or expressions like through the revised edition.
  5. Special features i.e. list of places, colleges, universities, table of weights and measures or units and should have lists of abbreviations etc.


A directory is a list of persons or organizations systematically arranged usually in alphabetic or classed order giving addresses affiliations for individuals and addresses, inctions and similar data for organizations. Directories give information about individual firms, addresses or telephone numbers. They also give full names of an individual firm and they describe particular manufacturers products or services like the directory of information centers that give the names of the centers and the services offered. There is a wide range of these sources.

Some of them are published mainly to make provision for qualified personnel to be known and usually they provide names, addresses, qualifications and institutions where they work. Other directories contain information about institutions and they facilitate accessibility. The world of learning provides information on universities, colleges, research institutions, libraries and museums. ALMANACS

An almanac is a compendium of useful data and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events, subjects and others.

They are produced annually and contain information of a miscellaneous nature but predominantly statistical.

An almanac summarizes the current events of all kinds and hence contains current records of facts, statistics and charts like the Whittakers Almanac, which is useful in providing information through data, statistics and figures. It is an annual publication concerning a calendar frequently accompanied by astronomical data and other information. It can also be defined as a compendium of factual and statistical information retrospective as well as current covering local, national and international affairs. Almanacs give facts, statistics and basic information on almost everything. They are excellent reference sources for population, business, sports and agricultural statistics. They also list the elected officials of the states and local government. Typical almanacs will include a section of important events that occur in the year of passing e.g. in commerce, population and general statistics. YEARBOOKS

According to American Library Association (ALA). The glossary, an year book is an annual volume of information in a descriptive and statistical form sometimes limited to a special field.

It is an annual compendium of current information. The difference between Almanacs and yearbooks is that the former cover information of the previous years as well as considerable amounts of current materials and the latter usually covers current information of a given year. They are books of the year presenting events of the immediate past year through, brief articles, tables and charts. It is a supplement of an encyclopedia.


  1. They are annuals meaning that they are published yearly
  2. Both sources are ready reference sources
  3. Almanacs contain both current and retrospective information
  4. Yearbooks contain only current information
  5. Either of the two provides simple figures/facts without explanation.


  1. These sources provide quick and ready information to majority of questions raised by users.
  2. They are the best reference sources to current trends and development in various fields of discipline.
  3. They update standard text which are frequently revised.
  4. Because of their recency, Almanacs/ yearbooks either directly or by their implication indicates trends for development for scientific advances.
  5. They are also useful for providing single figures or facts that do not need explanation.

NB/ Except for updating and revision of almanacs, much of the same basic materials are carried over year after year. HAND BOOKS AND MANUALS

A hand book is a compilation of miscellaneous information in a compact and handy form. A handbook is a collection miscellaneous groups of facts centered on one central theme or subject area e.g. a hand book of chemistry, geography etc.

NB/ A hand book gives a good part of the information in a shorthand form freely employing tables, graphs, symbols, formulas etc and the jargons which only the experts of the subject can understand. They provide functional information on a particular subject and it may contain brief easy to consult tables, charts and illustrations. It is a hand reference source arranged in a brief, easy to consult format. MANUALS

A manual is an instruction book which provides instructions as to how to perform a job or how to do something by means of specific or clear direction. They are similar to hand books but serve more as guides. They give instructions to the user on how to do something. ATLASES

They are usually a one volume for maps, plates and charts of geographical areas like a map of Kenya. They have short articles, tables of statistics or additional map showing certain aspects of the level of population or other information. GLOSSARIES, THESAURUS, BIOGRAPHIES

A glossary is a collection of words that explain in details or in the right scientific term the meaning of words e.g. the glossary of library and information science.

A thesaurus is a list of words which explain the meanings in synonyms and related words and they give the strength of words in upper and lower meanings.

A biography is concerned with the lives of persons in total and gives the history of the persons depicting it in relation to the times the person lived.


They link information seekers to the appropriate information or source of information and they also aim at keeping control over the published literature. They range from bibliographies, catalogues, abstracts both in book form and electronic form or online.


A trained reference librarian should examine a reference source before it’s incorporated into the collection. He/she should consider the purpose of the source, its authority, scope and the proposed audience and probably, the arrangement. To determine the purpose refer to the table of contents, introduction, preface and index. For authority, one considers the qualifications of the author/s and the publisher’s credentials.

Revision Exercise 2.

  1. Explain the importance of reference sources in an information center.
  2. Discuss the criteria followed in the evaluation of reference sources.
  3. State the reasons why evaluation is relevant to an information manager.
  4. Compare the criteria of evaluating encyclopedias and dictionaries.
  5. Discuss the various forms of reference sources.
  6. Explain the role of computers in the management of reference sources.




3.1. Introduction

These are sources that link the information seekers to the appropriate information on source of information and keep control over the published literature. A bibliography is an exhaustive list of documents on a subject or list of newly published documents. Bibliographies generally provide certain bibliographic details such as author, title, place of publications etc. They identify or obtain details of a piece of literature like a book or periodical and are used to look for material in a given field  and to see if a specific book or periodical is held by one of the libraries e.g. Kenya national bibliography, British national bibliography, books in print, British books in print etc.

They are lists of books and sometimes of other materials such as the periodical articles and illustrations written by one author or during one period. Books in print help in selection, acquisition, notification or informing, teaching and researching. Bibliographic information refers to the details concerning a publication, which are sufficient to identify the publication for the purpose of ordering. Include the author, title, publisher, place of publication, edition, series, illustrations, date of publication and others.





Accession lists

Shelf lists



  • Serve as inventory and retrieval tools
  • They facilitate control over published literature thereby facilitating intellectual work
  • For researchers, they assist them on what has been written in various disciplines of subject thus reducing duplication of efforts by researchers.
  • They serve as a tool for books selection and identification.
  • Facilitates quick and easier access to information. Assist users in locating the existence of or identifying materials of their interest. They help researchers to find out what has already been written on his subject of coverage thus enabling them to be informed and updated. Avoids duplication in research. Its time saving and the secondary aim is to act as a tool for books selection and helps to identify bibliographic details.


  1. National bibliographies

National bibliographies list all published within a given country. They are limited by territory. They can be both current or retrospective. They can be subject or general. They can cater for books and pamphlets, periodicals, official documents, these and dissertations, maps and atlases, musical records and films separately. Are printed or published in a specific country and produced annually. They facilitate research and avoid the duplication of literary work. The Kenya National Library Service bibliographic unit is legally mandated to prepare National bibliography in Kenya.

However they have not been consistent in this exercise and hence the need to understand the problems the institution has been encountering.

Universal or General bibliography

It includes everything published in a given area. It is not limited by time, language, territory, subject etc. they include all books published in every country on all subjects.

Trade bibliographies

They are issued by commercial organizations for business purposes e.g. book dealers, catalogues or publishers’ catalogues. Its primary role is to facilitate business or the sale and purchase of books. Its for commercial and trade.

Books in print (BIP)

Subject bibliographies

They are intended for research work and other special areas. They exhaustively list publications in a given subject/discipline.

Bibliography of bibliographies

These bibliographies guide users to other useful bibliographies normally by subject, place etc. it is of bibliographies.

Guides to reference materials

They list the best works for a given audience. They also introduce users to general reference sources which will help in research in all fields or specific fields. They give directional information. Other sources like directories list individuals or organizations. Commercial catalogues indicate the addresses of companies.


  1. Bibliographies can be selective i.e. dealing with documents meeting only a certain criteria.
  2. They can be retrospective or current
  3. Exhaustive bibliographies- They are accompanied by a brief summary of notes or abstract highlighting on the documents subject level, targeted audience and scope
  4. Entries are arranged systematically.


  • Physical format

Bibliographies are usually in card form. However there still exist online catalogues and bibliographies.

  • Purposes

Bibliographies perform both inventory and retrieval functions as well as search tools while catalogues serve as well as retrieval tools.

  • Users

They are used by scholars and information professionals.

  • Entries

Both have reasonable number of entries which are arranged systematically in both cases (can be alphabetical/classified). Consider the Author catalogue, subject catalogue, title catalogue and both online and physical catalogues.

  • Scope

They can both be universal in nature. They list all documents irrespective of originality, time, subject and nature.

NB/ Bibliographies are an organized list of documents not limited for a particular collection while a catalogue is a list of documents or a good holding of a library.

  • Annotations

Some bibliographies may leave annotations while catalogues just state.


3.7.1. Systematic or Enumerative Bibliography

Systematic bibliography is the straight forward listing of individual items with minimum details. It requires adequate knowledge covering published works. The objective of it is to collate and arrange information about individual books and related materials in a logical useful order. It is enumerated because some selection has been done in the choice of what is to be included.

Types of systematic bibliography

  • Universal bibliography
  • National bibliography
  • Trade bibliography
  • Bibliography of bibliographies

Selection in enumerative and systematic bibliography involves accepting those items for inclusion which fall within the scope of the book.


This is the application of analytical bibliography to the contents of books. Its chief purpose is to determine the effect of writing or the printing process on the correctness or completeness of a text. An analytical bibliography is concerned more with the physical aspects of a book while textual bibliography is more interested in the author’s work/words and tries to determine the exact words that the author intended should constitute his work.


This refers to the study of books in terms of objects of arts and concern oneself with the act of writing, printing and binding.


  • Purpose – the need that the bibliography was designed
  • Scope – completeness of the coverage
  • Methodology – methods of compilation
  • Organization – it should be clear and easy to use manner
  • Annotations – (abstracts)- where descriptive / critical notes are used for entries, they should be clear, specific and informative
  • Bibliographic form (format)
  • Currency
  • Accuracy.

Revision Exercise 3.

  1. Explain five limitations of a general bibliography as a tool of collection development.
  2. discuss four factors considered in selecting bibliographic sources
  3. Highlight four major types of bibliographic sources
  4. Explain the reasons why bibliographic information should be recorded systematically
  5. Highlight four types of bibliographic sources expected in a medical library
  6. Discuss the relevance of electronic bibliographic sources in an information center
  7. Discuss the role of bibliographic center/agency in the management of bibliographies and with relevance to Kenya
  8. State the problems that Kenya National Library services has faced in the process of bibliographic preparation.


  • Introduction

Reference services are also referred to as “information services” or “Readers services”. It’s a personal assistance provided to users in pursuit of information. Reference service is a ‘personal service’ given to each library user in helping him to find the documents containing the information that he wants at the right time. Some users know exactly what they want and the document containing that information.

The librarian should be able to get that document. If the document is not available in such a library, the librarian should direct the user to the other source where the material may be available or obtain it from other sources for him. He should also be able to search on behalf of the users who don’t have time and request for information. For users who do not know what they want, that have to be shown the many alternative sources of information.

According to William Warne, reference service is defined as an organized effort on the part of the library with an aim of expeditious and fruitful use of the libraries. According to American Library Association (ALA) glossary, reference service is defined as that phase of library work which is directly concerned with readers in securing information and in using the resources of the library for study and research.

It’s the most intense kind of personal service which attempts to bring together the user and the document in a personal way. It’s the formalized provision of information in diverse form by the reference librarian who interfaces with the information seeker and the information sources.

A reference service comprises various ways in which the librarian helps the reader to find the information he wants. He organizes the documents wanted.

The three major service techniques in the service are:

  • Information service- The finding of needed information for the users or assisting the users in finding such information
  • Instructions in library use- Helping users learn the skills they need to find and use library materials.
  • Guidance – Users are assisted in choosing the most appropriate materials for their recreational, educational or informational needs.
  • Reference services and the five laws of Dr. Ranganathan

“Books are for use” – Promotion

“Every reader his book”- Needs

“Every book its reader”- Relevance

“Save the time of the reader” – Provide information on time.

“The library is a growing organization” – Update the stock.

  • Need for a reference service
  • Increase in volume of information- Consider the increase in the volume of information generated inform of books, periodicals, reports, conference proceedings and the users are unable to keep track of their variety and location. The librarian should keep track of the documents produced, study the users’ information needs and provide the link between the user and the book.
  • The need for speedy communication of information.

Referral service

An activity that links the information seekers to the appropriate source(s) of information outside the information center. Its provided in cases where the information sought is not within the scope of a given information center e.g. one looking for humanity information in an agricultural library.

Reference work is the function performed by the reference librarian in providing the reference services. Its not simply a matter of answering questions but it’s a problem solving process that identifies the actual reader’s problem and then searches for solutions.

Reference process-Alan Rees (1966) defined this as the process that in co-operates the sum total of the invaluable involved in the performance of reference work by an intermediary (librarian). It’s a reasoning process.

Reference process can be summarized as a set of procedures and activities that occur in the course of providing reference services including the relationship between information seeker and the information professional, the environment in which the service is offered, searching and retrieval process etc. it first step is to determine the user problem, which is done by interviewing the user to make sure that the librarian understands the user’ questions thoroughly with an intention of solving them. The second step involves ensuring that the question asked represents what the user want, and what finally the user wants will solve his problem.


This is a dialogue between the information seeker and the information professional carried out to clarify on the information being sought. It’s a conversation between a member of the library, reference staff, and a library user for the purpose of clarifying the user’s needs and aiding the user in meeting those needs. Its main purpose is to determine in the most efficient and productive way, the nature, quantity and the level of information the user requires.

4.5.1. Purposes of reference interview

  1. To come up with relevant results
  2. To facilitate formulation of an effective search strategy
  3. To facilitate user with a chance to present and clarify his/her information needs precisely.
  4. To improve communication understanding between the user and the information professional which leads to the reference librarian giving better search results.
  5. To give the information better understanding of users information needs.
  6. To save time- having understood the information being sought, the information professional only searches for the relevant information.
  7. To save cost in terms of time and effort and it can also be in terms of monetary e.g. searching on line data-base.
  8. To determine in the most efficient and productive way, the nature, quantity and the level of information the user requires.
  9. To determine the information which is preferred by the user and what the user already knows about the topic, the source or the context of the request and time available to the user for answering the question and how much the user is willing to spend where the service requires a fee.


The success of a reference interview depends on the precisely:-

  1. User- ability to present his or her information needs precisely
  2. Communication skills- for both the user and the information professional, ability to communicate effectively.
  3. Conducive environment- an atmosphere conducive to reference interview should be observed e.g. need to observe privacy.
  4. Information professional’s ability to control the interview situation e.g. ability to prompt the user adequately, guide him/he etc.
  5. Attitude-there should exist a good relationship between the two parties to facilitate a positive attitude towards another.
  6. Time –enough time should be provide for the interview process.


  1. Location – reference service is designed to aid users in locating the documents or information being sought.
  2. Aiding readers- it is meant to assist users in their continuous endeavours effects in information searching.
  3. Answering questions- provides answers to users queries.
  4. Promotion – organized to ensure optimum use of the libraries collection.


In offering a reference service it is necessary to determine the types and the amount of assistance to be offered to the information seekers.

The levels of the service depend upon the resources available (material resources) in the library, the staff number and the subject (complex or simple).

The levels of service are categorized into minimum level, maximum level and intermediate level.

Minimum level

In this approach, the information professional provides little assistance to the information seekers to the needed information. The approach is based upon the following assumptions:-

  1. As part of the educational or enquiry records, the information seekers should be able to establish various sources of needed information.
  2. The information seeker knows which information is needed by searching on his own that information can be found.
  1. Maximum level (liberal approach)

Information professionals provide the organization with as much assistance to fulfill users needs usually based on the following assumptions.

  1. Intermediate level

The assistance provided to the information seeker lies between the maximum a minimum level neither too much nor too little assistance is given to the user.


  1. Awareness of the bibliographic organizations
  2. It is part of the learning process.

Personal qualities of a reference librarian during the reference interview process include; Neatness and smartness, confident, polite, patient, attentive, humorous, knowledgeable, have good communication skills and be approachable.

  1. They should have knowledge of the collection
  2. They should have knowledge of the retrieval tools and their use
  3. They should have subject knowledge
  4. They should have good technical skills in searching
  5. They should be conversant with the retrieval system as a whole
  6. They should be able to translate the language of the question to that one of the retrieval system.
  7. They should analyze the presented information extract to the subject required.

Question, availability

Bibliographies, indexing and abstracting services, experience of the reference librarian and time available for conducting the search. It requires the translation of the query into terms of the language of the reference system. In order to formulae it, one should start by analyzing the query or the question, determine the specific subject and ascertain all the facets and isolates and construct the class number of the specific subject being sought by the user.


  1. Time- current or retrospective.
  2. Knowledge of the collection.
  3. The purpose of the query and scope
  4. The available sources of materials
  5. The research officer knowledge of the subject
  6. Familiarity to the retrieval tools.
  7. The coverage of search term as required by the user


  • In case the library does not have the source of information required to answer the query
  • In case the library specializes in a given subject coverage different from what the query requires.
  • Lack of the required knowledge foe the information professional and answer to the questions.
  • In case the current information is not yet in print or reference sources published e.g. cure on aids.
  • Lack of enough time for searching for either of the parties (time constrain).
  • Reference sources published but not in library (library failure).
  • Existing reference sources not sufficiently up to date.
  • Tools which do not have listed ways on how to answer questions.
  • Questions not properly negotiated.
  • Inability of the information professional to carry out a through search.
  • Language barrier.
  • Improper exhaustion of a query.

Revision Exercise 4.

  1. Explain the meaning of reference services.
  2. Discuss the five laws of Dr. Ranganathan in relation to reference services.
  3. Write short notes on the reference service, reference process, reference work and reference interview.
  4. Define the term reference interview and discuss the purpose of the interview.
  5. Explain the human resource requirements for a good reference librarian.
  6. Discuss search strategy and the factors considered when adopting a search strategy.



  • Developing the reference collection i.e. selected and acquire them.
  • Reference administration- he organizes and administers the reference service.
  • He conduct reference interview.
  • He performs literature searches for the users.
  • He evaluates reference services to enhance the quality of the reference service.
  • Record and submit search results.
  • Assist users in pursuit of information e.g. guiding them.
  • Co-ordinates and manages the reference section.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of reference services.
  • Initiate and maintain an interlending programme.
  • Promotes and publicizes the library services.
  • Provides referral services-linking users to other sources of information elsewhere.
  • Provide user education.
  • Compiling bibliographies concerning his section.
  • He provides selective dissemination of information.
  • Compilation of users of profile.


They can be divided into four types:-

  • Direction –The answers to these types of questions require geographical knowledge from key location e.g. where is the catalogue?
  • Ready reference questions e.g. what is the name of the government of Alaska? What is the speed of sound?

NB/ They may be subdivided in many ways like what, when, where.

  • Specific search questions.

Where can I get information on sexism, what is the difference between conservative and liberal lines on inflation and unemployment.

  • Research type- it is usually identified as that coming from an ………..who is seeking detailed information assist in detailed work e.g……… executives etc.

The main infrastructure components that must be fulfilled in order to run reference service include the following:-

  • The information services

These are the range of materials in the library collection: books, periodicals, indexes, abstracts and other reference works. E.g. encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs etc. the size and the quality of the collection have a bearing on the quality of the service.

  • Human resource

Qualified manpower is required to carry out the range of reference services. Such manpower must know in depth the range reference works in library’s collection and about the information sources of other libraries within the country as well as information systems and services in the region. The reference staff should have a good knowledge of literature work techniques.

  • Information technology

The availability in a library of microcomputers with the associated peripherals and the relevant software has enabled information systems to use storage efficiency and contribute or disseminate information faster, more economically and with great benefits to the end user.


In order to improve reference services, the information systems must achieve certain qualities ranging from a wide range of information sources and information type (bibliographic, factual, images etc) access to the wide range of information available, ease of use of the information system through user interface or tutorial assistance, comprehensiveness, relevance and timeliness and reduced cost to both the library and the user.


Evaluation is a process of measuring performance of service or a system and assessing its effectiveness in assessing needs. It can also be referred to as a diagnostic procedures intended to a therapeutic action.


  • Helps to determine the work of a systems performance
  • It is carried out with an aim of improving the system’s performance
  • Helps to obtain the performance figures of a system
  • Helps clarify the reasons behind the system’s failures or success
  • It is a tool for management and decision making
  • Act as a sign of respect to the user community/customers
  • It is a mechanism for accessing the levels of achieving the objectives of a system
  • It is a tool for justifying the system expansion plus input and output
  • Act as a tool for staff appraisal
  • Aids in finding ways or procedures of improving the service.


  • To develop relevant sources for users
  • To develop current collection
  • To justify the work of a given source.
  • To improve on the services
  • To measure the performance of given resources.


1. Material resources/information sources

    • Subject coverage one discipline or many
    • The adequacy i.e. stock volume can the stock serve users sufficiently
    • Currency of the collection- do they provide up to date information
    • Relevance – do they meet the users needs
    • Subject balance –does the collection cater for all disciplines equally
    • Range/form of presentation- the collection should include books, manuscripts non-print materials etc.

2. Human resource/staff

  • Adequacy- are the staff adequate to understand the tasks required
  • Professional qualifications
  • Public relations- courtesy, communication skills.

3. Cost

Amount paid in equipping the system and maintenance and operational costs. Number of users and their satisfaction within a given period.

4. Services

Range/types of services offered e.g. SDI, referral services, bibliographic compilation. Quality of the service- how long does it take to be served after giving the query. i.e. response time, degree of relevance be higher.

5. Access

It is to do with the organization and retrieval system of information centre. The organization system should be simple to understand and use. The system should have adequate retrieval tools.

6. User’s satisfaction

This the extents to which users are satisfied with the services offered by the system.

7. Space

This refers to the space of the equipments.


  • Time limit
  • Lack of co-operation from respondents
  • Lack of skills
  • Lack of objectives
  • Lack of funds
  • Inadequate date collection tools-inaccuracy
  • In efficiency of staff to measurable units
  • Bias of both parties
  • Lack of adequate records to provide secondary data.

NB/ Methods of collecting data include interviews, observations, documentary sources, statistical sampling, online and telephone communications and interview, questionnaires and others.

Revisions Exercise 5.

  1. Explain the relevance of reference services/information services in an information center.
  2. State the step involved in the reference process and indicate the major considerations during the reference interview.
  3. Discuss the role of a reference librarian in a reference interview and state the major personal qualities that he should posses.
  4. State the reasons why search strategy is important and indicate the reasons why an interview is important.





Current awareness services are designed to keep users abreast with any current and relevant information needed for a variety of information demanding tasks the use are involved in.

Kemp (1979) defines CAS as a system of reviewing newly available document selecting items relevant to the needs of an individual or group of individuals to whose need they are related.

It is a service aimed at keeping its users well informed and up-to-date in their field basic interests as well as the subject areas. It involves reviewing and scanning documents, selection of the relevant documents for the users and alerting or notifying the users about the availability of recent information which may be of relevance to them information manager reviews the available documents. It’s a way of informing individuals the availability of recent information which may be of relevance to them, information manager reviews the available documents, selects items relevant to the needs and notifies the individual/s. it is service which provides the recipient information on the latest developments within the subject areas in which he or she has a specific interest or need to know. One should know the topics to cover, wants what, the sources for obtaining the latest information and supplying the information regularly and reliably, year in, year out.


  1. Circulation of original documents.
  2. Display of exhibitions- display of new books and periodicals
  3. Circulation of current awareness bulletins, journal contents pages.
  4. Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI)
  5. Telephone calls or face to face reporting
  6. Table of contents (TOC) circulation
  • Preparation of circulation accession lists and distribution of lists of rece publications.
  1. Circulation of original documents

This method entails the provision of original documents or literature in the form of journal articles, research reports, official publications. Conference proceedings etc. the circulation of original documents allows the user to interact directly with the current document, thereby keeping them informed of the new trends and development in their specific fields of interest.

  1. Display or exhibitions

Display involves mounting of newly acquired items on shelves or some strategic positions or location in the information centres to allow users to view them. The display or exhibition helps to maximize the utility of resources displayed. It also creates awareness among the users of information sources available.

Displayed items can be accompanied by some short summary highlighting the content of the documents.

  1. Circulation of current awareness bulletins

A bulletin is a brief public notice issued  usually an information specialists or librarian or a brief news item highlighting the documents acquired or those in custody of the library for the purpose of creating awareness among users. Bulletin serves as a useful current awareness strategy. They have a genuine name “current awareness bulletin”.

  1. Selective Dissemination of information

This is procedure for supplying each user or groups of users with documents relating to their areas of interest selected from among the description of documents received during the period in question.

The procedure deals with a selected category of users with specific user needs. For it to be effective, the information professional should have a user profile or interest profile. A user/interest profile is defined as a list of index terms or words selected to indicate the areas of interest of a user of an information service.

It is a list of key terms or words or functions describing the users interest subject area.

Types of information indicated in a user profile

  1. Name of the users served
  2. The profession of users
  3. Address of users
  4. A list of index terms describing the users area of interest
  5. Subject area of the user/area of specialization.

SDI is aim at a single user or group of individuals with the same interests.

  1. Table of contents circulation

This involves extracting table of content of newly acquired documents and circulating them amongst users.

  1. Preparation and circulation of accession lists.

The production of a list of newly acquired items and circulating to clients.



  • Adequate qualified and competent personnel they should be enough and have the proper training to carry out the duties involved adequately.
  • Adequate funds to buy equipment and new information materials and expenses.
  • An efficient and effective notification system through telephone network, a small publishing unit, an awareness board, electronic mailing system and others.
  • An up to date and maintained user profile. This will hhelp in ……….new changes tht might occur from the time to time. A computerized….. will maintain a large volume of information and help in preparing the……..profiles.
  • Regular review and scanning of the available information sources to………updated about the use and availability of resources.
  • Consistent acquisition programme to allow the building of new collection in the information centre.


There are various reasons for providing CAS in libraries and other information centres. Basically the services are meant to benefit both users and the library staff.

The following reasons set the basis of these services:-

  • They are provided because of the amount of new information available and hence the need to be properly utilized. CAS therefore ensures there is maximum exploitation and utilization of resources.
  • CAS keeps information users abreast with the current development in their fields of interest.
  • It is implemented to help provide additional information that might have escaped the notice of clients.
  • Allows grater coverage of the range of documents than that which the individual client has the opportunity, ability or willingness to scan for himself.
  • It performs the marketing or the promotional role.


Criteria for the evaluation

  1. Cost benefits

Here cost benefit analysis is carried out i.e. cost of establishing, implementing and maintaining CAS and the benefits from the service should be equal or alternatively the benefits arising from CAS should exceed the cost of its implementing.

  1. Response time/location/telecommunication cost.

Enquiries made by information professionals from external information centre should be quicker enough to allow faster compilation of required information.

  1. Profile Revision

The interest profile should be frequently revised in order to be updated.

  1. Contents

There are two aspects of contents; coverage, quality and quantity of the information materials.

Coverage – it should be noted that a single secondary source cannot be expected to given comprehensive coverage therefore there should be a range of the information sources.

  1. Arrangement of printed publication

Since scanning of printed secondary sources is usually based on examination of the contents, proper organization of these resources is important. The documents can be arranged based on broad subject grouping preferred for the CAS scanning or based on the subject or classified order.

  1. Currency and frequency

The publications meant for CAS should be current. The frequency of publications offers the currency of the document-publications at intervals of quarterly is needed for a service to have potential for CAS.

  1. Means of Access

This refers to how easy the user of the service/librarian or client find items which are relevant.

  1. Personnel

Here we mean how competent the staff is/are in providing the service. How adequate are they?


  • Users – Type of users
  • Funds availability in relation to the requirements of the programme
  • Type of information centers- This will help one to choose an appropriate type of CAS/method of providing CAS e.g. Display, Notices.
  • The objective of the programme. What is it that programme is to achieve? The objective will make you have a clear flow on the direction of efforts.
  • The requirements/resources necessary for its implementation (funds, staff and facilities).
  • The range of current awareness service programme- is it going to be in house based or both in house and external based.


  1. Financial constrains
  2. Insufficient know how of the evaluation exercise
  3. Insufficient time to allow exhaustive evaluation
  4. Lack of co-operation from respondents
  5. Final analysis of data prone problems in quantifying e.g. benefits.

NB/  CAS provision would involve the definition of objectives which ensures that efforts are directed or focused on vital areas only, planning which is a course of action to be followed is set out and will involve determining the appropriate method to be used in providing CAS and determining the resources required e.g. staff, new information materials, facilities and funds required, and implementing the programme which is the actual conversation of theoretical plans into function or actions and it involves training/recruitment of new scanning and notifying users, preparing users profile and finally evaluation.

This is where the programme is assessed measure to determined whether it is need its objectives.

Revision Exercise 6

  1. Discuss the importance of current awareness services in an information center
  2. Explain the methods used in the provision of current awareness services.
  3. State the role of computers in the CAS process.
  4. Discuss the major requirements for the CAS programme to be effective and efficient.





A procedure for supplying each user or group of users with documents relating to their centers of interest selected from among the description of documents received during the period in question.

Selective dissemination of information is a highly refined and personalized form of current awareness service where the information professional identifies a selected user group and supplies them with selected information or information materials relating to their areas of interest. The system assumes that the information manager knows and fully understand users information requirements needs or demands and the latter has full confidence in the information manager to the extent that he is able to delegate information searching to him.


  • Selecting and acquiring documents for input
  • Indexing of the incoming documents
  • User identification and selection
  • Interest of users, profile design(user profile designing)
  • Matching of documents against the profile
  • Production of the output (Abstract, full text, citation etc)
  • Transmission of the output.


  1. Identifying the user(s)
  2. Conceptualize the needs and demand for an SDI
  3. Explain to the user(s) what SDI and what its significance is.
  4. Request the user(s) to present his or her subject interest(s) in as specific terms as possible.
  5. Match the subject interest(s) against the vocabulary used in indexing the information source.
  6. Communicate the reformulated profiles to the user.
  7. Store the profile.
  8. Evaluate the profile store regularly to enable one continuously update the profile.

NB? In designing a person’s profile, it is important to consider the professional aspects as well as job related information needs.


  1. It is time saving in that only a small selected file has to be searched
  2. Once planned properly it is less expensive to Implement than the on demand searchers
  3. It tends to exclude backing information that might overload the current file.
  4. The matching of index terms can be done without thorough searching.
  5. High quality service is provided to the selected group because of the specialized attention.
  6. It provides better knowledge of the information requirements of the clients.


  • Number of users served
  • Availability of computerized system within the organization
  • The amount and complexity of literature being handled
  • Cost of implementation
  • Manpower
  • Development time.

NB/  Methods of obtaining information for user profile form remains as the any other date collection methods like interviews, telephone contacts, email, questionnaires and others.

Revision Exercise 7

  1. Discuss the meaning of selective dissemination of information
  2. Discuss the major elements of SDI
  3. Discuss the role of computers in the SDI process.




User education refers to the instructions given to readers or users to help them make maximum use of the information centers and its resources. Its an organized and a systematic programme designed to equip users with necessary skills of independent searching and utilization. These are instructions given to users to help them make the best use of the library. It’s a programme of instructions, education and exportation provided by libraries to users to enable them make more effective and efficient independent use of the information resources and services to which this library provide access to. It’s a planned sequence of projects and activities which inform members directly with the documentary heritage.


It emerged due to information explosion, introduction of new facilities to aid in retrieval or information searching in information centers e.g. computers, poor attitude of users towards libraries or information centers, complexity of organizational systems of the information collection in information systems thus bringing about the need to inform and educate the users on this, shortage of adequate information specialists in information centers thus creating a need for self reliance among information users, time consuming nature of looking up for information, the growing demand for the right to know through literacy programmes and emphasis on self-centred learning programme.


  1. To ensure that users can exploit library resources adequately and to their own satisfaction.
  2. To establish a link between subject taught and the library resources available.
  3. To enable users to make maximum use of resources of local and national library systems.
  4. To develop in the user confidence in the use of the library and the library staff.
  5. To give students principal experience using literature.
  6. To enable the student to be independent in his/her own information seeking.
  7. To instill a positive attitude among the library users.
  8. To save time for the library resources.
  9. To enhance better use of library resources.
  10. It educates the user community about the archives and its holding and their implications and exposes users to records at early stages and not to wait until they reach tertiary institutions.
  11. Enable students during their studies and later during their careers to undertake literature searches at ease.
  12. Users to know the capacity of libraries and other units in the provision of information and the services available in a given center.
  13. For users to understand the policy and regulations of the center and the work schedule and letting them to be familiar with the center and its holdings.


There are basically three levels namely:- Orientation, library instruction and  bibliographic instruction.


It’s the level concerned with introducing the user/s to the general techniques of information usage and services available in the information center, the organization, services and layout of a particular center.

Library orientation is concerned with enabling the users to become aware of the existence of the library and services available there (what is available) and enabling the users to learn about the general use of the library; when the library is open, where specific items are to be found and how to actually borrow/obtain the materials required. It acquaints a freshman or newcomer with the basics concerning the library use.

Orientation means becoming aware/ acquainted with the physical aspect of the library and the materials. OBJECTIVES OF ORIENTATION

  • To introduce users to the physical facilities of the building itself
  • To introduce specific services e.g. computer searches, book talks or ill .
  • To introduce the department or service desks and appreciate staff and introduce staff members and how they can assist the students.
  • To introduce library policies such as overdue procedures, hours when the library is open etc.
  • To introduce the organization of the collection with specific goals of reducing use anxiety about buying to locate documents.
  • To motivate users to come back and make use of the library.

Techniques Or methods used in providing orientation

These include guided tours or unguided tours, lecturers or talks, demonstrations, audiovisual presentations, guides (regulations and procedures) hand out or library manuals etc.

  1. Strengths of orientation
    • Orientation is not formally conducted and therefore may not suffer from problems of scheduling as opposed to bibliographic instructions that need slotting in the academic programme (this is applicable in academic libraries).
    • There is less degree of formality during orientation thus users are motivated to grasp the concepts faster or better.
    • Generally cheap-requires less resources as opposed to library instruction and bibliographic instruction.
    • Users can ask questions, offers practical experience and people learn faster and creates more understanding.


Because of the group size, individual evaluations on the mastery of the concepts or issues taught are difficult.

Orientation attempts to impact too much information within a limited time and makes it difficult to adequately grasp what is being taught.

Hinders practical demonstrations. Only basic skills are acquired by users after the orientation is carried out.

NB/ To administer it, one should consider the group size, time required, and staff available users’ knowledge level.


It is an in-depth instruction to the use of specific library materials and search strategies. It instructs users in more advanced techniques for information access and library use. It involves teaching the users on the utilization of library resources to find information they are looking for.

It highlights to users on how to use indexes, catalogues, reference tools and bibliographic sources.

It is concerned with enabling the users to obtain information required for a specific purpose by making full use of the resources and materials available at the library. It is concerned with the problems of information retrieval. It’s a more in depth explanation of the specific library materials and search strategy. OBJECTIVES

  • To enable the user to learn to use readers guides to periodicals or literature.
  • To enable users find books on specific subjects through the use of card catalogues and other sources.
  • To develop abilities in users to use micro-forms and other reading materials or equipments.
  • To enable users learn how to use certain specific reference tools.
  • To enable users conduct searches independently.
  • To enable users to know how to use computers to access the required information. Techniques of library instruction

  1. Demonstrations
  2. Lectures or handouts
  3. Audio-visual presentations
  4. Programmed instructions
  5. Printed guides
  6. Practical exercise
  7. Computer assisted instructions (CAI) Advantages of library instructions

  • More practically oriented i.e. users have the opportunity to have hands on experience on the use and the exploitation of information and library resources.
  • Ability to evaluate and judge whether the objects of the technique has been fulfilled. It also ensures that the factors/demonstrators can assess/ascertain whether the objectives of the programme have been achieved.
  • It is a more systematic in depth approach to imparting the necessary skills to users thus more effective.
  • Some of the techniques used can allow users to learn at their place e.g. programmed instructions, practical exercises and printed guides etc. Limitations

  • It is more expensive compared to orientation i.e. requires much resources.
  • Needs proper planning to be effective in terms of time, resources, group size and others.


According to Stevenson. Bibliographic instruction refers to instructions to users of the information resources available in particular subjects discipline and techniques of making use of those resources.

Lewis and Foster consider it as “education in the systematic use of information sources”. It’s an efficient and effective process of learning through the use of the library demonstration of research methodology, search strategy and bibliographic structure in a given discipline.

Its that instruction that involves giving learned approach to literature searches in institutions of learning and a whole range of activities that should enable readers to pursue their personal and professional interests most effectively through the proper use of existing knowledge around them.

Some of the aspects covered in bibliographic instructions include or some of the courses offered deal with:-

  1. Information and its organization
  2. Subject headings, vocabulary control in search, definition of research topics
  3. Outlining techniques and planning a research paper
  4. Types of sources to consult.
  5. Notes taking techniques in research.
  6. Style of presentation of footnotes, references and bibliographic
  7. Search strategies.
  8. Writing research paper and proposal etc. Techniques of bibliographic instructions

  1. Lecturers
  2. Audio-visual presentations
  3. Programmed instructions
  4. Printed guides
  5. Programmed instruction. It requires qualified instructions, syllabus that entails what is to be covered and timetable for bibliographic instruction and teaching aids.


  • Establishment of goals or objectives of user education programme

This is a broad statement expressing the long-term target of user education.

  • Preparation

Reading of literature on the subject matter. i.e. the information professional has to consult various resources (primary, secondary and other professionals) to get more knowledge. It will help them to learn from others what they are doing.

  • Undertake a brief user survey

The user survey will help to find the users want in a user education programme. The results of the user survey will highlight on a detailed profile of the levels of user education to be provided to the different groups of users.

  • Solicit for support

The user education programme needs such resources as funds, human resource, equipments e.g. computer, manuals, projectors, slides etc. the information professional should ensure that all the resources required are available.

  • Implementation

It involves converting the theoretical plans into action- This entails dividing users into groups, giving lecturers, demonstration, providing lecturers etc.

  • Evaluation

This is systematic gathering for analysis about what is taught or learnt. A formal process involving pre and post tests. It can be done through observations, testing and others.


The methods may be divided from those suitable for individual instructions, groups instructions and for both.


  • The number of users to be instructed or taught
  • The available facilities or equipment
  • The nature of users.
  • Subject content or materials – The technically of a subject will reflect the best possible methods to make users understand most and follow the instructions. At the same time., complex subjects will require the use of lecturers and other support methods e.g. use of audiovisual demonstration in order to achieve effective instruction.
  • Cost the relative effectiveness.
  • The level of instruction- The depth and the kinds of instruction vary with the level of user instruction e.g. tours as a method will not be appropriate.


They are one of the used forms of teaching. They are used to teach large groups. Make use of both auditory and visual sensory inputs via the chalkboard or white board and overhead projectors.


  • They give opportunities for personal contact which is the contact between the instructor and users.
  • Users or students are able to note points emphasized by lecturers and the instructor is able to receive students’ feedback
  • Lecturers can be used for groups of different sizes
  • The lecturer can control the delivery depending on the student’s feedback and students are given a possibility to relate new parts to existing knowledge.


  • Lectures are unsuitable for conveying information about bibliographic aids. It sounds like a catalogue of unfamiliar names.
  • The receiver is not able to control the speed of delivery i.e. the learner has no control of the rate of flow of information.
  • The effectiveness is dependent on the instructor e.g. language wise, good PR, the competence and communication skills ability of the instructor.
  • One way common method.

Seminars, tutorials and demonstration

They ensure that the atmosphere is less formal and offers greater opportunity for interaction both between staff and students and between students themselves.


  • It is possible to provide motivation and students are actively involved in the practical exercise
  • Feedback on users progress can be measured immediately
  • Attempts can be made to relate new information for existing knowledge
  • Students are given opportunity of actively searching on some topics which they are interested
  • The atmosphere is less formal and greater opportunity for interaction among peole involved.


  • Only suitable for small groups
  • Expensive
  • Time consuming at initial stages of organization and participation
  • The forum can be hijacked by dominant characters.

Guided Tours

It entails giving the student a short tour of the information center.


  • Opportunity to interact
  • Less expensive
  • Takes relatively shorter time.


  • Too much information imparted within a short time.
  • Some students may not pay much attention.

Audio Visual Methods

These include the of A- V media e.g. films, video tape, tapes slides, audiotapes

Advantages of Audio visual presentation

  • Flexible –Audiovisual presentations can be used for both group and individual teaching. Some have the ability to convey motion and colour.
  • Constant availability- The use of materials does not depend on the presence of a lecturer or an instructor- can be used by students when need arises.
  • Speed of  presentation can be controlled by the lecturer or by individual students
  • Presentation of materials is not complex e.g. tapes slides materials is easy to project and easy to stop.
  • Enhances understanding since information presented through this medium is easy to remember.
  • They make use of a combination of two sensory inputs.
  • Can create an atmosphere of reality to students prevented from visiting the library by distance.


  • In some instances, updating is time consuming e.g. videotape
  • It is quite expensive
  • Requirement of a playback equipment
  • Power dependent
  • They need technical know-how
  • Needs special care, maintenance and storage
  • They become out dated very quickly.

Programmed instruction

It is a course of instruction given by means of a book or teaching machine in which the subject matter to be instructed is divided into logical sequence of short items. It can be carried out through a workbook, handbook, guide, audiovisual or computer aided instructions.

NB/ The following may be included under programmed instruction

  • Points of use or point of need instructions- refers to a design of a modular system of library uses instructions.
  • Each modular are variable to any user at the place of use at any onetime e.g. short audiovisual program each discussing short item.
  • Personalized system of instruction (PSI). It is a system, which consists of a set of self –study units taken by students at his/her pace. The test is immediately discussed with the tutor.
  • Package planning

It is instructions by means of self contained set of units or instruction-packaging may contain a variety of activities, reading textbooks and articles, listening to audiotapes reading handbooks etc.


  • Constant availability: it can be used without the instructor
  • Controlled speed of play
  • Its effective as it gives specification as one move from one module to the next.


  • It is inflexible and can only be applied for individual learning situation
  • To some extent it requires technical knowledge especially in computer assisted applied search
  • There is no motivation as users work on their own. They are likely to ignore and not get involved in the learning process

Evaluation of user education

  1. Find out whether users are able to carry out information searching using the available guiding tools
  2. Find out whether users are able to identify various sections of the library system as well as the bibliographic organization of the resources
  3. Find out whether users are able to retrieve books on thjeir kmown and wheteher are able to compile research proposal or not. Methods used could range from observations, questionnaitres interviews and others.

Revision exercise 8

  1. Identify the major areas of computer application in SDI
  2. Under what circumstances will an information centre be forced to establish a manual or computerized SDI service
  3. Highlight the problems information professionals is likely to encounter in establishing and maintaining an SDI
  4. State the problems involved in the provision of user education
  5. Discuss the factors to be considered in setting up an SDI service
  6. Explain the ways in which computers can be used to improve manual based SDI




9.1 Introduction

It’s a complex of facilities, procedures and devices by which a bibliography may be supplied at a stated time to serve a distinctive need. It comprises of which determine the quality of the service. They avoid duplication of efforts.

9.2 Types of Bibliographic services

Indexing services, Abstracting services, Union catalogues/ union lists that facilitate information or resource sharing or networking, bibliographies and compilation of the same.

Indexing refers to an operation intended to represent the results of analysis of a document by means of an indexing language. It is the process of allocating index terms or keys to records or documents. These index terms or keys assist in the later retrieval of the document or record. The assignment of indexing terms may be intellectual which means that its conducted by a human or its computer based.

However a computer can only select index terms in accordance with a set of instructions. The assigned index terms will be drawn from a standard list or document. Computers also arrange humanly assigned index terms.

 An indexing language is a set of descriptors to be used in indexing the contents of documents in an information storage and retrieval system. An index is a systematic guide to the location of words, concepts or other items in books, periodicals or other publications e.g. author index, title index, Alphabetical subject index, book indexes, etc.

Its purpose is to identify and locate relevant information within documents being indexed, to analyze, concept treated in a work so as to produce a series of headings based on its terminology and to direct users seeking information.

They guide the users to the concepts or items contained in a document or library collection. They reveal to the user whether a document or library collection contains information or items on the topics she desires to seek and saves the users time and assist retrieval.

A Bibliography is a list of books, and sometimes of other material such as the periodical articles and illustrations written by one author or during one period. Universal or general bibliographies include books published in every country and all subjects. National bibliography reflects what has been printed / published in a specific country.

Bibliographic information refers to the details concerning a publication. It helps to identify a publication or a book. It facilitates ordering, like the books in print facilitate selection, acquisition. It facilitates systematic searching in a library. It includes the author, title, publisher, place of publication, edition, series, illustrations and others. The information must be fully complete to represent the item properly. A bibliographic center is a place where bibliographies and catalogues of libraries and publishers catalogues are assembled e.g. the National libraries.

9.3 Reasons for or Significance of Bibliographic Services

  1. Volume of the existing literature and the vast rate of increase of the generation of information
  2. Rate of growth of knowledge and hence the need for indexes, catalogues, abstracts, medical journals, book reviews, union catalogues and other cooperative programs.
  3. Problems faced by users like the problem of the over generation of information, multiplicity of languages, diversity of various forms of information formats etc.
  4. The need to provide satisfactory services to the users through the existing tools and here you considers the knowledge explosion.
  5. Bibliographic control which is the mastery over the written and published records. Systematic bibliographies facilitate effective access to information (consider the manual or computerized systems)

Computerized systems are flexible, save time, more user friendly and satisfying, promote information sharing and networking where information centres could be interlinked, facilitate effective information searching and others. Databases are available on compact disks like CD-ROMS

9.4 Problems hindering bibliographic services

  • Volume of published literature and language barriers.
  • Censorship which used to be a problem in Kenya
  • Duplication like where documents abstracted in physics abstracts would be abstracted in chemical abstracts
  • Gaps like where certain areas are not fully covered or document are omitted
  • Time lag, meaning the time lag between the publication of a document and its appearance in the bibliographic service e.g. KNLS has not been consistent in the preparation and circulation of national bibliographies in Kenya. They require resources ranging from finance, human capacity, physical like computers, well equipped bibliographic unit and proper planning and support
  • Lack of selectivity and this is where some bibliographies include everything and thus services lack selectivity
  • Some services are expensive and considering some libraries’ budgets they cannot afford e.g.  Chemical abstracts
  • Lack of coordination which is a weakness of the present bibliographic organization. The bibliographies must be comprehensive to include all forms of materials like microform, manuscripts, tapes and slides and others.

9.5 Abstracting Services

An abstract is an abbreviated representation of a document and its accompanied by adequate bibliographic details which allow the tracing of the documents. It’s a condensation presenting the objectives, scope and the findings of a document. Its presentation of the author’s own language of all the points made in the same order as in the original primary documentary information. Its important die to to the fast growth of literature and over generation of information, the increase in the need for information and the need to reduce the size of the document for ease of searching and retrieval.

It facilitate the provision of current awareness services, saves the reading time of users, promotes location of literature tool literature selection and search and especially when a good index accompanies a indexing an abstract, promotes indexing since the important points are highlighted in the abstract, an abstracting service that include translation of articles from the other foreign language is advantageous. An abstract is concise, accurate in terms of the bibliographic citations which is a complete representation of the original document and clear.

9.5.1 Preparation of an Abstract

  1. Read full text completely and intelligently. Place emphasis on the author’s main idea. Read the text several times and map out the author’s plan.
  2. Plan the written of the abstract and write the first draft based o your understanding of the full text.
  3. Check the readability, accuracy, grammer, syntax of the draft and compare it against the original in accordance with the abstracts’ characteristics like brevity, accuracy and clarity.
  4. Write the final copy. Computerized abstracting services are also available. When preparing consider the user’s needs, availability and accessibility of the source document, manpower resources and expertise, time, subject fields and the storage device.

9.6 Procedure of compiling Bibliography (National Bibliography)

The procedure for preparing the National Bibliography is:

  1. Acquire all national publications. These publications may be published in Kenya or published outside Kenya BUT written by Kenyans
  2. Catalogue them (3 rd Level Cataloguing)
  3. Arrange entries by class number, followed by Authors both personal or corporate (or title where there is no Author)
  4. Create indexes by authors
  5. Create another index by subject
  6. Another by series and finally bind into a volume.

NB: Bibliographic citation includes all details of the material described in the bibliographic format. It is represented in the form of 3rd level cataloguing.

9.7 Evaluating of Bibliographic Services

Consider the publisher and specifically the title and reputation, scope referring to the coverage, duplication of gaps and less duplication portrays good quality, depth of abstracting or indexing, currency, format in terms of legibility, subject headings meaning the type, the number and form of the subject headings used and description which refers to whether the tool fully describes the document.

Revision Exercise 9

  1. Explain clearly five types of bibliographic services offered in a Documentation center and state the relevance of each.
  2. Explain the uses of newspaper in the reference work.
  3. Discuss four major methods of providing Current awareness Service in an information centre.
  4. Discuss the relevance of a computer assisted reference services and why evaluation of such a service and why evaluation of such a service is important.




10.1 Types of Libraries

Library refers to an organized collection of sources of information and similar resources made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.  Or it’s a collection or building that houses information materials for the people to study or borrow.

Librarian refers to the person who maintains and manages the library.

Public LibrariesThey are referred to non-commercial library often supported with public funds and serves the  general public.

Nature of Collection

  • The collection should be sufficient in order to make a library a dependable source for most people at all times.
  • Should be selected on the basis of the interest, needs and level of the users i.e include book and non-book materials


Services Offered in Public Libraries

  • Organizing the materials for ease of access and retrieval e.g. through cataloguing
  • Offer lending services i.e. Borrowing

National Libraries

It refers to a library established and funded by a national government with the degnition (interest) and serve the whole nation. Its functions involve: – Comprehensive collection of publications of a country. – Completion and Maintenance of national bibliography.

Functions of a National Library

  1. Functions related to the collection of the national literature:

The National library act as the central collection unit of the Nations literature (all information materials published in the country from a national collection)

Its therefore acts as legal deposit library for the purpose of national collection building.

It also collects and preserves the nations manuscripts. Therefore collection of foreign literature about the country’s author living abroad

  1. Functions related to Bibliographic control of the County’s Literature:

National library acts as a national bibliographic centre (keeps a record of all countries publication)

Its supposed to have complete records of all the materials published in that particular  country

It produces the national bibliography with complete records of the countries imprint.

It also develops and maintains a bibliographic database relevant to the country’s imprint

It also produces a national union catalogue


  1. Functions related to Technical Services

Administering a programme for generating catalogues Sas part of a published book e.g C.I.P

Provides access to the national library catalogue

Planning and coordinating interlibrary lending (Co-ordinate activities of all libraries in a given country)


  1. Functions related to the services in the field of Librarianship and other information centres

Formulates National standards of information handling

Participating in planning of library services in the country e.g giving advice.,

Conducts research on library issues especially on various library operations

Provides assistance in information handling techniques in the area of methodology, Standards and guidance e.g Indexing articles at the national periodicals or newspapers.

  1. Functions related to Readers Services

Providing local point of linkage with as well access to the international database

It acts as a center for the exchange of publications

SSpecial Libraries

It refers to Libraries that serves specific group of users has a collection covering a specific subject field e.g KEMRI, KARI, ILRI

Association of special Libraries (ASLB) is a collection of information materials covering specific subject or field of activities. The following definitions carry three major characteristics:

  • Users primarily serve a limited number of specialized users e.g scientist, Research workers, Lawyers, Medics.
  • Subject coverage (Specific coverage e.g Agriculture)
  • Institutional parentage – the library is owned or funded by the parental institution) the libraries exist in meeting the objectives of the parent body


School Libraries

It refers to organized collection of books and other literary materials used by staff and students for study and consultation purposes.

Or it’s referred to a place where books are kept. It’s a reading or study centre a media centres as well as an information centre.  Or It’s a communication centre or A learning laboratory or Recreational centers.

Three main purposes of a school Library

  • To meet the information needs of pupils and teachers
  • To encourage students to learn from the materials in order to broaden their education
  • To develop reading habits

Functions of a School Libraries

  • Provide a wide range of learning materials
  • To organize materials in the library for ease of retrieving using either indexes or guides
  • To facilitate effectively in the school programme in order to meet the information needs of the users
  • It should encourage people of learn from the available materials
  • Develop reading habits for students and a school as a whole
  • To acquire a disseminate comprehensive information
  • To involve teaching staff in selection of library materials
  • Conduct users education program to both teachers and students
  • To provide facilitate for the materials needed

A school library should have the following for its success:

  • Adequate funds
  • Qualified Staff
  • Adequate space
  • A stock of relevant materials
  • Support from teachers and administration

Academic Libraries

It refers to Libraries established to serve an institution of higher learning e.g Polytechnics, Colleges and Universities.

Role of Academic Libraries

  • To support teaching and Learning
  • To support research activities of the parent organization

Functions of Academic Libraries

  • To offer general collection of material of common interest in various fields
  • To provide access to records needed by members of the community
  • To support the teaching and research taken in the parent organization through the acquisition and organization of materials by providing effective services
  • Allow students to pursue personal independent search for knowledge
  • Offer user education i.e training the user on how to make effective use of sources in an information centre
  • Dissemination of information the catalogues, displays as well as bibliographic services
  • In some countries especially developing countries, university libraries perform some or all functions of a natural library
  • They provide services to the public to small extent

10.2 Librarian Skills

It’s also referred to Peoples Skills.

It refers to as a set of abilities enabling an information centre professional to interact positively and work effectively with other employees in an information centre. Or It refers to skills used to interact and communicate well with different users of an information centre at the work place ( information centre) in order to enrich the life of each other.  Or it refers to the aspect of qualities that connect two or more things or parts belonging or working together.

A Librarian or any information Center professional staff must possess the following interpersonal skills:

  • Positive Thinking
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Clear communication
  • Leadership

Purpose of Interpersonal Skills

  • It increases the productivity in an information centre as it reduces the number of conflicts
  • It allows communication in an information centre to be easy and comfortable
  • It helps the employees of an information centre to control feelings that emerged during difficult situations so that they cannot respond appropriately
  • It brings good interactions among the employees and users of an information centre.

N.B Interpersonal skills are related to the way you communicate and interact with people in the information centre either users or the staff

Life Skills

It refers to behaviors used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. Or it’s a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life.

Human Skills/ People Skills refers to a term that describes the ability of someone to work well with others and able to provide a good customer relation attitude.


Critical thinking skills/Decision-making skills:

Decision making skills:

Decision-making is a process to determine alternative and constructive solutions about problems.

Critical thinking skill:

Critical thinking skill is an ability which helps to analyse information and experiences in an objective manner. It also helps us to evaluate the influence of decisions taken on our own values and values of people who are near to us.

Adolescents are most of the time influenced by media and peers. This skill can assist them to assess the pros and cons of the situation and help them to evaluate their actions.

Problem solving skill:

It is an ability to identify the problems correctly, understanding its sources and causes very constructively. These causes have to be reduced or eliminated. This skill also assists in choosing the best alternative from many to solve the problem.

Interpersonal/Communication skills

Effective communication

Communication is an important process which is used by an individual to transfer ideas, information or feelings to others. Unless

the communication is effective, the purpose of communication fails. Effective communication skill helps to express oneself both verbally and non-verbally through gestures, in way that messages are not distorted and, moreover, it is appropriate to one’s culture and situation.

Therefore, effective communication includes active listening, ability to express feelings and giving appropriate feedback.

Negotiation/refusal skill

Sometimes, an individual is put in a situation, where he/she does not want to remain for a long time. This induces lot of dissatisfaction in an individual. For example, a child is bullied or abused by his/her classmates. This can put him/her in a state of depression or detachment.

Then, negotiation skill will help that child to negotiate, without getting aggressive towards them and thus helping him/her to become more acceptable.


It is an ability to imagine and understand what life is like for another person, even in a situation that you may not be familiar with. It is important for an adolescent to develop positive outlook towards others and feeling of cooperation, which is necessary for preparing the foundation for adulthood.

Interpersonal skill

Team work is required to the successful completion of a project. For example, if you want to organise an exhibition in your school, then, who all will provide you help? The Principal, your colleagues, or the fellow students? The skill, which is required to co-ordinate work with The involvement of the people, is called Interpersonal skill. This skill helps an individual to relate in a positive way with fellow beings.

Development of this skill enables an individual/adolescent to be accepted in the society. He/she also develops the acceptance of social norms, which is essential to prevent an adolescent to follow delinquent behaviour.

Coping and self-management skills

Coping with stress/stress management

Adolescence is a vulnerable period of development and rapid developmental changes causes stress. Erickson has propounded that in this period individual wants to have his/her own identity. If proper direction is not given then he/she feels stressed out. Therefore, this skill helps in recognising the sources of life stress and directs an individual to choose a way that can control the heightened stress level.

Coping with emotions

Briggs concluded that emotional development is complete by the age of 2 years. The adolescent generally shows heightened emotions as compared to an adult and we end up in concluding that this group is immature.

This skill is involved in recognising the emotions and also helps to respond to those emotions appropriately. Since, emotions also influence the overt behaviour, the skill becomes more important for the constructive personality development.

Skill of self evaluation/self awareness

This skill includes the recognition of one’s self esteem, internal locus of control, likes and dislikes. If an adolescent is able to recognise them, then he/she starts believing that they can make a change in the world. Therefore, they start looking at themselves and world more positivel

Role of Life Skills

  • Self-discipline
  • Self-respect
  • Help to solve conflicts by enhancing peaceful co-existence amongst employees of an information center
  • To respect each other’s’ idea in the work place

Time Management

It refers to the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity in the information center.  Time management is usually necessity in any information centre’s development as it determines time and scope of the activities carried out within the information centre.

We’ve all heard the saying “time is money”, and that phrase is essentially true. Unfortunately, time doesn’t always equal money though. Time is continually passing but that doesn’t mean you are continually making money, this depends on how you manage your time and what you do with it.

Reasons Why Time Management is Important

  • Time is limited

Everyone gets the same amount of time each day, and it’s limited, therefore it’s important to make the most of your time if you ever want to be more than average at the workplace.

  • Accomplish more with less effort

By taking control of your time, you’re able to stay focused on the task at hand. This leads to higher efficiency since you never lose momentum. Imagine running a mile where you stop every 5 seconds, this would cause you to become exhausted very quickly and take much longer to complete the run.

  • Make better decisions

There are many choices in life and often-times we’re faced with many choices to choose from at the same time. When you practice good time management, you have more time to breathe; this allows you to determine which choices are the best to make.

When you feel pressed for time and have to make a decision, you’re more likely to jump to conclusions and not fully consider the different options; this leads to poor decision making.

  • Be more successful

Time management is the key to success; it allows you to take control of your life rather than follow the flow of others. You accomplish more, you make better decisions, and you work more efficiently; this leads to a more successful life.

  • Learn more

When you control your time and work more efficiently, you’re able to learn more and increase your experience faster. There’s a reason some students graduate earlier than others, so imagine implementing time management throughout your entire career. You’ll not only stand out from the rest, but you’ll gain experience must faster and be able to move up in life a lot sooner.

  • Reduce stress

One of the main causes of stress is due to people feeling rushed. The phrase “I have so much to do and so little time to do it” is generally spoken with frustration which leads to stress. With good time management, you know how much time you have, how long it will take to get your tasks done, you accomplish more, and have more free time. This gives you more breathing room, which reduces the feeling of being rushed, which in turn leads to less frustration and stress.

  • Higher quality work

We all need some free time to relax and unwind but, unfortunately, many of us don’t get much free time because we’re too busy trying to keep up with our daily activities and work load. By implementing time management skills, you are able to get more done in a shorter period of time leading to more free time.

  • Creates discipline

When you practice good time management in your life, you are less likely to procrastinate. Time management leads to higher productivity and leads to a disciplined life.

Time-saving methods

Maintain a simple filing system. It is useful to review the files at regular intervals. Those, which are no longer needed, should be thrown away.

Let your committee meetings and conferences be held near lunchtime or dinnertime. Majority of the participants will be keen to finish the meetings in scheduled time.

Screen telephone calls in order that you answer only the essential ones. Your secretary or assistant can take messages for the rest. You can answer them later.

Keep your desk clear by removing away the materials, which you are not currently using. By doing so you will avoid distraction and the tendency of doing too many things at the same time.

Be fully aware of your key hours of the day. Use them effectively together with the lunch-time and the short period finishing the work in the evening.

Potential ways of wasting time

  • Taking too much time for working to chat with people on personal matters not connected with work.
  • Long group or committee meetings which may not be productive.
  • Too many interruptions during working time.
  • Disorganization arising from poor management.
  • Work is not properly delegated or very little delegation is allowed.
  • Leader/manager may not be decisive.
  • Lateness and absence are other potential ways of losing time for performing tasks.

Successful entrepreneurs must use their time effectively because any time which has been spent is gone. It cannot be recovered. Entrepreneurs must use every minute productively. They must adopt their own methods of planning, organising leading/directing and controlling for the most productive performance.

Time management techniques

  • Daily goals. First, identify your specific daily goals. Know what you want to accomplish each day. List the work goals, in order of importance. Then tackle the most important goal before you to the  others in your priority list. Have time to work on your own until you finish your major goals. There should be no interruptions and distractions during this time of your total concentration. Establish your office routine to operate even if you are not there.
  • Set specific deadlines with time targets to achieve the tasks. Let your deadlines be realistic and achievable. Do everything possible to meet your time targets.
  • Taking notes. Maintain a notebook or diary all the time. Write down your established key points to provide a permanent record of committee meetings, telephone conversations an your discussions with others. Record your own thoughts and ideas plus future appointments, things to do, names and telephone numbers of the people you deal with.
  • Use telephone. Use telephone as the main communication link between your office and others in your working world. Keep letters to a minimum except where necessary. Use also telex, fax and e-mail facilities to communicate with your working world. Telephone is particularly good because it provides a two-way conversation. Hence it is quick for solving problems as opposed to long meetings or letters.
  • Self-motivation. Successful entrepreneurs are highly motivated individuals. Motivation helps them to accomplish the tasks which are to be undertaken within a planned period of time. Self –motivation is used as another technique of time management because it helps them accomplish many tasks within a given time period.
  • Action oriented. Be action-oriented if you want to manage your time-well. Once you decide to do something, eg. solving a problem, do it promptly. It is advisable to take time to plan your work and then implement it.
  • Work plan. Plan your work in detail for today and tomorrow as well. At the end of a day’s work, it is logical to prepare another work schedule for tomorrow. Reduce the danger of procrastination. At the end of each day, you will examine ways in which time was wasted and use the experience to avoid time wasting activities in future.
  • Ask managerial questions. Before you start working, you need to ask helpful and relevant questions. Examples of helpful questions are: What? When? How? and Why? These questions are actually managerial questions because their answers help you to find out more effective and efficient ways of attaining your goals and objectives.
  • What activities do you need to delegate to your staff?
  • What are your priorities in decision-making process?
  • Do you have properly scheduled activities? Are they accomplished within the planned
  • Time?
  • Do you concentrate in one activity at a time or do you handle many activities without

Proper concentration?

  • Avoid doing everything. It has been said: “if you want something done, have a busy person do it.” You are a busy entrepreneur with purposeful actions. Concentrate your efforts on the important things that lead to significant results. Select your work activities and try as much as possible not to do everything. If some activities are not directly connected with your priority goals, it is advisable to say “no” because they are time-consuming.
  • Reflective thinking. Acquire this art of learning from one’s past experience, present and potential future activities. People think about what they do, hence they do not find time to be alone while resting or before sleeping. It may be when one is traveling, waiting for transport or walking alone. You can use such times for reflecting on your work,
  • Review and evaluate your experience. If you review and evaluate your past experiences you, will determine which ones were interesting and productive. You will know which ones are likely to face similar experiences in future, you can choose the activities you consider useful an productive for your future activities.

Working in blocks of time. It is advisable to perform some tasks within a given period when you feel most effective. This can give you an opportunity to work undisturbed for the period of block time. This maybe for 3 or 4 hours. Lunch – time can be included in which case you take a good breakfast and miss lunch. This can be critical to your success if you are dealing with a special problem or situation.

Creating a Positive Cycle with Time Management

Not only are there an abundance of reasons as to why time management is important, but there is a multiplicative benefit of time management. Implementing good time management allows you to accomplish more in a shorter period of time, which leads to more free time, which leads to lower stress, which increases your attention span and increases your work quality, which leads to more success. Each benefit of time management improves another aspect of your life and it keeps going in a constant cycle.

So why is time management important? Well because, it makes you happier, more successful, live a fuller life, and live stress-free.


  • Concentrate on important activities
  • Avoid the deadline trap
  • Plan time management
  • Recognize time constraints
  • Minimize disruptions
  • Get information quickly
  • Consider time as your major asset and invest wisely in time management.


Refers  to the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals or having a clear perception of your personality including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivates and emotions.

Self Esteem

Refers to a term that is used in psychology to reflect a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. Or it’s a judgment of oneself as well as attitude towards the self. Or being happy of your ability and character.

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