INLS 501: Information Resources and Services

From Pomerantz
Revision as of 12:10, 25 February 2014 by Justin (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
"The answer is inconsequential. It's how we go about finding the answer."

-- Allen Smith

Course description

This course will address sources, services, and systems for providing reference and information service in libraries and information centers. We will examine, create, and evaluate reference sources in a variety of formats. You will gain experience with using, providing, and evaluating reference services in a variety of media.

The course will address the following areas, in varying depth:

  • Overview of the reference function and the role of libraries;
  • The history and future of reference service;
  • Structure, access, and evaluation of information tools;
  • Question negotiation;
  • Search skills and search strategy; and
  • Evaluation of reference services.

INLS 501 is an introduction to reference sources and services, broadly construed. If you are interested in reference work in specific environments, SILS offers a variety of courses: INLS 703, 704, & 705, 708, 709, and others.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students will:

  1. Be able to identify appropriate information sources and search tools for various types of information needs, and
    1. Use these sources and tools effectively,
    2. Evaluate information sources and search tools for quality,
    3. Evaluate information sources and search tools for relevance to their own information needs,
  2. Understand the steps of the reference transaction, including question negotiation and search strategy development,
  3. Be able to create documents for indirect reference.


Jeffrey Pomerantz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

School of Information and Library Science

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

CB 3360, 100 Manning Hall

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360

v: 919-962-8064

f: 919-962-8071

pomerantz at unc dot edu



A note about office hours: I live in Seattle, WA & will therefore not be holding in person office hours in Chapel Hill. I will hold virtual office hours using Google Hangouts. And I am reachable by all of the fine media listed above. Contact me via any means you prefer. I'm happy to schedule a phonecall if you require a longer conversation.
Curriculum vitae

Course management

Sakai site: Only your grades will be in Sakai. All other course content and activity will be on the course WordPress site.

Course LibGuides site (I will provide you with login info in class)

Course Piazza site

Textbook & reading

No textbook is required.

All readings will be assigned on the course Schedule. All readings will be available on the free web, as an ejournal, or via the Library's ereserves. Readings are also listed in my course Pinboard feed.

Readings are listed on the Schedule on the day on which we will discuss them.

I collect other items of interest using the inls501 tag on Pinboard. Please do the same.

Additional reading

Reference is a central function of libraries, and as a result a lot gets written about it. The two standard textbooks that get used in Reference courses are:

Bopp, Richard E. and Linda C. Smith. (2001). Reference and Information Services: An Introduction, 3rd ed. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Katz, William A. (2002). Introduction to Reference Work, Volume I: Basic Information Sources. 8th Ed. New York: McGraw‑Hill.

Katz, William A. (2002). Introduction to Reference Work, Volume II: Reference Services and Reference Processes. 8th Ed. New York: McGraw‑Hill.

There are several journals dedicated to reference, including:

And pretty much every journal in the field of ILS publishes articles on reference from time to time.


Information Service Evaluation

Internet Public Library

Social Q&A

Street Reference

Course Page


Grading rubric & other policies

See my course grading rubric.

See my course policies.

See the Online Class Statement.

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

  • Information Service Evaluation: 10 points
  • Internet Public Library: 15 (5 points per question)
  • Social Q&A: 15 (5 points per question)
  • Street Reference: 20
  • Participation: 10


<include iframe src="//" style=" border-width:0 " width="800" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>