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Reference Collections Go Digital

Many essential reference sources such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories, indexes, and indexing/abstracting services are migrating to digital format and becoming readily accessible via the Web, greatly facilitating consultation by students and researchers.  This shift has led the Libraries to completely rethink the composition of our physical reference collections; as a result, many print titles have been moved to the general book stacks and can now be checked out.

The ever-growing list of essential reference sources that have moved to digital format includes the MLA International Bibliography, Chemical Abstracts (SciFinder Scholar), the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Grove Music Online), Shepard’s Citations, and countless others.  Electronic versions provide not only convenient keyword searching for citations, but also online access to full-text content.

Librarians realized that this shift enabled a thorough analysis of the materials housed in the Langson and Science Library reference collections and concluded that a viable print reference collection should emphasize currency, authority, usability of format, frequency of use, and need.  This led to the removal of older works, those with a very narrow audience, and those available online.  As a result, the print reference collections have shrunk to about half their former size.

Users can identify key reference resources by various means.  Search ANTPAC to determine whether a particular print title is located in a reference collection or the general stacks; if a digital version also exists, the ANTPAC record contains a direct link.  To identify reference works on a particular subject, try searching Reference Universe.  This new database includes UCI call numbers and electronic links to ANTPAC.  The Quick Reference and Subject Guides sections of the Libraries’ website are also very useful for identifying key sources in any field.

UCI’s reference librarians and subject bibliographers welcome your comments and suggestions for enhancing our collection of reference sources in all formats. 

UCI’s reference librarians and subject bibliographers welcome your comments and suggestions for enhancing our collection of reference sources in all formats.  For more information, please contact your bibliographer or Yvonne Wilson, coordinator of the Reference Reshaping Project (ymwilson@uci.edu or x47362).


 

 

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