ILS-504 Information and Reference Resources and Services
Reference tools for a specific population
Main index
Examination of tools Analysis of queries prior to a reference interview ©2003-2007 Amy Ranger

Biographical references
Geographic resources

Food and Wine
Math and Science

[Note: This paper was originally written in July, 2003, for the class ILS 504, Reference and information resources and services, taught by Dr. Yan Quan Liu, at Southern Connecticut State University.]

Reference tools for a specific population

Motivating factors: My career goal is to work as an internet librarian/consultant, and I expect that my library will also function as the communal library. Therefore, I decided to create a reference collection for a group to which I belong, a commune on the shores of Lake Superior, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I know these people well and understand their interests and needs. I expect the library and reference collection to get a lot of use, due to the nature of the individuals as well as environmental factors (the weather and physical isolation).

The assumptions: There are about 100 individuals in the commune, 90% adults. Of these, two-thirds are couples, the rest are single men. Most are college graduates; 35% have advanced degrees (masters or Ph.D.). The majority are computer engineers, designing either hardware or software. A sizable minority are either artists or artisans. Several people in the group have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism, and approximately 35% of the group is under treatment for mental illnesses, primarily depression, so their medical and psychological needs have been taken into account in the reference collection. Major hobbies include reading, especially science fiction and mystery, but also non-fiction, primarily history and technology-related works. Hiking, mining, amateur radio and amateur rocketry are also enjoyed by most of the group. Several people work with fiber (wool, silk, cotton) and form the core of the costuming and clothing department. All members of the group will have access to the library and each will have personal computer wired into the LAN (local area network), which utilizes a satellite uplink for internet connectivity. The collection is comprised of about 65% print materials and 35% online sources. I solicited opinions regarding valuable and necessary materials for the collection. Two people suggested that I include the top ten terabytes of Google. My feeling is that Google is not a deity, but if the server is big enough, why not?

The biases: As mentioned before, I know and understand these people. I think that a reference librarian has an obligation to know the population being served. As it takes considerable time to get to know a group of people and their needs, and I am rather short on time, I decided to provide for the group that I know.


Fuad-Luke, Alastair. (2002). Eco-Design : the sourcebook. San Francisco : Chronicle Books.

Thomas Publishing Co. (2003). Thomas register of American manufacturers. [United States] : Author.

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Handbooks, almanacs, yearbooks


Boy Scouts of America. (1967). Fieldbook for boy scouts, explorers, scouters, educators [and] outdoorsmen. New Brunswick, N.J. : Author.

Brunner, Borgna. (Ed.). (2002). Time almanac 2003 with Information please. Boston : Information Please LLC.

Crystal, David. (Ed.). (2000). Cambridge fact finder. Cambridge, U.K. : Cambridge University Press.

Food & wine

Hazan, Marcella. (1992). Essentials of classic Italian cooking. New York : Alfred A. Knopf.

Rombauer, Irma von Starkloff., & Becker, Marion Rombauer. (1975.) Joy of cooking. Indianapolis : Bobbs-Merrill.

Robinson, Jancis. (Ed.). (1999). Oxford companion to wine. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press.

Math & science

Boas, Mary L. ([1966]). Mathematical methods in the physical sciences. New York : Wiley.

Glover, Thomas J. (Compiler). (2002). Pocket ref. Littleton, Colo. : Sequoia Publishing.

Huff, Darrell. (1996). Complete how to figure it. New York : Norton.

Macaulay, David. (1988). Way things work. Boston : Houghton Mifflin.

Weast, Robert C. (Ed.). (1988). CRC handbook of chemistry and physics. Boca Raton, FL : CRC Press.

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Attwood, Tony. (1998). Asperger's syndrome : a guide for parents and professionals. London ; Philadelphia : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Clayman, Charles B. (Med. Ed.). (1994). American Medical Association family medical guide. New York : Random House.

Jackson, Luke. (2002). Freaks, geeks and asperger syndrome : a user guide to adolescence. Philadelphia : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Vickery, Donald M. & Fries, James F. (2001). Take care of yourself : the complete illustrated guide to medical self-care. Cambridge, Mass. : Perseus Books.


Ley, Willy. (1958). Rockets, missiles, and space travel. New York : Viking Press.

Isakowitz, Steven J., Hopkins, Joseph P. Jr., & Hopkins, Joshua B. (1999). International reference guide to space launch systems. Reston, VA : American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Van Milligan, Timothy S. (1995). Model rocket : design and construction : how to create and build unique and exciting model rockets that work. Waukesha, WI : Kalmbach Books.

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Biographical information

Asimov, Isaac. (1982). Asimov's biographical encyclopedia of science and technology : the lives and achievements of 1510 great scientists from ancient times to the present chronologically arranged. Garden City, NY : Doubleday.

Grandin, Temple. (1995). Thinking in pictures : and other reports from my life with autism. New York : Doubleday.

Shore, Stephen M. (2001). Beyond the wall : personal experiences with Autism and Asperger syndrome. Shawnee Mission, Kan. : Autism Asperger Pub. Co.

National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. (n.d.) Invent now. Retrieved December 7, 2005 from the website. NOTE: site requires FLASH.

Pioch, Nicolas. Web Museum, Paris. Retrieved July 28, 2003 from the iBiblio website.

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Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.) Britannica [online ed.]

Brown, Lesley. (Ed.). (1993). New shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. Oxford : Clarendon Press.

Clute, John. & Nicholls, Peter. (Eds.). (1995). Encyclopedia of science fiction. New York : St. Martin’s Press.

Gove, Philip Babcock. & the Merriam-Webster editorial staff. (Ed.). (1993). Webster's third new international dictionary of the English language, unabridged. Springfield, Mass. : Merriam Webster.


Dillmont, Thérèse de. (2002). Encyclopédie des ouvrages de dames = Complete encyclopedia of needlework. Philadelphia : Running Press.

Margolis, Adele P. (1987). Encyclopedia of sewing. Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday.

Parker, Julie. (1996). All about wool : a fabric dictionary & swatchbook. Seattle, Wash. : Rain City Pub.

Pritchard, Miriam Eleanor. ([1954]). Short dictionary of weaving, including some spinning, dyeing and textile terms and a beginner's guide to weaving and dyeing concisely arranged for quick reference. London : Allen & Unwin.

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Geographical tools

DeLorme Publishing Company. (2002). Michigan atlas & gazetteer : Back roads, recreation sites, GPS grids. Yarmouth, ME : Author.

DeLorme Publishing Company. (2003?). National Geographic topo : Michigan. Yarmouth, ME : Author ; [Washington, DC : National Geographic Society]. [CD-ROM]

John Bartholomew & Son Ltd. [Cartographers]. (1989). Times atlas of the world. (1999). New York : Times Books.

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Last updated 2007-06-10. ALR. Contact me.