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 The Reference Assessment Manual

The Reference Assessment Manual

compiled and edited by:
The Evaluation of Reference & Adult Services Committee
Management and Operation of Public Service Section
Reference and Adult Services Division (RASD)
American Library Association

Assessment of reference services is essential for improving our understanding of and ability to provide effective services utilizing traditional and continually evolving electronic reference sources.

The Reference Assessment Manual provides a wide range of instruments that are useful in assessing reference services. Reference assessment instruments for both public and academic libraries are included. Most instruments can be easily adapted for assessment of reference service in an electronic environment.


Fifteen chapters address the following topics:

  • Assessing Library Services: The Reference Component
  • What Reference Services Should Be Offered?
  • Library Users and Reference Patrons
  • Question Classification
  • Reference Environment
  • Reference Collection Use
  • Electronic Databases and Reference Assistance
  • Worklife and Morale
  • Reference Duties and Responsibilities
  • Reference Training
  • Communication and the Reference Interface
  • Reference Librarian Knowledge and Search Strategy
  • Reference Volume, Staffing, and Accessibility
  • Costs and Outcomes
  • Reference Effectiveness

Each chapter discusses the scope of the topic, its importance, the current state of the field, and research needs.

The Reference Assessment Manual also includes an extensive annotated bibliography of works related to reference assessment as well as reviews of reference assessment instruments.


In addition to the book, a computer disk with copies of many assessment instruments also is available.

"Important and interesting."
-- Journal of Academic Librarianship

Ordering Information

  • ISBN 0-87650-344-X, 6 x 9, 384p, paper, 1995
  • Book and disk, $45.00
  • Book only, $35.00
  • Disk only, $15.00
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