Reference & Research Methods for Genealogy and Local History

Course Description: To study the resources and materials to promote and perform reference services in Genealogy and Local History through lectures, readings, discussion, and practical exercises. The course will use primary and secondary materials available to librarians and archivists in public and academic libraries and on the Internet.

Course Objectives: This course will teach students to locate, identify, evaluate, and analyze, various primary resources used by researchers in Local History and Genealogy. Librarians and Archivists are being called upon more frequently to assist patrons in searching their family roots, and researching events and locations in their past. This course will provide the tools to understand how these specialized materials are arranged and accessed.

Students will learn to:

  • Identify specialized indices and finding aids to locate documents and materials in genealogy and local history.
  • Analyze and interpret the primary documents.
  • Research reference questions posed to genealogy librarians and archivists using the resources in their collections.
  • Locate primary resources outside the department and the library / archives that pertain to genealogy and local history, including government documents and public records.
  • Create collection development policies and to work collaboratively with local organizations to share resources and make appropriate referrals to their holdings.
  • Compare and contrast genealogy and local history collections throughout the library and the academic community to encourage use of the materials and promotion of the collections through exhibit, bibliographic instruction, research projects, and publication.
  • Evaluate databases and paper resources for genealogy through available through publications and organizations and including technical standards, program development tools, scientific and administrative research reports, and advocacy literature.
  • Evaluate reference services, policies, and resources through case studies and reference questions.

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