Using the Internet @ the Reference Desk

The Internet is an essential part of daily reference services in Libraries. Now that patrons are more Internet savvy, librarians need to prove that they can search quickly and recommend the appropriate electronic resources. This workshop will provide an overview of ready reference sources available at public libraries, and will discuss search strategies. We will examine meta-search sites, indexes and engines that are useful for ready reference questions. You will have the chance to try out the search tips during guided hands-on exercises. You’ll see how to interpret questions in a reference interview, how to execute searches effectively, and then how to evaluate results. General ready reference searches will be emphasized.

Hands-on practice using actual reference questions gathered from a variety of types of libraries and will include accessing information about current events, stock quotes, people, hobbies, health, travel, employment and entertainment.

Bring your favorite or most difficult question and solution to the workshop to share with other participants.

Prerequisites: familiarity with Netscape or Internet Explorer and some searching experience


  • Evaluate web sites and commercial databases
  • Evaluate and interpret reference questions
  • Increase proficiency with Search Engines
  • Gain familiarity with some Ready-Reference sites


Reference staff at any library (adult or children’s departments)

More Information


Miriam Kahn, MLS – MBK CONSULTING Columbus, OH