Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Google Books at the Reference Desk

A patron approached me at the reference desk yesterday looking for information about the creation and filming of the shower scene in Psycho. She specifically asked for books and so we searched our catalog and found a book on Hitchcock. I also browsed the reference section with her but we didn't find the specific information we needed in the various film reference works.

We went back to the computers and while she found some information in the journal databases, I found a few books in Worldcat including this one and this one. The patron wasn't interested in ILL or visiting another library so all I thought we could offer was the full text databases.

Later though, I thought of trying Google books and found what looked to me like very helpful content specifically about the Psycho shower scene. I also noted that the second book I found in WorldCat had a online review linked to it in Google which also discussed the shower scene.

Lesson learned 1) that I'm still thinking in terms of "traditional" library tools. And 2) that these online book databases can actually be useful to answer (or move us toward an answer) in real world reference questions. Maybe next time that patron will encounter a more prepared and better equipped reference librarian.

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