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A-Z Common Reference Questions for Academic Librarians


A-Z Common Reference Questions for Academic Librarians is a survival guide for frontline library staff to help them find appropriate information quickly, whether they are answering questions at a physical help desk or remotely by telephone, email or instant messaging service.
The book will help academic librarians tackle the questions most commonly asked by students, academics and researchers. A broad cross-disciplinary A-Z of themes including topics such as literature searching, plagiarism and using online resources are covered helping you to address an query confidently and quickly. Each topic is split into three sections to guide your response:

  • typical questions: listing the common enquiries encountered
  • points to consider: exploring the issues and challenges that might arise
  • where to look: listing annotated UK and international resources in print and online including key organisations, scholarly bodies, digital libraries, statistical data and journal article indexes.

A-Z Common Reference Questions for Academic Librarians updates and expands the author's previous book, Know it All, Find it Fast for Academic Libraries, and includes new sections on

  • blogging and social media
  • text and data mining and data visualization
  • assistive technology resources
  • early career researchers
  • impact measurement including bibliometrics; citation analysis and journal rankings
  • academic internet searching
  • LGBT studies
  • Middle East studies
  • project management
  • open access publishing
  • research data management
  • study skills
  • systematic reviews.

This will be an indispensable day-to-day guide for anyone working with students, academics and researchers in an academic library.

A-Z List of entries
Accountancy Acronyms and Abbreviations African Studies Anthropology Archives Art and Design Asian Studies Banking and finance Biographical Information Biology Book Reviews Blogging Careers and employability Charities Chemistry Citing, Referencing and plagiarism Citizenship Classical studies Company and Stock Market Information Computing and ICT Copyright Country Information Courses Criminology and Criminal Justice Current Awareness Data / Text Mining / Data visualisation Development Studies Dictionaries and encyclopedias Disabled Students Electronic books Early Career researchers East Europe and Russian Studies Economics Economic History Education Elections Electronic Journals Engineering English Literature Environment and conservation European Union Films, Documentaries and Moving Images Fod science and agriculture Foreign Languages Freedom of Information Requests Gender studies including feminism, and women's studies Geography Government Publications Grants and Funding Grey Literature Higher and further Education History Human Rights Images and Photographs Impact measurement Information Literacy International Organisations International Relations International security and wars Internet searching International Students Journal Articles Latin American Studies Law Legislation LGBT studies Library Catalogues Literature Searching Management Mapping services Market Research/ opinion polls Marketing Mathematics Media and film Studies Medical science and Nursing Middle East Studies Music News resources Open Access Parliaments / Parliamentary Proceedings Performing Arts, including theatre/ drama Philosophy Physics Political Science Population and demography Presentation Skills Professional associations, trade unions Project Management Publishing Reference Management Tools Religion and Theology Research data Management Research methods Research students Social Media Social Policy Speeches and quotations Sport and Leisure studies Standards Statistical Data Study Skills Systematic reviews Teaching Theses and Dissertations Think Tanks/ Policy Institutes Tourism and Hospitality Treaties United Nations Writing and style guides

Heather Dawson is an Academic Support Librarian in the Information Services Department of the LSE Library and the author of the Facet Publishing book, Know it All, Find it Fast for Academic Libraries (2011).

'Reference is one of the most important and essential parts of academic library services all over the world. Dawson, a British librarian, has prepared a very useful book with many reference questions on important subjects. The book also has a very good introduction and an index that will further help academic librarians answer user's questions.' — CHOICE connect

CHOICE connect

'Very highly recommended as being ideal for a library science curriculum or as in-service training textbook for library students and/or aspiring academic librarians, A-Z Common Reference Questions for Academic Librarians is impressively well organized and presented. This thoroughly "user friendly" resource is unreservedly endorsed for the Library Science instructional reference collections of community, college, and academic libraries and library systems.'

Midwest Book Review

"Complete and comprehensive, author Heather Dawson, a library leader at the London School of Economics, provides the techniques needed to take a question and answer it for a patron quickly and effectively. Practical advice for librarians in managing their collections through technology and general know how, Know It All, Find It Fast for Academic Librarians is a strongly recommended addition for any librarian's library science reference collection."

Midwest Book Review

"This is a fantastic practical handbook for any academic library to have at the ready when those tricky questions come in at the front desk. It would also be very useful for someone new to working on the front desk of a busy academic library or working with a new subject area."


"Heather Dawson has done a truly excellent job and I am in awe of her command of the academic reference landscape and ability to subject it to logic and order and make it approachable for frontline staff without specialist subject knowledge. This is a book that every UK academic library, from the loftiest research led institution to the most humble college, should have available… his is not a book to languish on the backwaters of the reference shelves. It belongs on the frontline at the enquiry point and all staff engaged in responding to queries from students, staff and researchers, especially those new to enquiry work, should be conversant with its contents and use and not be too grand or embarrassed to consult it whenever confronted with a question that leads into unfamiliar territory."

Reference Reviews

"Overall, I think this book is marvellous and it will definitely have a place on my bookshelf. This book is not going to give you the definitive answer to the "education system of Zambia" query, but it does provide signposts for your way toward the answers and will tell you where to start your search. Ultimately, if you are looking for an information source to give you a starting point on your reference journey, which is packed full of useful tips, then this is the book for you."

Library Review

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