Reference Interview

This guide gives a basic overview of the reference interview for faculty and staff at the Marriott Library.

Guide Purpose and Audience

This guide gives a basic overview of the reference interview for faculty and staff at the Marriott Library.  

This process includes five main guidelines organized above in the tab menu: Approachability and Interest, Listening and Inquiring, Searching and Follow-Up.  

 

For the purpose of this guide, "librarian" refers to any faculty or staff member who provides reference services.

What is a Reference Interview?

Smith & Wong (2016) define the reference interview as the "conversation between a member of the library reference staff and a library user for the purpose of clarifying the user’s needs and aiding the user in meeting those needs".

According to ODLIS, the reference interview is "the interpersonal communication that occurs between a reference librarian and a library user to determine the person's specific information need(s), which may turn out to be different from the reference question as initially posed...A reference interview may occur in person, by telephone, or electronically (usually via e-mail) at the request of the user, but a well-trained reference librarian will sometimes initiate communication if a hesitant user appears to need assistance".

 

Basically, we're trying to figure out the specific information the patron is looking for, and helping them find it.

Resources

Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library