Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign: What Does "Reference" Mean to Academic Library Users?

Document Type


Publication Date



In the library profession there is abundant use of jargon and acronyms to describe library activities. The terminology used is important to both market and describe library services. Often library professionals make assumptions that their users understand what library terminology means. Reference is a term widely understood by librarians and library workers, but is that understanding conveyed to the library user especially in academic institutions? The Regis University Library Reference Services Department faculty were curious to discover whether their students and faculty knew what the word "reference" meant especially since this word was on the sign above their service desk and used in the name of their department. A survey was developed by the Reference Services Department to answer that question and others. Results from the survey were used to propose a new name for the desk, department and librarians.

This document is currently not available here.