A learning tool A reference source Online since 1995 www.ipl.org
Subject collections Ready Reference Reading Room Home page of the IPLshown here in Internet Explorer – top half of page
The “About” area. Special Collections area You will be helping with the Ask a Question service – this is sometimes featured “above the fold” as an Announcement to generate more questions. Home page of the IPLbottom half of page
Top Ten Pitfalls when Answering Reference Questions using the IPL’s email-basedAsk a Question service
Pitfall #1 Being a little too anxious and eager to get started in the “real” (cyber) world (not doing a Practice Question) “I don’t need to practice – let’s get on withthe real questions.”
Pitfall #2 Succumbing to the illusionof online publishing and availability “If I find the answer using one really good site, I don’t need to look any further. Popular and easy sites are the best.”
Pitfall #3 Relying on Wikipedia as a reliable, authoritative source. Wikipedia is a librarian’s best friend! I can find just about any answer to every reference question.
Pitfall #4 Mistaking a source of information with an information portal/search engine. Isn’t Ask.com a source?
Pitfall #5 Just giving the answer! (and nothing else!) I know that one!
Pitfall #6 “Educating” the patron too much. “What's a good way to structure a speech ? “One basic structure for a speech falls into three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each part is designed to do something different. You need to have an introduction that gets the audience's attention and lets people know about the importance of the subject, why it's important for them to listen. It makes a first impression. In journalism they call it a "hook": something that's going to pull your audience in to your speech. The introduction should also reveal the speech's topic and give the audience some idea of the main points to be discussed. “The body of the speech is where the speaker develops his or her main points -- the big ideas of the speech. You should probably limit yourself to 4 or 5 main points in a speech, whether it's a 10-minute or a 60-minute speech. That will give you time to develop the points you're making. If you have too many main points, the audience will have trouble sorting them out and you may find that you aren't able to develop them in enough depth to be clear and convincing. “The conclusion is important because it's where you leave your most lasting impression. It's the last chance to drive the ideas home to the audience, and ideally the speaker will find a way to leave a lasting impression, both in terms of what he or she says, and in terms of the delivery. Some famous speeches end with stirring conclusions. A celebrated one is Patrick Henry's exhortation to "give me liberty -- or give me death." From: Stephen E. Lucas’s Interview: Bryan, Darrow, and Great Speeches found on PBS.org, and specifically at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/monkeytrial/sfeature/sf_lucas.html
Pitfall #7 Making “wrongfully gained” assumptions
Pitfall #8 Only using Google – habits are hard to break!
Pitfall #9 Not providing a working link to the answer. I found great resources and gave the links to the sources... Whoops! I typed them wrong and they don’t work!
Pitfall #10 Not completing their work with “Answered”
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