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Reference Policy
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Research Information Services Policy

  1. University Library Mission Statement

    To be an excellent library to support the teaching, learning, research and community service activities of the University by providing client-oriented, innovative, and competent professional services, by building strong and relevant resource collections; by managing an efficient and effective system; and by implementing and utilizing available and relevant technology.

  2. Mission of the Research Information Services Division

    To administer the Research Information Services Division in an efficient and professionally competent manners, by providing a dynamic, client-oriented reference service, with individual and group assistance and instruction on the use of the library resources and services, and to develop a strong reference collection.

  3. Definition

    The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science defined Reference Service as direct, personal assistance to readers seeking information.

  4. Library Users

    Library users are all people seeking information whether in person, by telephone, by fax, by e-mail or by mail. Research Information services are available to all persons without discrimination. The needs of the library users are taken seriously and treated with the utmost respect

  5. Policy Statements
    The purposes of this policy statement are:
    • To provide staff with a compendium of information policies that promotes a uniform standard of service of the highest possible quality consistent with available resources;
    • To describe the services and resources which are offered by the Research Information Services Division;
    • To set standards and guidelines that ensures excellence in Research Information Services of the University.
  6. Terms of References
    • To consider each individual information query to be equal merit regardless of the age, gender, ethnicity, disability, or language proficiency of the library patron;
    • To maintain an up-to-date, relevant and readily accessible collection of reference materials, (electronic and paper) relating primarily to the University’s Academic programme. The reference collection includes general and research-oriented dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, bibliographies, indexes, directories, almanacs, handbooks, and statistical sources;
    • To give appropriate reference assistance to the Library’s clientele. In helping patrons, the reference staff determines the need of the patron, the exact information requested and to find sources appropriate to the level of knowledge and interest of the patron. This service is provided regardless of whether the patron has come to the library, telephoned, or e-mailed;
    • To provide efficient online reference assistance to users of the library;
    • To provide instruction in Library use by the most effective means and with suitable cooperation with other Library divisions;
    • To provide access to remote bibliographic, numeric and full-text databases;
    • To actively publicise the scope, nature, and availability of the information services we offer. We shall employ those media most effective in reaching our entire clientele;
    • provide Information Literacy Skills programme;
      Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.
  7. Reference Collection Development

    Materials will be selected for the reference collection based on their ability to meet both general and specialised information needs. The reference collection may contain titles that generally are considered to be reference tools, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes, directories, and similar genres. Usage will have a strong bearing on the decision to place materials in the reference collection or the general circulating collection. Electronic reference resources will be selected using the same criteria as other library materials and may be selected in place of the traditional print versions.

    The nature of this collection will require frequent weeding and updating to remain authoritative, current, and trim. Weeding of annual publications will be liaise with Cataloguing Division.

    The full Reference Collection Development Policy is indicated in the University Library Collection Development Policy Document dated 16 August 2006.

  8. Types of Reference and Information Services
    • Assistance in finding the answer to specific reference question;
    • Assistance in developing research strategies for reports, term papers, theses, and dissertations;
    • Instruction in the use of the Library and its resources through Information Literacy Skills programme;
    • Verification of Library holdings and referral to institutions which have materials this Library lacks;
    • Orientation to the Library through tours, training sessions, subject specific workshops, etc.;
    • Compilation and production of various instructional aids pertaining to information resources;
    • Compilation of bibliographic listings.
    • Online search service;
  9. Ask A Librarian Service

    The Ask A Librarian service on the e-Library@UBD portal is an online enquiry. That also includes an email reference link. It offers a specialised kind of reference enquiry that relates to research and in-depth information

    Chat with Librarian

    This service is provided to library customers who prefer to communicate their enquiries instantly with the librarian. It is available from 8.00 am to 8.45 pm only.

    Email Reference Service

    This service is provided to library customers who prefer to communicate their enquiries remotely via e-mail.

    The Email reference service is normally managed by the Head of Reference and Information Services. Statistics are kept on the number of enquiries, the type of questions asked and the type of library users. These are compiled on a monthly basis.

    The Head of Reference and Information Services or other authorised reference staff monitor the email "box" on a daily basis and will answer questions or refer certain questions to the appropriate librarian. The email reference enquiries are to be responded within 24 hours of receipt depending on the nature of enquiries.

  10. Research Information Services Staff

    Research Information Services staff serves as a link between resources and the patron. Therefore, it is important that staff members be:

    • Highly knowledgeable about traditional reference sources and proficient with electronic resources and the technology needed to access those resources;
    • Knowledgeable about the library policies, facilities and services, including other library collections;
    • Knowledgeable about Brunei Darussalam as a whole;
    • Open and approachable, friendly but professional;
    • Able to communicate effectively with all library users;
    • Discreet in the handling of questions that might be confidential or sensitive;
    • Impartial in dealing with all patrons;
    • Able to exercise good judgment both in the interpretation of policy and in the handling of exceptional situations;
    • Able to instruct the public in the use of print and electronic resources;
    • Able to evaluate the Internet for authority, accuracy, currency, and content;
    • Skilled in the interviewing process in order to help the patron formulate their specific question and make the patron comfortable in the transaction so they will return for further help if their need has not been met;
    • Take the responsibility to seek continuing education opportunities especially attending seminars, conferences or workshops approved by the Chief Librarian.
  11. General Guidelines for Research Information Services Desk
    • Service to the public receives priority over any other duties. Library users should be confident that the primary purpose of a reference librarian is to assist them;
    • The patron is served on a first come, first served basis;
    • Reference questions are treated confidentially;
    • Whenever possible or prudent, in-person reference receives priority over telephone queries;
    • Research Information Services staff will conduct expert reference interviews to determine the reference/research needs of the library user. Reference staff will exhibit model reference behaviour at all times;
    • Research Information Services staff will rely upon information obtained from reputable sources in order to give the most accurate and authoritative answers to questions;
    • Reference staff will also use professional judgement in determining how best to serve each customer reference needs;
    • Research Information Services staff will always cite the source of the answer;
    • Research Information Services staff will refer the client to other appropriate sources or institutions when the query cannot be answered to the satisfaction of the client using Joint Academic Library Network (JALINAN) or other local libraries.
    • Service desk should be manned all the time during working hours and when left unattended, a label indicating where the reference librarian must be displayed.
  12. Specific Research Information Services Desk Guidelines
    1. In-Person Reference:
      • Reference questions may require reference staff to accompany clients to the online catalogue/databases to explain its use or to the library shelves to help locate material;
      • Because no two reference questions are alike, there is no time limit to reference assistance;
      • If there are a number of library users needing assistance, requests that are directional or brief in nature may be given priority over lengthy or complex questions.
    2. Telephone Reference
      • Telephone reference enquiry generally falls into the Ready Reference category and should take no more than 5-10 minutes;
      • Telephone enquiries should be limited to a reasonable number; librarian will use their best professional judgement;
      • For long and/or complex questions, reference staff will follow-up with the library user by calling them back or another mutually agreeable means of communication.
    3. Electronic Reference Service
      • The electronic Reference Resources comprises of reference tools which are available in electronic format and accessible via Internet. These may be those subscribed by UBD or resources which are freely available over the Internet and hyperlinked to e-Library@UBD portal;
      • The list of the electronic Reference Resources is as listed in the e-Library@UBD portal.
    4. Specific Enquiry
      • E-mail reference questions will be answered in the order in which they are received;
      • Questions of a complex or subject specific nature received through e-mail will be forwarded to a more senior staff or those knowledgeable about the subjects concerned;
      • E-mail address to be used for any queries: ulref@lib.ubd.edu.bn;
      • Reference staff will instruct and/or orient users to the online resources subscribed to by the library and made accessible through the library e-Library @UBD Portal;
      • Reference staff will use professional judgement to determine when a fee-based electronic database would be the best means of answering a question;
      • Reference staff will provide authoritative answers to questions;
      • Reference staff cannot guarantee the validity or accuracy of information retrieved from the Internet;
      • ID and PASSWORD are only given to registered member of UBD staff, students and external membership to access all the library databases.
  13. Loan of Reference Materials

    Reference materials will not circulate unless under special circumstances, where reference books may be checked out overnight at the discretion of the reference librarian on duty. Books will be checked out at the circulation desk. A note will be left in the Reference Logbook to alert the Head of Research and Information Services and the staff that the title has been borrowed.

    Item that can be borrowed by a lecturer:
    • Books – 1 day,
    • Serials – 3 days
    Item that can be borrowed by a student:
    • Books - half day.

    Student must have a valid reason such as borrowing the item for teaching purposes or producing colour photocopying.

    Item that cannot be borrowed:
    • Microfilm/fiche;
    • Map, etc.
  14. Library Instruction and Orientation Session

    Classes are offered by Reference and Information Services Division for instructional use of the library catalogue, electronic resources, elibrary@ubd portal and Internet searching. Training session are taught in a classroom with hands on to the resources and database made available by the University Library.

    • General Orientation
    • Library staff orients new students to the facilities, collection and services on a walking tour of the library.

    • Information Literacy Skills Training
    • These training introduce students to the research process and to the use of the eLibrary@ubd portal, VISION OPAC, Bruneiana Digital Collection, Internet, CD-ROM and online databases such as EBSCOhost, ebrary, etc., so that they will be able to locate and retrieve information.

Training dates and times are posted near the Reference Desk. Booking may be required.
This document is the official policy of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Should there be further queries please contact:
Head of Research Information Services
University Library
Ext. 2162/1209
e-mail: Abdullah.tahir@ubd.edu.bn

Prepared by
Haji Abdullah bin Haji Tahir
Head of Research and Information Services Division

Updated 11/02/2015