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The Evolving Natures of Reference Work and Reference Product


About The Webinar

In an age when rapid reference inquiries may be handled through a mobile phone and a search engine, reference work in the library must change and expand. How is that unfolding? What are the new expectations of the information products once referred to as major reference works – those comprehensive or subject-specific encyclopedias and indexes that served library professional and patron? How are librarians combining free and subscription resources? This webinar will examine a variety of approaches to enhanced service.

Confirmed SpeakersLenny AllenGlobal Sales + Marketing Director, Bloomsbury Digital Resources; Chris Strauber, Senior Research Librarian/Bibliographer for Philosophy and Theology, Boston College; Damon Zucca, Publisher, Scholarly Reference, Oxford University Press

Event Sessions

Reimagining Reference Use at Libraries


Damon Zucca

Publisher, Scholarly Reference
Oxford University Press

Confusion about the reference category has made it difficult for publishers, libraries, and related services to respond effectively to the evolving needs of library users. I will argue we need to adjust how we talk about reference in order to draw out finer distinctions between types of reference sources and the use-cases that apply to them. This is not a question of print versus digital, but more fundamental. Updating our understanding of the reference category will make it possible to reimagine the reference collection at libraries in ways that will maximize its impact and usefulness in this new era.


Reference Sources: A User Perspective


Chris Strauber

Senior Research Librarian/Bibliographer for Philosophy and Theology
Boston College

An exploration of how reference sources worked and work in print and electronic form, what the audiences for them are, and what features make for an ideal reference source, drawing on experience from public and academic library reference desks.

The Forest AND the Trees: Challenges & Opportunities in Contemporary Reference Publishing


Lenny Allen

Global Sales & Marketing Director, Bloomsbury Digital Resources
Bloomsbury Publishing

The production of reference products has evolved dramatically, even within the relatively short span of the 21st century. While the primary driver of this shift is clearly traced to the impact of the digital environment, it’s worth touching on some of the details, both opportunities and challenges, that are currently faced by publishers and that have a direct impact on the way that reference content is both acquired, discovered, and used within an institutional setting.


Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by January 30, 2018 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.

  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.

  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the day before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.

  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.

  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact to provide alternate contact information.

  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.

  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.

For Online Events

  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.

  • NISO uses the Zoom platform for delivery of its virtual events. Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.