Referenstaktiker – konsten att guida i det okända

Fredrik Eriksson, Hanna Voog


Reference tactics – the art of guiding in the unknown

How can academic librarians overcome the knowledge gap between themselves and library users? As we see it, the gap is generated by the user’s deeper knowledge of the subject topic in comparison to that of the librarian. Thisknowledge gives the user possibilities of handling certain premises attached to the subject and also of seeing how sub-topics relate to each other within the main subject topic.

At the same time the user is in need of assistance to fi nd subject information and this need needs to be explained to the librarian as a search expert. The scope of our study was to fi nd out how the librarian, tactically, can reach the user's need despite lack of subject knowledge.The main fi ndings of our study were nine different reference tactics conducted by the librarians in situations where their subject knowledge was believed to be insuffi cient. The tactics were labelled as follows: Interview, Dialogue, Routine Conduct, Random Test, Collaboration, Feedback, Forwarding, Follow up and Pedagogic Strategic Tactic.