22 Pages

Managing Experts: Creating Links Between Librarians, Users, and Systems

New service opportunities are emerging for reference librarians to utilize their expertise as information handlers in assisting re­ searchers to meet their information needs. Reference librarians have traditionally assisted library users in clarifying their information needs, in designing strategies to translate these needs to retrieve information within the structures of appropriate resources, and in evaluating the results of retrieval processes. A logical extension of the traditional reference functions is to apply the understanding of user needs and of information organizational structures to the orga­ nization of user held information. In the past few years, microcom­ puter-based software packages offer organizational structures utiliz­ ing expert systems and database management to possibly facilitate this new function. Managerial questions arise concerning the nature and feasibility of expanding the role of reference librarians to sup­ port this added function of assisting experts to manage their infor­ mation.