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Apparatus: A Mnemonic for the Evaluation of Reference Resources

What is a reference resource? The A.L.A. glossary now defines a reference resource as:

Any source used to obtain authoritative information in a reference transaction. Reference sources include printed materials, machine-readable databases, library bibliographic records, other libraries and institutions and persons both inside and outside the library. I

This definition is much wider in its ambit than earlier treatments which emphasized sources of concise factual, and occasionally evaluative, information (dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks, manuals, directories, yearbooks, atlases) and bibliographical sources (catalogues, bibliographies, indexing and abstracting services). The change in the nature of reference resources has occurred with information technology making available different formats of audiovisual and machine readable resources and also with a recognition of a greater need for an active maximum reference service, the provision of information rather than instruction in how to find it. Any information resource becomes a reference resource-books, serial and audiovisual materials, people, and organizations, internal or external to a library's environment.