International and Comparative Librarianship

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Unusual Reference Questions - Globalism Visited


I asked a librarian in Puerto Rico once what an American name would be, and she answered “Smith” without blinking. I guess they were still clinging to the old view of America even when America has undergone so much change ethnically and culturally.(1)

I've had lots of wonderful reference questions over the years. But there are
a few I remember with special fondness. I took a phone question from a woman
who described a flag in great detail. She wanted to know what country it
came from. After looking through several flag books with no luck, I asked
her where she had seen the flag. She told me she had "seen" it in a dream!(2)

Google for more unusual reference questions / uncommon reference questions / real questions (transcribed)

Survey instruments:
  • http://montanalibraries.org/MLNCoopRef/VR-RFI.1.doc
  • STATEWIDE VIRTUAL REFERENCE PROJECT
  • Virtual Reference In-Depth Questionnaire
  • evaluate the Virtual Reference Project: questionnaire
    __
    References
    (1) Puerto Rico- How to Eat the Cake and Have it Too. davidkessel's blog
    From the same source: One of my professors at the University of Puerto Rico explained that Puerto Rican was a “nationality”, a cultural concept, whereas “American” was “citizenship”, a political aspect.
    (2) [PUBLIB] unusual reference questions (fwd). Sender: Eileen Simmons

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