7.8 Referral services

Referral means suggesting where a user can find information that is not available in the resource centre. Referral services are among the most important services offered by a resource centre.

No resource centre can hold all the materials available on all the subjects of interest to their users. It is important to know about other sources of information, so that users can be referred to them if necessary.

Other sources of information may include members of a network (see Section 8.3: Networks and networking), or other resource centres, either in the same country or elsewhere, that provide enquiries services (see Section 7.11) or document supply services (see Section 7.7).

It is possible to find out about other resource centres and information services by:

  • scanning or reading newsletters on the subject areas that the resource centre covers
  • networking with staff in other resource centres - those in the same country specialising in any subject area, and those specialising in similar subjects, either in the same country or elsewhere
  • joining e-mail discussion groups, such as ASIALIB (see Section 6.9.4)
  • searching the World Wide Web (see Section 6.7).