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Gimlet: Questions Types

Question Types

Question Types Definition Examples
Reference Ready Reference (Can  be answered at the Public Services Desk)
  • "Do you have a book written by ...?"
  • “Do you have "Automating Inequality"?”
  • "Can you find a phone number for me?"

Research and Specific Search (refer to librarians or refer to "Ask a Librarian" if reference desk is closed)

The answers to specific search questions involve searching multiple sources for the answer and presenting a range of information. And answering research questions may involve trial-and-error and browsing techniques. The librarian needs to formulate a search strategy to select appropriate resources. These questions are often a variation of “What are the best sources of information for my needs?”

  • “I am writing a paper on hummingbirds. What information do you have?”
  • “Do you have anything on the history of atomic energy?
  • Someone working on a business plan for a new restaurant will need statistics about the local population (age groups, income, etc.), as well as information about managing a restaurant (staffing, suppliers, costs, etc.)
  • Someone is working on the history of an old part of town. Your patron may start by poring over local history materials within the library but the search is certain to expand to other collections and knowledgeable people in the area. You may need to find guidelines and techniques for specialized research methods such as collecting oral histories.
Directional A directional question is an information contact that does NOT involve the knowledge, use, recommendation, interpretation, or instruction in the use of any information sources.
  • "Where is the bathroom/restroom?"
  • "Where do I check out books?"
  • "How late are you open on Friday?"
  • "Do you have today's newspaper?"
  • "Do you have a study room available?"
  • "How do I add money to my Rambler?"
Technology Technology questions are inquiries about use of technology to access information. They will include questions about the computer's and its peripherals' hardware and software, login to campus network, wifi, and etc.
  • “Do you have Photoshop on the computers?”
  • “How do I print?”
  • “How do I log into my account?”
  • “How do I access library resources from off-campus?”