Why Reference and Research Division of Library is Important?

Written by: Mohd Aidel Bin Abdul Majid (UiTM Practical Student at USM library)

Academic libraries refer to libraries attached to universities and colleges, serving the teaching, learning and research needs of students and staff. In Malaysia, every university has its own main library. Based on Badilah, Shahar and Chew (1996), each of the academic library comes under the jurisdiction of the respective universities.

Meanwhile for the other types of libraries such as school libraries, special and public

libraries in Malaysia, academic libraries hold relatively larger collections as well as they

are better funded and staffed. In addition, the academic community in the country has

pioneered the establishment and use of the Internet and Web sites. As a result of these

developments, academic libraries have been in more privileged position to provide better

and more services to their users (Lee and Teh, 2000).


Universiti Sains Malaysia library is the center of knowledge and information for users (students, lecturers, researchers and etc). There are three building of USM library that located at main campus ; PHS, PHS1 and PHS2. Name of library was taken from fomer vice chanselor, Tan Sri Hamzah Sendut. References and Research Division venue is in PHS building. This new building will help any problem from users in retrieving information, teaching how to use online database, searching information as fast as possible and etc.


1.References and Research Division.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) library provide the best services to their user especially students, lecturers, researchers and many more. All this services come from Reference and Research Division that manage reference inquiry and assists user in searching various type of information. The main focusing of this division is to teach users in information seeking part and improve retrieval skills.

1.1 References and Research Division: Units & Services

Universiti Sains Malaysia provides the User Education & Information Literacy Unit in their services in order to enhance the huge success in servicing and then users will satisfy with services for a very long time. Referral services provided include reference inquiry, research, and search for information from library resources organization or from external databases. User also be referred to a specialist or another library if the query cannot be met from the reference library information resources organization. Overall, the References and Research Division is the important division in helping user in achieving their goal in retrieving information and finishing their work as fast as possible.

Images 1.0 Reference and Research Division Blog Page

This Unit hosts programs to teach user life-long skills to enable them to use information resources effectively through the following activities:

(a) Information Literacy Skills Workshop

(b) Information Search Skills Workshop

(c) Taklimat Kembara (Road Show)

(d) Library Briefing

 1.2 Reference Inquiry Unit

After that is Reference Inquiry Unit that responsible in Reference Counter services by maintaining its quality and also developing the reference resources collection in consistent ways.

 1.3 Industries and Science Information (MIDAS) & Research University (RU) Unit

This Unit promotes MIDAS membership. MIDAS is a special service for the industries and trade communities in the northern region of Malaysia. Special fee-based Library membership is offered to employees of companies who wish their staff to use Library facilities. At the same time, this unit is also responsible for the management of data for RU. From time to time, it will compile and submit reports as requested by USM.

 1.4 Electronic Information Searching Unit

This Unit handles electronic information research and retrieval. It also manages the electronic resources which include the Library website, subscribed databases and in-house databases. It also hosts Database of the Month Program that highlights databases to users.

2.0 Important of user to refer their work or assingment to References and Research Division in academic library.

User need References and Research Division in retrieving information easily and do their work as fast as possible. Example when, user need to provide references in their work. The references librarian will teach them how to do the reference of their thesis or assingment in easily ways by using Endnote. This software will produce them to do references in flawless ways and systematic. The reason to provide refences in work are to demonstrate that user have read widely and deeply, to enable the reader to locate where user obtained each quote or idea, giving the original source will acknowledging that user have read the work and recognized the original author opinion and finally, to show that every user understand the topic in systematic ways.

Next, the library user will be more independent when searching information when they joining class like ENDNOTE class that prepare by References and Research Division USM library. The librarian will teach user how to prepare bibliography and understand the list of references. Then, teach the basic guide of using OPAC KRISALIS, searching thesis in OPAC KRISALIS, how to access E-book and E-jounal and many more.

Image 1.1 ENDNOTE software

After that, if user have other problem that regarding to their work or assingment of certain subject like to search more deeply information, they can just e-mail or call librarian. Example e-mail of USM libraryrujukan@usm.my.Additionally, user also can via through library website when they need more information. Example like USM library website www.lib.usm.my.

On the other hand, the user will retrieve the latest information or up-to-date from librarian. Hence, the user will retreive the factual information. In conclusion, the Reference and Research Division is the main department that really important for users in orders to do their work or assingment in systematic ways, retreiving information as fast as possible, understand how to use database and many more.

Image 1.2 ENDNOTE class at Reference and Research Division (USM).

3.0 The Important of References Department to students (Academic Library).

Skilled staffs of reference librarians are available to help with using the library and its resources. They provide assistance in person, by phone, by e-mail, and by electronic chat. Librarians can assist library users:

  • By understand the variety advanced search techniques
  • Navigate and interpret library and Internet resources
  • Conduct and organize information part
  • Conduct their research more efficiently
  • Next, locate government documents and keep safely
  • Identify experts in and beyond Memorial Library
  • Assist with grants research
  • Place interlibrary loan and document delivery requests
  • Finally searching the factual information in consistent ways.


4.0 Why References Department is important in academic library.

A reference librarian works in the reference section of a library and assists patrons with questions on research and how to effectively utilize reference materials.

Examples of references department are handbook, dictionaries, encyclopaedia and many more. On the other hand, references department also contain database as references through online such as Emerald, Proquest, Springer link, MEDLINE, Science Direct, and etc. Additionally, references services is really important for students, lecturer, researcher and etc to seek out the various part of references services and then master references sources that suited with academic library.

Image 1.3 Reference Desk

5.0 Skill that needed as References Librarians in Academic Library.

There are a lot of skill that needed as Reference librarians. Example apply critical-thinking skills, emotional intelligence, teaching ability, and question analysis to connect the user with appropriate resources. While some libraries developed variations (such as tiered models), the traditional model, involving face-to-face interaction between a patron and a librarian who answered every type of question from one or more multipurpose service points.

Nowadays, the references librarian will learn something new skill that will provide the best services to the user as fast as possible. System like public-access computers and remote access to data will sets quickly and then sowed the seeds for a revolution in reference daily routines automatically.

6.0 Conclusion.

Reference service has been described as the most essential service in any type of library. According to the Ademodi (2004), he said that, while it is very important for students to seek reference services and master reference sources that suit their academic needs. However, it’s unfortunate that students are not aware of important reference services. Example in Nigerian university libraries. He observes further that reference service is the core of research activities in a library. The need for research is more important now. As a result of a change in educational philosophy which requires students study more independently. Reference service is a main component of library service, which helps users find the information they require, to access easily, and use it. Based on Han and Goulding (2003), reference service is not a recent phenomenon in any library, but can be traced back to at least 1876.

Image 1.4 Reference Services

7.0 References

Ademodi, D.T. (2004). Students’ awareness of reference services in Adekunle Ajasin

University library. Owena Journal of Library and Information Science 1(1):1-12.

Retrieved from August 25, 2012


Badilah Saad, Shahar Banun Jaafar and Chew, W. F. (1996). ‘Malaysian libraries

for national development: a country report.’ Paper presented at the Tenth

Congress of Southeast Asian Libraries (CONSAL X), 21 – 25 May 1996,

Kuala Lumpur.

K.H.Lee and K.H. Teh (2001). Evaluation of Academic library website in Malaysia.

Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science,

Vol.5, no.2, December 2001: 95-108.

Retrieved from 25 August, 2012


Han, L., & Goulding, A. (2003). Information and reference services in the digital

library. Information Services and Use 23: 251-262

Retrieved from August 25, 2012



Reference Department (2012). Harvard System of Referencing Guide.

Retrieved from August 26, 2012


Perpustakaan Universiti Sains Malaysia (2012). Library Brochure.

Retrieved from August 26, 2012


8.0 Appendices from Library USM Reference and Research Division.

Image 1.5 Schedules of User Education Programmes (USM).

Contact of Reference and Research Division Librarian.



Tel. No.

Hamdan Hassan

Senior Librarian/Head Division



Noor Adilah Azmi




Noor Anisah Khadiri




Mohd Ikhwan Ismail




Muhammad Akmal Ahmat




Reference Counter


General Office

Tel.: 04-6535377

Fax.: 04-6571526

General e-Mail


 Table 1.0 Contact Librarian of Reference and Research Division

8.0 Appendices from Library USM Reference and Research Division.

Figure 1.0 How to use OPAC KRISALIS.


Figure 1.1 How to access E-books and E-journals.


8.0 Appendices from Library USM Reference and Research Division.

 Table 1.1 Samples of Databases Lists



Table 1.2 Samples of Databases Lists



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