Optimal Digital Reference Service for Children

Table of Contents



Developmental Theories and Children's Information Seeking Behaviour

Organization of Digital Reference Service

Digital Reference Products and Design Issues

What to Include on an OPAC or Website for Children

The Reference Interview

Recommended Digital Reference Resources for Children


Appendix: Digital Resources for Children

Works Cited


The libraries that serve today's children and youth are full of computers and digital resources. Virtually all material is found through the library's website, or Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). How do children go about finding the information they need? What considerations must a librarian take into account when helping a child find information and resources in the library? What considerations must there be when designing library OPACs and websites for children?

The purpose of this paper is to examine the best ways to provide digital reference services to children. The research looks at theories of child development, studies on the information-seeking behaviours of children, and the views of several librarians in order to provide the best possible digital reference services to children of all ages. The paper also includes a selection of current CD-ROMs and websites that were researched and recommended for children.


Comments or Questions? Please e-mail Ivana Kozina.

This paper was written as part of course requirements for LIS 536: Digital Reference at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. It has been converted into a web document to meet the requirements of LIS 600: Capping Exercise.

This website was last updated 15 March 2004