Digital Reference Services for Engineers

Definition of an Engineer
Types of Information Sources
Accessibility / Ease of Use
Technical Quality
Stages of Information Seeking
The Reference Interview
Digital Reference
References (pdf)
Appendix (pdf)


Since accessibility and the principle of least effort determine how engineers choose an information source, digital reference services can be designed to enable engineers to access key information without having to leave their offices. Taking into account industry, work role, and project stage for each engineering group served will allow the librarian to create specialized services that will be the most accessible for their clients. The more a librarian can learn about the projects their engineering clients are working on, the more effective their references services will be. Engineers can spend up to 20% of their time searching for information (Court, Ullman, & Culley, 1998). If librarians can reduce this percentage through efficient reference interviews and designing specialized digital reference services it will directly result in the engineers being able to spend more time designing, the work that makes money for their organizations.