Rapid access to reference resources



Understanding, as opposed to seeing, depends on knowing the background, the context, of whatever is of interest. For this reason the creation of reference resources is foundational. Creating reference resources and making them available requires major investments of resources expertise. The benefits derived, the return on this investment, depends on the use made of them. The digital environment offers new possibilities for creation, publication and access, but the principal effect has been to increase the use of the resources that are easiest to use rather than the most trustworthy. Hence, a design challenge: How can the use of respected reference resources be made comparably easy to use? We will present a “Context Finder” a browser enhancement that reduces radically the effort required to find explanations in reference resources and report on infrastructure connecting the reader's screen, library guides, and reference resources.