RIAs Summer Workshop

Tuesday, Aug. 29 - Morning (pt. 1)
(LC / reference)


  • Tripod warm-up
  • Drabinski discussion
  • a very brief intro to Library of Congress classification
  • McCabe's reference section + call number exploration
    • reference vs. monographs
  • advanced Tripod searching
  • online reference

☀️ tripod warm-up ☀️

brief article discussion!

(~10 min)

"Criss-crossed with categories, the library is a highly classified space that contains representations of reality within a rigorous structure that is informed by and productive of other social spaces and identities."

(Drabinski, 2009)


categories + classification //

"...Where subject headings fix books in stable intellectual space, call numbers fix them in physical space. Each subject heading is correlated with a number that places the book in linear order on library shelves.

categories + classification //

This is an inescapable material constraint; each book can occupy one and only one space on a library shelf."

(Drabinski, 2009)



categories + classification // 

not always straightforward...




  • what even is A reference WORK?!

    • choose a slip of paper (call number of reference book)
    • snap a picture of the shelf and grab the book from the reference stacks + have a brief look about
    • then, go to the stacks, find that same call number, and explore nearby shelves. snap a picture and choose one book to bring back!
    • now go to the oversized shelves!
    • as you browse, think about...
      • What topics are on surrounding shelves in reference vs. regular stacks?

      • What about genres? What's different in reference vs. stacks? 

  • ​​COME BACK IN 20 MINUTES! (+ use the bathroom, drink water, etc.)

Line up your books in call number order.

Tripod advanced searching pt. 3

--> Finding reference sources

--> Finding online reference sources

Now Try on your own

--> Using Tripod, find an online reference source that covers the same subject area(s) as your print reference book

and sometimes you're faced with the unknown....


  • Write down a subject that you're interested in and pass it to the left
  • Find a few resources for subject handed to you
    • Reference work
    • Monograph
    • Article
  • Spend ~10 minutes on this

In addition to fancy searching, Research Guides are a good place for curated reference info!

reference source evaluation //


  • what is the intended audience/purpose of the work?
  • how is the information organized?
  • who is/are the authors? where did their info come from?
  • how current is the source?
  • who is the publisher?


Top Secret photo  https://www.flickr.com/photos/nauright/5098953798/

RIAs Summer Workshop | Tuesday Morning (pt. 1)

By Swarthmore Reference

RIAs Summer Workshop | Tuesday Morning (pt. 1)

LC classification / reference tour + call # exploration / online ref

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