Connecting Questions with Answers

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date



The term frequently asked questions (FAQ) brings to mind library websites circa 1995. These first attempts at providing reference help via the broad reach of the Internet were generally comprised of a list of questions hyperlinked to answers farther down the page. These early FAQs were of uncertain value, though they held the promise of a core principal of librarianship: access to information.1 Fast-forward to 2013, and FAQs have become a much more sophisticated instrument. The expectation of an FAQ now is that it be database-driven and searchable, combining the simplicity of a search engine while losing none of the specificity innate to library research. Is this an achievable goal? Yes and no, as this chapter will demonstrate. Regardless, it is a necessary objective, one that meets the needs of library users and leverages the knowledge of reference staff.

This document is currently not available here.