The Reference Librarian

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The Reference Librarian is an academic/scholarly, peer-reviewed journal published semi-annually that, "focuses on a topic of current concern or practical value to the reference librarian." The journal, originally published in 1980/81, is a publication of Haworth Press, Inc. and is available in print and online. The journal has approximately 636 paid subscriptions (Ulrich's, n.d., “Basic Description” tab) and is indexed and abstracted in a number of places (Ulrich's, n.d., “Abstracting/Indexing & Article Access” tab).


Each issue’s articles address a central theme or issue. These thematic articles are often simultaneously published in monograph (by the same publisher) with the same name as the journal issue. Occasionally, there are "Special Reports" contained in the journal that are not also included in the corresponding monograph.


Bill Katz (School of Information Science and Policy, University of Albany, State University of New York) served as the Editor of The Reference Librarian from 1980 until he passed away on September 12, 2004 (2006, vol. 45, issue 93, Section “In Memoriam). As of the most recently published issue of The Reference Librarian (2006, vol. 45, issue 94), the current Interim Editor is Sul H. Lee, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Oklahoma.


Authors wishing to publish in The Reference Librarian are advised to "(a) submit his/her name, position, and qualifications; (b) briefly explain the focus of the proposed article; and (c) indicate the approximate length." Authors are warned that because manuscripts are "by invitation only," he/she should not submit his/her manuscript "unless requested by the editor or ... guest editors." (2006, vol. 45, issue 94, section “Journal Ordering, Copyright, and Document Delivery Information”, sub-section "2. Manuscripts"). Manuscript lengths are generally between 15 – 30 typed pages and the required citation style is Chicago (Haworth Press Inc., Manuscript Submission Information, n.d.)


Issue topics range from digital reference services, the image and role of the librarian, new technologies, interacting with faculty, diverse users (e.g., adults, distance students, and problem patrons), conducting reference transactions, the reference librarian’s change role in the age of the internet, and information literacy, to different information resources, such as animal issues, the study of Africa, and the Holocaust. Many, if not most, of the authors are academic librarians and generally speaking, the intended audience appears to be fellow academic librarians. In addition to articles about current reference-related issues, The Reference Librarian also occasionally contains case studies.




  1. In Memoriam. The Reference Librarian, 45 (93). Retrieved November 15, 2006, from Haworth Press Database.


  1. Journal Ordering, Copyright, and Document Delivery Information: Manuscripts. The Reference Librarian, 45 (94). Retrieved November 15, 2006, from Haworth Press Database.


Haworth Press Incorporated. (n.d.). How To Submit Journal Articles To The Reference Librarian. Retrieved November 21, 2006, from


Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory. (n.d.). The Reference Librarian. Retrieved November 9, 2006, from


Mary Ann Naumann