UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of archivists' perceptions of reference service Kiemele, Sandra


To identify the relationships between particular characteristics of archivists and their perceptions of users and reference service, data was collected from two surveys distributed to two survey populations of archivists. One survey asked archivists' own perceptions of reference service, the other asked archivists' perceptions of their colleagues' perceptions of reference service. Five hypotheses were developed, drawing upon models of reference process from the literature of library science and upon ideas expressed by authors of archival reference service literature. These hypotheses are that archivists' perceptions of reference service relate to 1) the type of repository with which archivists are most familiar, 2) the functions (e.g. arrangement and description) with which archivists are most familiar, 3) the forms of records (such as government records) with which archivists are most familiar, 4) the amount of time archivists have spent in reference service, and 5) the education level of archivists. The results suggest that the type of repository with which the archivist is most familiar relates to his or her perceptions of reference service. While the other categories also exhibited significant relationships, the overall analysis of the results of the other categories was less interesting than the results obtained from the category regarding the type of repository. Determining the existence of such relationships was the preliminary investigation upon which to base further research. The results of this study suggest that likely areas for further examination of this topic are the methods of reference service used in particular repositories.

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