Die englische Bezeichnung dessen, was in deutschen Bibliotheken Information, Auskunft oder auch Auskunfts- oder Informationsdienst genannt wird, umfasste schon immer mehr Service als in Deutschland üblicherweise angeboten wird.
In seinem schönen Beitrag "Preparing to Meet the Future of Reference Service: Leverage Knowledge and Instruction for Tomorrow’s University Library" beschrieb David Michalski, University of California, Davis, 2011 seine Sicht auf die zukünftige Entwicklung.
Hier ein paar, auch aus meiner Sicht programmatische Textausschnitte, die nicht nur auf den Auskunftsdienst zu beziehen sind, sondern auf die gesamte wissenschaftliche Bibliothek, einschliesslich deren Aktivitäten zur Förderung von Informationskompetenz:
"Reference is not an imposition [= lästige Pflicht!]; rather it lays bare what is already integral to the intellectual project of universities. To refer is to provide context, to put into connection, to follow the connection that weaves together social worlds.[…]
The reference librarian thus teaches the archaeology of documents. He or she helps reconstruct how documents come to life, and how they are received in different circumstances. The reference librarian alerts readers to the social life of information by teaching how connections and distinctions take shape within a document’s information network.[…]
… one must get to know one’s patrons by participating in their academic life. Librarians at universities ought to find ways to imagine the social world of students and faculty, perhaps by attending classes and discussing how syllabi are designed. […]
The accelerated instability of disciplinary boundaries challenges the library.[…]
A paradox of transparency has arisen within the contemporary information environment: while the visibility and access to information expands, the social context of information seems to have become less transparent. The same vast, multidisciplinary digital reserves, which make the discovery of information possible has led to a disembodied form of content presentation. Context is harder to perceive. As such it is harder for both the researcher and librarian to re-situate the social location of information. In this environment, the interpretation, evaluation, and translation of sources becomes a crucial factor in the successful research endeavor. As such, universities require the diffusion of new information literacy skills, those appropriate to a changing infoscape.[…]
The separation between librarian skills and academic research skills no longer holds, but this is not disintermediation.[…]
Librarians need to understand the research process. […] This knowledge is best acquired through practice.[…]
Reference and collection development are complementary tasks and ought to be thought about and practiced together.[…]