Twenty Years of MARS in Print: An Annotated Bibliography


Stephen H. Dew
Engineering/Physical Sciences Librarian
J. Murrey Atkins Library
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Nancy L. Buchanan
Coordinator of Electronic Resources
University of Houston Libraries


Lorrie A. Knight
Electronic Services Reference Librarian
University of the Pacific Libraries

Prepared for
The Publications Committee of
The Machine-Assisted Reference Section,
Reference and Adult Services Division,
American Library Association

[The printed version of this bibliography appeared in RUSA's official journal RQ [now Reference and User Service's Quarterly] v. 36 (Spring '97) p. 382-92]

From its official inception in 1977, the Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS) of RASD has actively pursued its purpose of representing "the interests of those planning, managing, teaching, or conducting computer-based reference service in libraries." 1 Given the fact that the issues relating to computer-based reference service have been vast and varied, with computer technology producing tremendous changes in reference librarianship, fulfilling this purpose has been no easy task. Throughout the last twenty years, MARS has been a central source of activities and information designed to assist librarians attempting to come to grips with the opportunities and changes brought on by computer technology.

On the tenth anniversary of the creation of MARS, Nancy Green-Maloney recounted the accomplishments of the section as well as its evolution during the first decade. Recognizing the importance of MARS committees in the section's efforts to fulfill its goals, Green-Maloney reported, "MARS committees have kept up with current computerized reference issues and served as an information resource to both the division and ALA in matters concerning new information technologies." 2 A major part of the effort to fulfill the section's purpose has included the compilation and publication of information relating to computer-based reference service. Cumulatively, the many publications produced by MARS committees serve as a significant contribution to the library profession in general, and to reference librarianship in particular. This annotated bibliography of publications by and about MARS provides a summary of that work. It is divided into four sections:

  1. Books, Monographs and Eric Documents
  2. RASD Occasional Papers
  3. MARS in RQ
  4. MARS in RASD Update

I. Books, Monographs, and ERIC Documents

Auster, Ethel, ed. The Online Searcher. New York: Neal-Schuman,
1990. 397p. ISBN 1-55570-066-3

This collection of thirty previously published papers is arranged under eight topical headings-- background, education & training, search process, enduser as searcher, facilitating endusers, programs that work, ethical & legal issues, and future directions. Four of the papers are from MARS committees. "An Introduction to Online Searching: A Suggested Outline," was prepared by the Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee (annotated under RASD Update), while the Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems Committee was responsible for preparing three of the papers-- "Planning for Enduser Searching: A Checklist of Questions" (annotated under RASD Occasional Papers), "Remote Access to Library-based Information Systems: A MARS Checklist" (annotated under RASD Update), and "Library Users and Online Systems: Suggested Objectives for Library Instruction" (annotated under RQ 1981).

Information Retrieval & Library Automation 26 (January 1991): 10.
Journal of Academic Librarianship 16 (January 1991): 394; 17 (September 1991): 236.
Library Journal 116 (February 1, 1991): 110.

Jackson, Angela Haygarth, ed. Training and Education for Online. London: Taylor Graham, 1989. The Foundations of Information Science, vol. 4. ISBN 0-947568-37-9

This collection of 26 articles (most previously published) is arranged under such broad categories as early development of online searching, training courses and aids, search techniques, end-user training, and databases. "Online Training Sessions: Suggested Guidelines," prepared by the Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee (annotated under RQ 1981), is included as one of the articles relating to training courses and aids.

Journal of Academic Librarianship 16 (September 1990): 267.
Library Association Record 92 (October 1990): 769.
Library Review 40 (1991): 69.

Lynch, Mary Jo, comp. A Survey of Machine-Assisted Reference Services to Children and Young Adults Under 18: Report of Results. Chicago: American Library Association, June 1988. 13p

Concerned that many children and young adults were not benefiting from machine-assisted reference service, the MARS Use of Machine-Assisted Reference Services in Public Libraries Committee conducted a survey, and the results are presented in this booklet. A questionnaire was developed during 1986 and 1987, and the survey was mailed in January 1988 to a random sample of 638 ALA members specializing in children and young adult librarianship. The overall return rate was approximately 74 percent. Questions relate to such things as number of searches done, types of databases and vendors, charges for service, limitations on searches, obstacles to offering service, referral services, etc.

Pasqualini, Bernard R., ed. Dollars and Sense: Implications of t he New Online Technology for Managing the Library: Proceedings of a Conference Program held in New York City, June 29, 1986. Chicago: American Library Association, 1987. 118p. ISBN 0-8389-3338-6

The twelve articles included in this collection of conference papers cover such major topics as direct and indirect costs for online services, creative approaches to funding, the economics of enduser systems, grant funding, choosing vendors and databases, improving technologies, and management services. The program was organized under the framework of two outlines prepared by the MARS Cost and Finance Committee (provided as appendices to the text)-- "Online Reference Services: Funding Methods" and "Online Reference Services: Costs and Budgets."

Booklist 83 (April 1, 1987): 1175.
Information Technology and Libraries 6 (September 1987): 230-31.
Journal of Academic Librarianship 13 (September 1987): 228.
Australian Academic & Research Libraries 18 (December 1987): 228-29
Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 75 (October 1987): 376-77.
Information Processing and Management 24 (1988): 211-12.
Online 12 (March 1988): 88-89.
RQ 27 (Fall 1987): 149-50.
Education for Information 7 (September 1989): 290-91.
Public Library Quarterly 9 (1989): 54-55.

Use of Machine-Assisted Reference Services in Public Libraries Committee. List of Consultants. Chicago: American Library Association, 1986. 20p. ISBN 0-8389-7014-1

This booklet provides a list of librarians with expertise in online search services who volunteered to advise novices about all aspects of online reference service. Each entry provides name, address, telephone number, and type of expertise (setting up a search system, budgeting/planning, hardware/software, and vendor specific).

Maloney, James J., ed . Online Searching Technique and Management: Proceedings of the Conference Program held in Philadelphia, July 11, 1982. Chicago: American Library Association, 1983. 195p. ISBN 0-8389-3285-1

A collection of seventeen papers presented at a MARS preconference program, the articles address such topics as basic concepts and applications of databases, the training of database searchers, financing, record keeping, institutional considerations, politics, and procedures. "An Introduction to Online Searching: A Suggested Outline," prepared by the MARS Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee, is provided as an appendix. Intended for librarians planning introductory sessions with novice searchers, the outline is designed to be compatible with the committee's earlier work, "Online Training Sessions: Suggested Guidelines" (annotated under RQ 1981).

Booklist 80 (January 15, 1984): 715.
Canadian Library Journal 41 (June 1984): 160.
Emergency Librarian 11 (May/June 1984): 27.
Information Technology and Libraries 3 (March 1984): 90-92.
Library Hi Tech 2 (1984): 88-89.
Library Journal 109 (January 1984): 62.
Medical Library Association Bulletin 72 (April 1984): 222.
Online 8 (January 1984): 81-82.
RQ 23 (Spring 1984): 378-79.
Wilson Library Bulletin 58 (March 1984): 512-13.
Information Processing and Management 21 (1985): 172-73.
Journal of Academic Librarianship 10 (January 1985): 357-58.
Journal of Documentation 40 (June 1984): 168-69.
LASIE 16 (September/October 1985): 21-22.

Search Service Documentation Samples. Chicago: American Library Association, 1983. 3 microfiche.

This microfiche set is a MARS-produced collection of documents and other materials used by libraries to promote, conduct, and administer online searching. Examples come from all types of libraries, and in the selection process, an attempt was made to illustrate the wide variety of materials available. Categories include such subjects as search request forms, evaluation forms, billing forms, statistical forms, log sheets, policy statements, statements explaining search results, and publicity documents.

Blood, Richard W., ed. Evaluation of Online Searches. (Arlington, VA: ERIC Document Reproduction Service, ED 227 859, 1981). 58p.

Prepared for the Measurement and Evaluation Committee, this document is based on the analysis of online search evaluation forms collected from all types of American libraries. While focusing on commercially available systems such as DIALOG, ORBIT, and BRS, the report emphasizes the process of evaluating online services, especially the key importance of identifying clearly stated and measurable goals. The report discusses the pros and cons of various questions from the collected evaluation forms. A model evaluation form recommended by the committee is provided as an appendix.

Byerly, Greg; Carol Tobin; and Becki Whitaker. Guide to Online Computer Searching. (Arlington, VA: ERIC Document Reproduction Service, ED 190 039, 1979). 54p.

Compiled for the Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee, this guide was designed for librarians and administrators needing to find information about various aspects of machine-assisted reference. The text includes extensive lists of books, journal articles, indexes, abstracts, databases, training manuals, training opportunities, etc., that relate to computer searching.

Watson, P. G., ed. Charging for Computer-Based Reference Services: Proceedings of a Program Organized by the Machine- Assisted Reference Section (MARS) of the Reference and Adult Services Division at the American Library Association Conference, Detroit, June 19, 1977. Chicago: American Library Association, 1978. 49p. ISBN 0-8389-6356-0

This booklet includes three papers-- Haynes McMullen's "The History of Charging for Services in American Libraries That Have Traditionally Been Free," Zoia Horn's "Charging for Computer- Based Reference Services: Some Issues of Intellectual Freedom," and Jan Egeland's "To Charge of Not to Charge: The Choices and the Implications." In addition, the last fifteen pages cover a discussion of the key issues among the speakers and those attending the program.

Catholic Library World 51 (December 1979): 238.
Library Association Record 81 (July 1979): 341.
PNLA Quarterly 43 (Spring 1979): 20-21.

Watson, Peter G., ed. On-line Bibliographic Services: Where We Are, Where We're Going: Proceedings of an All-day Meeting at the Centennial Conference of the American Library Association, Chicago, July 18, 1976. Chicago: ALA Reference and Adult Services Division, April 1977. 91p. ISBN 0-8389-6342-0

This collection of conference papers presents a good summary of the status of online searching in 1976. Issues and concerns are addressed within a context of what was currently being done as well as what was foreseeable. This conference program was sponsored by the Information Retrieval Committee of RASD, and it has been described as the birthplace of MARS, for it was at this conference that the Discussion Group on Machine-Assisted Reference Service was officially formed and approved by RASD, with Watson serving as the first chairperson.

American Reference Book Annual 10 (1979): 133.
College & Research Libraries 39 (March 1978): 142.
Journal of Academic Librarianship 4 (May 1978): 91.
Library Journal 102 (December 15, 1977): 2487.
Library Quarterly 48 (April 1978): 243.

II. RASD Occasional Papers Series

Diaz, Karen R., ed. Electronic Publishing Alternatives For Access to Collections of America's Diversity: A Case Study a Resource Guide to Help you Make the Right Choices. A project of the MARS User Access to Services Committee. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 18. 1995. 52p. ISBN 0-8389-7799-5

This publication grew out of a discussion forum, "Electronic Access to America's Diversity," sponsored by the MARS User Access to Services Committee at the 1993 ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver. The guide identifies various options available to libraries and other organizations that have collected material by, for, and about traditionally underrepresented groups in American society. The guide is intended to assist collectors of such information in developing and following through with projects to share their resources electronically, and in addition, it can serve to lead students and researchers of underrepresented groups to electronic information already available. The document is divided into five sections-- (1) case studies, (2) working with vendors, (3) electronic formats, (4) electronic format comparisons, and (5) a resource list.

Education Training and Support Committee. Electronic Resources Skills: An Assessment and Development Log for Reference Staff. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 17. 1995. 17p. ISBN 0-8389-7795-2

The work was designed for two primary purposes-- (1) to provide a standardized means for database searchers to document their training and proficiency and (2) to provide a method for search service supervisors to more readily detect gaps in training coverage and more easily develop training plans. It includes reproducible forms with clearly written instructions that will allow supervisors and trainers to determine the experience new staff as well as plan orientation and training activities. The forms are entitled as follows: "Searcher Identification and Experience," "Local Orientation Program," "Search System Self Checkout," "Continuing Proficiency Record," and "Record of Formal Training" (one system/vendor specific and another database specific).

Kleiner, Jane and Lea Orkiszewski, eds. The Electronic Library: Linking People, Information, and Technology. Summaries of the Papers Presented at the Preconference, June 28, 1991 in Atlanta. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 14. 1992. 46p. ISBN 0-8389-7608-5

The papers include keynote addresses by Ching-Chih Chen (Multimedia Information Delivery: The Challenge to Librarians in the Visual Information Age) and Barbara Quint (New Lamps for Old: Substituting Online for Traditional). The Breakout Sessions included James E. Crooks' "User Aspects of Electronic Services," Nancy E. Eaton's and Pamela J. Andre's "National Agricultural Library Digitizing Project," Donna Hitchings' "IRIS: a Reference Information Center," Thomas J. Michalak's and Denise A. Troll's "The Mercury Project: Implementing the Distributed Electronic Library," Rebecca Lenzini's "Electronic Resource Sharing: Expanding Definitions," Jeff Propps' "Networking CD-ROMS," Bernard G. Sloan's "ILLINET Online," and Flo Wilson's "Enhancing the OPAC: Adding to the Scope of What Can Be Found." James Sweetland gave the closing remarks, "Librarians: The Technological Humanists."

Farley, Laine, ed. Library Resources on the Internet: Strategies for Selection and Use. A Project of the MARS Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems Committee. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 12. 1992. 43p. ISBN 0-8389-7576-3

This guide is directed toward anyone interested in exploring the many library catalogs worldwide that are on the Internet. It may also be useful to librarians or computer center staff as a resource for preparing materials to assist their users. The guide provides an overview of using the Internet to reach remote systems, suggests reasons for exploring library catalogs, lists resources for identifying which catalogs are available, and provides practical tips on navigating the Internet as well as using unfamiliar systems. It emphasizes a nontechnical approach and consolidates information from a number of sources.

Seiden, Peggy, ed. Survey of Libraries Providing Locally Mounted Databases. MARS Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Committee. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 8. 1991. 64p. ISBN 0-8389-7519-4

This report is divided into four sections. "Part 1," the introduction, gives an overview of the methodology and purpose of the study as well as a list of the participating institutions and a copy of the survey form. "Part 2," Data Analysis, contains an analysis of the technical data such as hardware, software, and data files, including a summary analysis and detailed data for each institution. "Part 3," Analysis of Questions 2, 3, and 11 through 16, is a summary analysis of the more qualitative aspects of the data, including questions on access, instructional methods, selection, staff, etc. "Part 4," the indexes, provides access by geographic region, database, and software.

Nitecki, Danuta, ed. Automation at the Reference Desk. Proceedings of the MARS Conference Program, New Orleans, 1988. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 4. 1990. 45p. ISBN 0-8389-7580-9

The opening chapter, "Historic Review of Attitudes: 1976 and 1988," by Danuta Nitecki compares attitudes of Reference Librarians on seven issues relating to automated reference services taken from surveys conducted in 1976 and 1988. The seven issues are (1) degree of personal involvement, (2) extent of library involvement, (3) barriers to online retrieval services, (4) management of services, (5) information needs, (6) channels of information, and (7) responsibility of library schools. Other chapters include "Impacts on Personnel" by Becki Whitaker, "Physical Environmental Issues" by James Crooks, "Variety of Formats and Approaches" by Ann Bristow, and "Future Trends" by Tina Roose.

Beck, Susan J., ed. O utline for Online Ready Reference Services. Prepared by the Measurement and Evaluation of Online Service Committee. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 3. 1989. 18p.

The work is based on a study of policies solicited from public, academic, and research libraries from across the nation. The topics include (1) "Parameters for Ready Reference Use," which provides examples of instances when ready reference searching might be appropriate, (2) "Guidelines for Search Analysts," which covers pre-search, search, and post-search factors of concern, (3) "Outline for Managers," covering concerns such as finances, equipment, training, statistics, evaluation, and planning, (4) "Appendix I: Sample Ready Reference Log," and (5) four other appendices containing sample policies from New (6) York Public Library, Louisiana State University, Pennsylvania (7) State University, and Stanford University.

Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems Committee. "Planning for End-User Searching: A Checklist of Questions," RASD Update 8 (April/June 1987): 14-17. RASD Occasional Papers, No. 1.

This checklist was not published as a separate document, but instead it was included as an article in RASD Update. It presents a variety of pertinent and useful questions intended to assist librarians planning for end-user searching. Questions are grouped into categories of (1) needs assessment, (2) administrative issues (service considerations, staff resources, cost factors, vendor characteristics), (3) scope of system being evaluated, (4) software, and (5) hardware. Later published in The Online Searcher, edited by Ethel Auster (annotated above).



Committee on Education, Training, and Support. "Electronic Information Sources: Guidelines for Training Sessions." RQ 35 (Winter 1995): 187-92.

The guidelines are designed to assist those preparing training sessions for library users on electronic resources (including online and CD-ROM databases, OPACs, and the Internet), as well as those evaluating such training sessions. Topics include purpose, audience level and size, presentation type and content, handouts, publicity, hands-on practice, and training facilities. Each topic is addressed in terms of basic training sessions, advanced sessions, and subject- or database-specific sessions.

Hansen, Andrew M. "RASD: Serving Those Who Serve the Public." RQ 34 (Spring 1995): 314-38.

A history of the origin and development of RASD, this article discusses the origin of MARS and briefly mentions MARS' work on standards and guidelines.


Local Systems and Services Committee. "Designing Local Interfaces to Distributed Information: A Selected Bibliography." RQ 34 (Fall 1994): 41-47.

An item in the "From Committees of RASD" column, this article is a revision of a bibliography distributed at a 1993 ALA Midwinter Meeting discussion and entitled, "How to Design the Perfect Front End or Gateway." The selected items focus on such topics as staff organizational adaptations to a networked environment, principles of interface design, online catalog interface design, local systems applications, and local interfaces to the Internet. Includes annotations.


Products and Services Committee. "Checklist of Items for Inclusion in CD-ROM Vendor Documentation." RQ 33 (Winter 1993): 215-17.

An item in the "From Committees of RASD" column, the checklist is designed to help vendors prepare documentation for CD-ROM products. It includes sections on organization, overview, retrieval software/system, databases, and technology.


Measurement and Evaluation of Service Committee. ed. Susan J. Beck. "Information Specialists' Use of Machine-Assisted Reference Tools: Evaluation Criteria." RQ 31 (Fall 1991): 35-38.

This article lists skills and abilities that online searchers should possess. These are divided into the following categories: technical skills, knowledge base, interpersonal skills, search interview, search execution, and professional responsibilities. Includes a bibliography.


Stenstrom, Patricia F. Review of Dollars and Sense: Implications of the New Online Technology for Managing the Library. ed. Bernard F. Pasqualini. In RQ 27 (Fall 1987): 149-50.

In her review of a book (annotated above) containing papers presented at a day-long program sponsored by MARS at the 1986 ALA Annual Conference, Stenstrom judges that the papers vary in quality, "but the best are excellent," and they provide insight as well as practical information and advice.

Database Products and Computerized Search Service Vendors Committee. "Guidelines for a Database Search Guide." RQ 26 (Summer 1987): 441-43.

Highlighting the information that should be included in any database search guide, the guidelines cover such major elements as database and producer information, retrieval capabilities and access points, indexing and abstracting policies and procedures, examples and illustrations, and supplementary lists (including abbreviations, codes, journals indexed, etc.). Includes a glossary.

Green-Maloney, Nancy. "Ten Years on MARS: Keeping up with Current Issues." RQ 26 (Spring 1987): 277-80.

An item in the "Current Issues in Reference and Adult Services" column, the article describes how MARS helps keep librarians current with new developments, as well as how MARS keeps itself current. Committees within MARS provide information to librarians via meetings, publications, and programs, and in addition, MARS works on standards and guidelines for new technologies and services. To assist in keeping itself up-to- date, MARS formed a Planning Committee in 1985 to act in an advisory capacity to the MARS Executive Committee on such issues as goals, objectives, and priorities.

Committee on Nonbibliographic Databases and Data Files. "Information Sheet I: What are Nonbibliographic Databases?" RQ 26 (Spring 1987): 280-84.

An item in the "Current Issues in Reference and Adult Services" column, the article includes a definition of nonbibliographic databases, information on how they are accessible, a summary of how the different types can be searched, a discussion of major cost considerations, and an overview of their reference and research uses. Includes a bibliography.

Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee. "Continuing Education for Search Analysts." RQ 26 (Spring 1987): 284-90.

An item in the "Current Issues in Reference and Adult Services" column, the article asserts that search analysts need ongoing training, not just introductory training. The importance of continuing education is highlighted by such factors as the restructuring of search systems, new database providers, new databases, and new products and technologies. Includes a selective directory of continuing education opportunities.


Hamilton, Dennis. "Library Users and Online Systems: Suggested Objectives for Library Instruction." RQ 25 (Winter 1985): 195-97.

Prepared for the MARS Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems Committee, the article provides a list of objectives for instruction programs, including printed and online instructional information for online systems. The objectives focus on understanding the system, planning the search strategy, operating the system, and interpreting the search results. The article was also later published in The Online Searcher, edited by Ethel Auster (annotated above).

Hansen, Andrew M. "ASD, RSD, and RASD." RQ 25 (Fall 1985): 13-18.

An item in the "Current Issues in Reference and Adult Services" column, the article provides a history of RASD from the formation of the Adult Services Division and the Reference Services Division in the 1956-57 ALA restructuring. This is an "informal look," not a detailed history. The origin of MARS, first as a discussion group and then as a section, is discussed.

Pilachowski, David M.; R. Patricia Riesenman; and Patricia Tegler. "Online Search Analyst and Search-Service Manager Tasks." RQ 24 (Summer 1985): 403-10.

A piece in the "Current Issues in Reference and Adult Services" column by the chair of the MARS Measurement and Evaluation of Services Committee and the current and former chairs of the MARS Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee, the article lists tasks deemed necessary for search analysts and search-service managers, as identified by these two committees. Analyst tasks focus on the interview process, strategy development, the search, and post-search activities. Manager tasks deal with coordination, training, management of physical facilities, evaluation, and publicity. Includes a five- page selective annotated bibliography.


Byerly, Greg. "Online Ready-Reference Searching: Just Another Tool?" RQ 23 (Spring 1984): 291-94.

A piece in the "Current Issues in Reference and Adult Services" column by the "Messages from MARS" editor, the article discusses the evolution of online searching from being primarily a bibliographic tool to being a resource for ready reference and other nonbibliographic data. Online searching's expanded role is reflected in the growth of MARS and the appearance of database reviews in RQ. Major issues in implementing online searching in libraries are discussed; MARS committees that attempt to address online searching issues are mentioned; and the 1984 ALA Annual Conference MARS program "The Ready Reference Use of Online Resources" is previewed.

Allen, Susan M. Review of Online Searching Technique and Management. ed. James J. Maloney. In RQ 23 (Spring 1984): 378-79.

Allen reviews a collection of seventeen essays based on the MARS program at the ALA Annual Conference July 11, 1982. The first part of the book deals with search techniques and equipment needed to conduct online searching; the second covers management of online searching services. Allen judges the book (which is annotated above) to be a good source of practical information, especially for those new to online searching.


Blood, Richard W. "Evaluation of Online Searches." RQ 22 (Spring 1983): 266-77.

An examination of the search evaluation form recommended by the MARS Committee on Measurement and Evaluation of Service, the article discusses the goals and processes for evaluating online searches, the uses of the form, and the design of the form. Included in the discussion are the purposes and uses of each question on the form, as well as an explanation of the reasons certain question are not on the form. The form is included as an appendix.


Shroder, Emelie J., ed. "Online Reference Service -- How to Begin: A Selected Bibliography." RQ 22 (Fall 1982): 70-75.

This article provides a partially annotated bibliography of books and articles recommended by the MARS Use of Machine- Assisted Reference in Public Libraries Committee. The bibliography focuses on information resources of value to those librarians creating and managing online search services. Coverage ranges from the practical matters of equipment needs to the more philosophical issues of the appropriateness of fee-based services.


Josephine, Helen B. "From the Editor." RQ 20 (Summer 1981): 333.

In her column, Josephine announces that, beginning with this issue, RQ will include database reviews, and she notes the important role that MARS committees have played in this development.

Nitecki, Danuta A. "Online Services." RQ 20 (Summer 1981): 334- 36.

Nitecki discusses the advent of published reviews of online databases as a regular feature of RQ. She mentions that the MARS Committee on Data Base Products and Computerized Search Service Vendors helped identify the elements to be included in reviews.

Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee. "Online Training Sessions: Suggested Guidelines." RQ 20 (Summer 1981): 353-57.

These guidelines are intended to assist libraries in the planning of training workshops for online searchers. Purpose, audience, timing, equipment requirements, experience of trainer, type of presentation, and documentation are defined for five different types of training. Special consideration is given to cooperation with vendors, publicity, location, and follow-up evaluations. Multiple training levels are reviewed. The guidelines were later published in two separate works-- Training and Education for Online, edited by Angela Jackson, and Online Searching Technique and Management, edited by James Maloney (both annotated above).


Nitecki, Danuta A., presiding. "Machine-Assisted Reference Section 1980 Program: Proceedings." RQ 20 (Fall 1980): 59-69.

This article provides the proceedings of the MARS Program held on June 29, 1980, at the ALA Annual Conference in New York. Entitled "Cooperation: Facilitating Access to Online Information Services," the program addressed public access issues related to computerized information services The texts of three presentations are included in the proceedings. Roger K. Summit provides an analysis of online pricing structures and trends; Howard F. Lehnert and Harold A. Scott describe an online system that provides weather data to farmers; and Mark Piakias discusses emerging trends in consumer-based information services and their potential impact on libraries. A recording of the complete program, including discussions, is reported to be available from ALA on two audiocassettes.

Josephine, Helen B. "From the Editor." RQ 19 (Summer 1980): 317.

Josephine announces the creation of a new RQ column, "Online Services," and she reports that henceforth RASD Update will convey committee and section news, incorporating Messages from MARS. She also discusses the need for RQ to include reviews of non-print reference sources. For reviews of databases, she announces that advice will be solicited from a MARS ad hoc committee.

Nitecki, Danuta A. "Online Services." RQ 19 (Summer 1980): 319-22

In her introduction of the new column, "Online Services," Nitecki provides a list of information resources (such as bibliographies, journals, and guidebooks) for online searchers. She notes that Messages from MARS serves as a source of collegial information exchange and that the activities of MARS serve as a resource for professional development and learning opportunities.


Hansen, Andrew M. "Notes from RASD Headquarters." RQ 19 (Winter 1979): 105-07.

In his discussion of the nominations for officer and executive committee positions during the 1980 ALA Annual Conference, Hansen also announces the availability on audiocassette of two MARS programs from the 1979 Annual Conference in Dallas. Options for Training Online (2 cassettes), produced by the Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee, includes speeches by Trudy Ballardo, Judith Wagner, Stephen Harter, Thomas Crawford, and Charles Gilreath. The Future of Computerized Reference Services in the Library (2 cassettes), produced by the Data Base Products and Services Committee, includes speeches by Carlos Quadra and Wilfrid Lancaster.

Bellardo, Trudi; M. Virginia Jackson; and Howard Pikoff. "Education and Training for On-Line Searching: A Bibliography." RQ 19 (Winter 1979): 137-42.

Compiled by the MARS Committee on the Education and Training of Search Analysts, this annotated bibliography reviews the literature of online searching education for 1970-1979. Entries include articles and conference papers based on library school curricula and on-site training programs.

Hansen, Andrew M. "Notes from RASD Headquarters." RQ 18 (Summer 1979): 379-80.

The article discusses two MARS documents, both reported to be available from ALA Headquarters Library through interlibrary loan. Computer Based Information Service Forms, the product of a cooperative effort by MARS and the RASD Information Retrieval Committee, is reported to be a looseleaf compilation of online- search-related forms collected from many libraries. Fees and Costs of Machine-Assisted Reference Service is described as a compilation of library-submitted policy and procedure forms for the charging and billing of online search services.


Boucher, Virginia. "Reference and Adult Services Division (RASD) Annual Report of the President, 1977-78." RQ 18 (Fall 1978): 58-60.

Boucher repeats the announcement of the formation of MARS and the purposes of the section. She also mentions Messages from MARS and the naming of Martha Packer as editor.

Hansen, Andrew M. "Notes from RASD Headquarters." RQ 18 (Fall 1978): 61-63.

Hansen announces the officers and executive committee members in MARS' first election as a section of RASD.


Boucher, Virginia. "Report by the RASD President." RQ 17 (Winter 1977): 159.

In her discussion about the RASD's newest section (MARS), Boucher announces the creation of the section's newsletter, Messages from MARS.

Hansen, Andrew M. "Notes from RASD Headquarters." RQ 17 (Fall 1977): 41-42.

Hansen announces that the Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS) is a new section of RASD, per a decision made at ALA Annual Conference in Detroit. Sara Knapp is named as chairperson of the Organizing Committee for 1977-78. The goal of MARS is to facilitate communication among librarians interested in computerized reference service and, in addition, to encourage communication between librarians and the suppliers of computerized information services.

IV. MARS in RASD Update

Public Libraries Committee. "Information Technology Glossary." RASD Update 15 (April/June 1994): 27-28.

This glossary was developed by the Public Libraries Committee and distributed at an open discussion forum held at the 1993 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The forum was entitled "Information Access Strategies for Public Libraries."

Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems Committee. "Remote Access to Library-Based Information Systems: A MARS Checklist." RASD Update 9 (October/December 1988): 38-42.

This checklist was developed to assist librarians in planning electronic systems and services that will be accessible to users outside their libraries. Intended to provoke thought about the possibilities, opportunities, and consequences of remotely accessible library-related services, the checklist is divided into five major sections-- "Needs Assessment," "Systems and Services That Could Be Available," "Technology Considerations," "Administrative Issues," and "Outreach and Support to Remote Users." The checklist was later published in The Online Searcher edited by Ethel Auster (annotated above).

Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems Committee. "Planning for End-User Searching: A Checklist of Questions." RASD Update 8 (April/June 1987):14-17. This checklist appeared as "RASD Occasional Papers, No. 1" (annotated above).

Education and Training of Search Analysts Committee. "An Introduction to Online Searching: A Suggested Outline." RASD Update 3 (March/April 1982):8-10.

This outline is designed to aid librarians who are planning introductory workshops or lectures for an audience with no previous online experience. The outline is compatible with the recommendations presented in "Online Training Sessions: Suggested Guidelines," RQ 22 (Summer 1981):353-57. Topics covered include advantages of online searching, limitations, initial considerations, applications, databases, vendors, financial considerations, contract options, mechanics of searching, etc. The outline was later published in two separate works-- Online Searching Technique and Management, edited by James J. Maloney, and The Online Searcher , edited by Ethel Auster (both annotated above).

Database Products and Search Service Vendors Committee. "Database Matrix: Draft." RASD Update 3 (January/February 1982):3-4.

Designed for bibliographic and directory databases, this matrix is intended to provide a standardized method of listing database elements for comparison purposes. In addition it also serves as a guide for reviewers, a beginning point for producers of new databases, and a starting point for studies on the value of particular data elements.


  1. Andrew M. Hansen, "RASD: Serving Those Who Serve the Public," RQ 34 (Spring 1995): 327.
  2. Nancy Green-Maloney, "Ten Years on MARS: Keeping up with the Issues," RQ 26 (Spring 1987): 277.

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