Research Skills Series
By Alison Newby
In a previous post we looked at the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves before engaging with a resource such as the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre (AIU Centre), and we learnt that there are three ways into the collection:
- Databases (including subject area resource lists)
- ‘Human Interface’ (speaking to the librarian and/or Collections Access Officer)
- Serendipity (just going in and browsing)
This time I’ll be looking at the ‘Human Interface’.
The ‘Human Interface’ with any library or archive comprises those individuals whose role is to take care of the collection, answer questions from users, find information, or give advice regarding the materials the library or archive contains. In relation to the Centre, subject area resource lists and databases can produce raw data about materials which might be relevant to a topic, but interacting with a knowledgeable human being (in writing or face-to-face) opens up a whole new level of insight. Such an individual can give guidance tailored to what you in particular want to know.
In this post, I’ll be giving insight into who the Centre’s human interfaces are and how they can smooth our way into the Centre’s resources. So you’ll be able to dip in to find what’s particularly interesting to you, I’ll be covering the subject in the following sections:
- Introducing the Centre’s ‘Human Interfaces’ – Hannah Niblett & Ruth Tait
- Ruth Tait’s insights into the strengths of the Centre and its collections
- Ruth Tait’s advice on how to prepare for consulting the ‘Human Interfaces’