This week, my students are debating what the word referencemight mean in a modern library. The term traditionally means printed books (mainly) which are used for quick reference and which cannot be taken out of the library. However, we’ve moved on and many reference sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and atlases are online and many of them are free. Also, large websites such government sites, are often used for ‘reference’ purposes, and if they were printed out, they would fill whole shelves in our libraries. In the school context, reference sources are probably now best defined as starting points for students to explore topics e.g. get definitions or an overview, and then move on to more detailed sources. So, is referencestill a useful term to use? As we say in Scotland, mebbies aye, mebbies naw (maybe yes, maybe no).
Out cycling yesterday and approaching a biggish hill, steeling myself for the climb, a hare appeared out of a barley field about 100 metres ahead of me. It watched me until I was about 20 metres away, then (ahem) hared off up the road. then it stopped again about 50 metres away and watched me again. It did this 3 times and just when I was at the crest of the hill and ready to speed downhill, it took off at a tremendous rate, looked back at me once more and then disappeared into another field. I’m sure I heard it laughing. I went back the next day but it was nowhere to be seen. You know what happens, hare today, gone tomorrow.