Uses of Ready Reference Sources
We have surveyed various types of ready reference sources viz., yearbooks, almanacs, supplement to encyclopaedias, handbooks, manuals, guides, source books, etc. They are known by different names due to their varied content, coverage and usage. The supplements to encyclopaedias, yearbooks, and almanacs are often called `facts' or `trends' -sources as they are referred to locate brief; concrete, factual details involving current developments and trends in human progress. Even though yearbooks and almanacs are related sources and can be refereed to locate short fact-finding answers to trend questions, there is a sharp contrast between the two. Traditionally, almanacs used to be general and yearbooks were specific pertaining to one particular subject. But now, we have only few subjects almanacs which are specific and general yearbooks which are as broad in coverage as, general almanacs. The basic difference between the two is that the yearbook covers recent developments of any particular year whereas an almanac includes both current and retrospective information.
Again, directory type information is found in many yearbooks and almanacs but they cover only limited number of important organisations and personalities in the field as they have less space for .inclusion of such information. Directories are special tools meant only for institutional and personal information and thus, they present their descriptive and exhaustive account. Again, though `almanac' and `yearbook' are compendia of useful data and statistics, special statistical sources can provide accurate and reliable information.
We have also surveyed a large groups of ready reference sources. Handbooks, manuals, sources books and guide books are usually single volume, handy hand books dealing with established knowledge and not the current developments. They contain articles for subject specialists and facts of popular interest for general public. Thus, it is necessary for a reference librarians to have an adequate knowledge about all these ready reference sources so as to approach the right source for seeking the needed information.