Like to answer challenging reference questions? Want to put your information skills to use in social justice contexts? Then EMAIL US AT INFO AT RADICALREFERENCE DOT INFO to participate in our growing information activist community! Let us know the username by which you'd like to be known, and we'll get back to you with a confirmation and more information.
RR volunteers answer questions from activist and independent journalist communities. We got our start in 2004 by providing street reference at demonstrations and other events, but since then we've also engaged in activities such as conducting workshops and presentations; creating blog posts and resource guides for the website; working on cataloging projects; discussing issues, sharing information, and getting reference support on our email list; and meeting up with like-minded individuals in local collectives. We've also got a list of dream projects that we'd love to accomplish, so jump right in if one of these piques your interest.
All of the instructions on answering questions and publishing other online content are in our website guide.
Many people come to RR out of a desire to answer questions on the site. So how does the "reference" part of Radical Reference work, you ask?
- Sometimes (but not usually!) people explain why they're asking what they're asking:
- Our goal is to write a detailed answer - or more than one! - that addresses the context of the question, the search strategy, and, of course, the answers (whether that ends up being a piece of data, a referral, etc.):
- "U.S. police shooting stats by city, 2005 to present"
- "Seeking definitions of a radical pamphlet"
- "Federal Funding for Solitary Confinement" (see also the use of internal notes among Rad Ref volunteers here - you need to be logged in for that)
- "weather underground symbology"
- "Census tool for demographics across decades"
- "queer yoga"
- "where did the police term "no human involved" first originate?"
- Sometimes we use a variety of methods to get an answer - the Twittersphere, tapping knowledgeable human sources, and so on:
- Sometimes the question-answering process involves a lot of communication among Rad Ref members and the questioner:
- Sometimes we even get questions from other library workers or similar:
- And sometimes we get questions that just aren't right for Rad Ref:
Please contact us at info at radicalreference dot info with any questions or comments, or just to get started with us.