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As academic reference librarians, we need to historically situate the reference sources we use within changing scholarly disciplines. Mircea Eliade’s Encyclopedia of Religion, for example, is an important text in religious studies, but it is not a neutral text. Rather, it clearly reflects certain intellectual commitments and discursive strategies that need to be situated within histories of scholarship. Failure on the part of librarians to contextualize the perspectives of a reference source is problematic, as it leaves the assumptions of the text unchallenged. More constructively, librarians need to problematize the agendas of reference sources, and make salient their discursive positions.



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