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FreePint BlogCredo Reference mini review: part 1

Friday, 25th February 2011 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Heidi Longaberger


It's happened to most of us. You search for your glasses, semi- blindly going from room to room looking, only to have someone take pity and point out that they are perched on top of your head. Embarrassment and scorn follows, but at least now you can see! This is the way I feel about finding library resources in my community that were right under my nose. Sometimes, I just need someone to point it out to me. In this case, that someone is Credo Reference ( an electronic reference aggregator, and so much more.


Credo bills itself as not just an aggregator of reference materials, but a discovery tool. The platform acts as a desktop gateway to both a subscriber library's own reference and eBook collection as well as 530 titles from 70 of the top reference publishers that are a part of Credo's collection.


Clients number 2,000 and consist of all types of libraries: public, university, government and corporate. These subscribers are in all corners of the world including England, Scotland, Australia, Germany, China, France, Brunei, Denmark, Japan, Malaysia and Sweden.

Vision and goals

Credo seeks to drive users to a library's collection by being discoverable on the "open web." Today's information seekers are accustomed to using Google for search, and finding reference information displayed in a Wikipedia type format. It only makes sense that Credo is striving to bring the local library to the desktop by incorporating the search and display styles that don't intimidate users.

As an example, after losing your spectacles on top of your head, you may surf Google for possible reasons why you did so. By searching "psychosis" and "Credo Reference", you discover a Credo Reference Topic page containing a plethora of organised and filtered information for free, and connection to your local library's resources. This is what Credo refers to as "the librarian's answer to Wikipedia."

Credo's vision is illustrated with these four statements:

  • Discovery: visibility of your library, its resources and librarian expertise

  • Context: deliver multiple perspectives from the world's reference publishers

  • Connection: seamless integration with relevant resources

  • Innovation: smart use of technology to create compelling user experiences.

Credo seeks to dispel some of the major issues plaguing libraries, such as resource visibility and ease of use for their entire community.


Credo specialises in reference collections. Categories include encyclopedias, dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, biographies, quotations, measurement conversions and even a crossword solver (impress your friends and enemies!). There are over 3 million entries, 200,000+ images, and over 100,000 audio pronunciation files and sound clips. General content categories include Art, Business, History, Literature, Music and Science, to name a few. Content is cross-referenced and linked. In addition to the core content, there are 28 subject-specific Publisher Collections from 11 publishers that can be added-on to the core service or purchased as a standalone group. For example, a university library may have an interest in the in-depth applied technology collection from IGI Global.

Initial impressions

There are many current and potential library patrons who may not even realise that anything is available to them via the desktop, be it at university or the neighbourhood public library. Credo is on to a good thing. Libraries can use the platform as a marketing and discovery tool, illuminate the rich resources they have available and drive patron usage, while incorporating search techniques and design that today's information seekers have become accustomed to seeing on the open web. However, although Credo does its own marketing, it is still up to the library to alert their community to this nice resource, and not expect them to stumble upon it surfing the web one day.

View Part 2 »


About this item:

Heidi Longaberger is currently Research and Information Manager for NorTech, a technology-based economic development organisation with a focus on Northeast Ohio. Heidi gets to provide innovative advanced energy and flexible electronics companies with market intelligence and analysis, while providing input on NorTech's strategic initiatives. She is also developing an information and knowledge management strategy for NorTech, and gets the opportunity to write about economic development issues for the region. Heidi's background in information and research includes extensive work in the telecommunications and venture capital industries. Heidi can be reached at

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