Research Help Services Policy


The purpose of the Library’s Research Help service is to meet the information and research needs of all students, faculty, and staff of St. Francis Xavier University, as well as community members, in a timely and efficient manner, both precisely and courteously.


“Research help” is used broadly in this document to include all forms of assistance to library users as they seek the information they need – from questions regarding library hours and access to assistance with complex research questions.

Research help providers

Research help providers may include librarians and other members of the library staff, as appropriate.

Research help services include:

  • Providing accurate, timely and relevant answers to specific library and information-related questions.
  • Helping library users to develop research strategies for papers, theses and other assignments.
  • Assisting library users in locating, evaluating and using appropriate resources and services.
  • Providing instruction in order that library users may become self-reliant in their use of library resources.
  • Developing and maintaining Subject Guides to help library users discover relevant resources.
  • Supporting knowledge synthesis projects such as systematic and scoping reviews - please contact Kaitlin Fuller, Scholarly Communications and Health Sciences Librarian, at @email.

Research help services do not include:

  • Interpreting material – research help providers do not interpret information such as legal, medical, financial, statistical information or class assignments.
  • Proofreading papers and/reference lists – While librarians can help with citation questions, we do not proofread papers or reference lists for errors.
  • Genealogical research – see the Genealogy Policy for Special Collections below.

Genealogy Policy for Special Collections

  • Special Collections encompasses the music/microfilm and Celtic Collection of the Angus L. Macdonald Library at St. Francis Xavier University.
  • The Music/Microfilm room houses microfilm and indexes for the local newspaper. The Casket is a trusted and well-used source for genealogical information. Indexes were created in-house and are used extensively as a finding aid for locating obituaries and related information.
  • The staff member locates and scans items on demand, however this service does not include doing extensive research. Names of professional researchers may be provided if appropriate.
  • The Fr. Charles Brewer Celtic Collection has genealogical resources, such as guidebooks, local histories and clan histories. These items can be consulted in the collection and some guidance will be provided. It is not a primary focus for the collection.

Reference Collection

  • Librarians are responsible for maintaining an up-to-date and readily accessible working collection of reference materials, both electronic and paper. This Reference Collection includes general dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, bibliographies, indexes, directories, almanacs, handbooks, statistical resources, and atlases.
  • Print reference materials may be used in other areas of the Library. Print reference materials are NOT allowed to be removed from the Library, unless permission is granted by the Research Services Librarian.
  • The Reference Collection must be kept current and reflect the immediate needs of library patrons. Students and faculty are encouraged to alert librarians to the presence of outdated resources, and to suggest new acquisitions for the Reference Collection.