Reference and Informational Genres
The phrase “reference and informational genres” refers to types of literature that are distinctively formatted in such a way as to expedite the discovery of particular kinds of information. Such genres include almanacs, atlases, chronologies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and so on, that usually present informational content in brief, segmented displays, rather than in connected narratives or continuous expositions.
The need for such genres arises from the fact that efficient research cannot be done in large, unsorted collections of resources, whether printed or electronic. Some kind of categorization of the material is necessary to prevent information overload. While the mind cannot grasp huge numbers of individual items in relationship to each other, it can more easily discern relationships among broader—and fewer—categories into which the items may be sorted or assigned.
Mann, T. (2018). Reference and informational genres. In McDonald, J. D., Levine-Clark, M., & Taylor & Francis eBooks A-Z. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition (4th ed.). CRC Press. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/10.1081/E-ELIS4