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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    Students and electronic resources

    Between 1998 and 2004, the Department of Information Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Information Automation Limited were engaged in a longitudinal study known as JUSTEIS: the JISC Usage Surveys: Trends in Electronic Information Services project. Over that period the research team surveyed in excess of 1,000 students from universities and colleges of further education in the UK. The findings - as demonstrated in the figure from the 4th cycle - showed an almost universal unwillingness to use anything other than search engines despite the evident availability of all resources on the library web sites.

    I bring this up now because a new report from OCLC shows - among other things - almost identical results. The report:
    summarizes the findings from the 396 college students who participated in the survey. The college students range in age from 15 to 57, are either undergraduate or graduate students, and were from all of the six countries included in the survey.
    Part 1 shows that while over 80% of the survey population use e-mail and search engines, only 8% use RSS feeds; less than 30% use blogs - a figure slightly improved on by e-books and online databases. When asked, "Where do you typically begin your search for information
    on a particular topic?" almost 90% said 'Search engine'; with no other single resource featuring significantly.

    Fascinating - if worrying - reading! The report, College Students' Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, can be found for download or purchase at

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