June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.154.1 - 14.154.10
Academic Library Internet Information Provision Model: Using Toolbars and Web 2.0 Applications to Augment Subject Reference
This paper proposes a model that explains the way academic libraries provide information via the Internet. The model was developed by examining the way that researchers are required to conduct research using academic library web sites. A survey supporting the model was conducted of ARL member institutions. The survey examines usage of electronic resources by libraries. Another model is proposed for Google as a popular information provider. Differences between the two models are contrasted.
Fundamental differences between the two models led to the development and deployment of resources that better fulfill the needs of academic researchers. Topics to be discussed include subject specific toolbar applications, web 2.0 tools, and widgets. The tools that have been developed enable research and simplify use of library resources.
The faculty, graduate and undergraduate students at the Russ College of Engineering at Ohio University have been quick to adopt these new resources and utilize them for research. They have been consulted on the usage and implementation of resources and continue to make suggestions for improvements. Download and usage statistics indicate the usefulness of these tools.
Developing an Academic Research Model
There has been a lot of research about usability, design, and redesign of the library home page. In contrast there has been a dearth of research on the process of navigating the home page. What steps do libraries require researchers to take in performing the tasks of research? Jay Shorten analyzes academic libraries of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)1 and the actual structure that is utilized in academic library home pages to provide electronic resources on the Internet. The statistics that Shorten found differ from the results of the survey conducted for this paper this is to be expected however due to the time difference and the nature of the two surveys.
The creation of a process flow diagram explaining all the steps researchers are required to undertake to retrieve the information they need is a daunting challenge. Shorten found that there were 26 different electronic resources that the 114 surveyed libraries provided. An actual diagram detailing all the steps and processes would be unwieldy. There are too many components involved to create an accurate, useful diagram.
It is easy to distill the components into fundamental sets of resources and group them into categories that academic libraries provide to their patrons through the home page. The reference services that are focus on for the purposes of this model are the catalog, databases, services, and guided reference. The survey was conducted for this paper used a random set of 88 member institutions of ARL with a population of 114 possible ARL
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