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How do Engineering Students and Faculty use Library Resources?

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engineering Libraries (ELD) Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.667.1 - 23.667.22



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Paper Authors


Janet Fransen University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

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Janet Fransen is a liaison librarian at the University of Minnesota, working primarily with students and faculty in Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and History of Science and Technology. Fransen often acts as a voice for user communities on library groups developing new services and technology tools. Her interests include analyzing the types of literature used by researchers in engineering and computer science, and finding ways to education new researchers on the breadth of material that will be useful to them.

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Work in Progress: How do Engineering Students and Faculty use Library Resources?In 2011, library staff at a large Research I university began looking for ways to track use oflibrary resources by students, faculty, and staff. Access points tracked in Fall 2011 ranged fromloans and use of digital resources to workshop attendance and appointments with peer researchconsultants. Access points related to consultations with archivists and media librarians wereadded in Spring 2012. By aggregating these data over college, level (undergradate, graduatestudent, etc.), and other groupings, we have our first good look at who is using library services(and who is not) as well as what they are doing.Working with campus institutional research staff, we were able to correlate Fall 2011 library usewith higher term GPA and retention for first year students while controlling for other variablesrelated to student success. Figure 1 illustrates the trend: In general, regardless of the ACT scoreachieved before starting at the university, students who used library resources attained higherGPAs for the term than those who did not.The work in progress builds on the analysis of Fall 2011 data by adding the Spring 2012semester and focusing just science and engineering students, faculty, and staff. I will be lookingat the following research questions: 1. Faculty tend to think that because they haven’t walked into the library building in years, they are not library users. What kind of library use does the Spring 2012 data show for engineering and science faculty? 2. Are there differences in how engineering and science undergraduates use library resources when compared to undergraduates in other colleges? Are those differences (if any) apparent with graduate students? 3. How does graduate student use compare with undergraduates? 4. Can retention rates for engineering and science students be correlated to library use? Can GPA for just those students be correlated to library use? 5. Is there evidence that students who receive in class instruction on library resources go on to use those resources more?Data for Spring 2012 has just become available as of this writing. By the time papers are due,initial analysis should be complete.Figure 1. Term GPA for first year students who did and did not use Library resources.

Fransen, J. (2013, June), How do Engineering Students and Faculty use Library Resources? Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19681

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