Expectations and Effectiveness Using CD-ROMs: What Do Patrons Want and How Satisfied Are They?

Cheryl A. McCarthy, Sylvia C. Krausse, Arthur A. Little

Abstract

As academic libraries wrestle with how to provide more CD-ROMs and more online remote access to databases to keep pace with demands, they first need to evaluate the effectiveness of their current services. This study identifies students’ preferences and effectiveness using CD-ROMs and assesses the whole CD-ROM environment at one university library. A questionnaire was used to ask students their preferences, confidence levels, skills, and training in searching CD-ROM databases, as well as their satisfaction with CD-ROM services (see the appendix). Analyses of the data revealed that users are satisfied and prefer CD-ROM databases over the print indices. Although students indicated they are confident searching, they admitted that they need to know basic search strategies and that they want more personal assistance, hands-on training, and remote online access to databases. Moreover, how can academic libraries meet increasing user demands for more database access and services when their resources are not increasing?

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