Researchers’ Expectations Regarding the Online Presence of Academic Libraries

Anna Mierzecka, Małgorzata Kisilowska, Andrius Suminas


The article reports the results of a survey conducted among the Polish and Lithuanian academics concerning their information needs and expectations regarding academic library websites. The survey was realized using the technique of Computer-Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI) on a group of scholars representing sciences and humanities or social sciences and was preceded by desk research consisting of literature review and analysis. Quantitative analysis was carried out on the data provided by 460 respondents. Its findings are discussed in light of earlier research reports. Regardless of the users’ research specialty, accessibility of online resources was revealed as the most important element of an academic library website, although information concerning the traditional or offline function of the library was also highly ranked. Minor differences in information needs were found depending on the age and nationality of the respondents. Access to online sources was revealed as the prevailing information need among the scholars. Moreover, differences in the information behaviors of the scientists and the humanists, widely discussed in literature, prove insignificant with regard to the expectations concerning the online presence of academic libraries. This could result from the development of digital humanities and the new standards imposed on the researchers within the humanities and social sciences, related to the evaluation of academic output performed by the government agencies in both countries. Digital presence of academic libraries still poses challenges, requiring observation of user information behaviors and a redefinition of the librarian’s duties.

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Copyright Anna Mierzecka, Małgorzata Kisilowska, Andrius Suminas

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