Libraries feel pinch as readers make demands

September 28, 2001

University library budgets are being stretched further than ever with users expecting libraries to subscribe to both print and electronic versions of journals.

Research from the Ingenta Institute, part of the spin-off company from Bath University that owns the Bath Information and Document Services system (Bids), found that online journals have not superseded readers' requirements for paper versions.

It also found that 15 per cent of document requests were for journals that the library already subscribed to.

Ingenta suggested this may be because journals were lost, being rebound, on loan or damaged.

The research found the role of libraries as providers of information was changing as electronic document delivery increased.

Readers are becoming more independent of the library. Only 16 per cent of articles accessed electronically were read in the library.

The report notes: "Online readers are driven by the convenience of not moving from their chairs."

It says libraries are no longer seen as the principal source of information for scholars and researchers, with only 20 per cent of respondents identifying the library of the source of the electronic material.

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