School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Reference & User Services Quarterly

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2002


Four surveys conducted over a decade provide insights about changes that have occurred in academic library reference services due to new and rapidly evolving technologies. Surveys were sent to the academic members of the Association of Research Libraries four times during the past decade: 1991, 1995, 1997, and 2000. The surveys contained both open-ended questions to gather opinions and factual questions to measure what libraries offer. Libraries adopted digital information sources and services at an increasingly accelerated rate in the 1990s due to the availability of the Internet, in particular the World Wide Web. Digital sources have brought about changes in the physical environment of the reference room, in the type and range of resources available, and in the attitudes and expectations of reference librarians and patrons. The Web is changing what resources are searched, how results are distributed, how instruction is delivered, and relations with faculty. Quality service is still highly valued by reference librarians. The reference librarians surveyed think that as the reference environment has changed, it has helped them to provide better services to patrons.

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