School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Online Vol. 22

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Throughout the 1990s, the reference departments of academic libraries have seen a rapid evolution from a print-centered world to a digital-intensive one. Online, CD-ROM, and World Wide Web resources are often the first choice of both library users and reference librarians. For the latest measure of how academic libraries incorporate electronic information sources into their reference activities and the effect on library services, a questionnaire was sent to all academic members of the Association of Research Libraries in the 4th quarter of 1997. Over 73% of ARL libraries report more than 100 workstations or terminals. Not surprisingly, the big growth area between 1994 and 1997 is in end-user access to the World Wide Web. Intermediary search services are not dead in academic research libraries, but they are dwindling in numbers, and most services are experiencing sharp declines in the number of searches performed. End-user online searching on commercial search services continues to grow in popularity, beyond the rates predicted at the beginning of this decade - primarily due to OCLC's FirstSearch service.

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