Online Research without E-Reference: What is Missing from Digital Libraries?

Online Research without E-Reference: What is Missing from Digital Libraries?

Jackie Zanghi-LaPlaca (Credo Reference, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-308-9.ch007

Abstract

With so many e-resources in the library, and so many avenues to it, what tools point users to the information relevant to their research? Investing in an electronic library without a strong online reference service leaves resources undiscovered, unapproachable, and underutilized. This chapter will discuss the important and welcoming function of reference services in order to increase the value and use of an institution’s e-resources collection, especially resulting with increased information literacy for students.
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Background

Millennial Generation students, those born after 1990, clearly perceive the Open Web as their information universe. This is in opposition to the view of many librarians and faculty, who perceive the library as the center of resources relevant to academic work. Students usually approach their research without regard to the library’s structure or the way that the library segments different resources into different areas of its website. Library websites often reflect an organizational view of the library (for example, how to access the reference department or search in the institution’s online catalog); they do not do a particularly good job of aggregating content on a particular subject area or more importantly teaching students when to use a particular database or resource (information and digital literacy). It is clear that faculty should also have a role to play in teaching subject-specific information literacy. Some examples of successful bridging of library resources, information literacy, and faculty teaching involve scaffolding and similar projects, but this collaboration in many institutions is not significant (Connaway, 2008).

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