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ERIC Number: EJ923176
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0033-0337
Impact of the Internet on Delivery of Reference Services in English Public Libraries
Jay, Margaret; Webber, Sheila
Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems, v39 n1 p25-38 2005
Purpose: Aims to investigate the impact of the internet on reference services in public libraries in England. Design/methodology/approach: A literature review provides the policy context for UK public library services and highlights developments in digital reference. A questionnaire was administered in 2003 to a sample of the public library authorities in England, investigating the use of the internet for receiving or answering reference enquiries, the use of electronic reference sources, and the nature of public library web sites. Findings: Thirty responses were received, representing a response rate of 60 per cent. All respondents used e-mail to answer reference enquiries, but there was low use (and in some cases awareness) of other technologies. The librarians' attitude towards digital reference services, considering aspects such as improved access and increased efficiency, was predominantly positive. Some concerns were raised, such as the administration of public access computers. Patrons could access more electronic reference sources within the library than they could remotely. The majority of public libraries had web sites, most commonly offering access to the library catalogue and community databases. The results of this study are compared with two previous surveys. Practical implications: The paper concludes by identifying the need for public library managers to assess the changing role of professionals and para-professionals in delivering reference services, and to provide appropriate training. It also notes that despite the discussion of real-time reference, asynchronous digital reference is still more common in England. Originality/value: There has not been a survey of this type for English public library authorities. The sample represents 20 per cent of the target population. (Contains 3 figures and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England)