OCLC Online Computer Library Center, a library cooperative, has found that information consumers view libraries as places to borrow print books, but they are unaware of the rich electronic content they can access through libraries, according to a recent report.
The findings are part of Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, a report issued by OCLC. The new report, based on surveys of information users across six countries administered by Harris Interactive on behalf of OCLC, is a follow-up to The 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition, the report that describes issues and trends that are impacting and will impact OCLC and libraries. Among the findings of the report, include: Respondents use search engines to begin an information search (84%). One percent begin an information search on a library Web site; Information consumers use the library but they use the library less and read less since they began using the Internet; Borrowing print books is the library service used most; "Books" is the library brand; Quality and quantity of information are top determinants of a satisfactory electronic information search, not speed of results.
Respondents do not trust purchased information more than free information; Ninety percent of respondents are satisfied with their most recent search for information using a search engine; and information consumers like to self-serve. They use personal knowledge and common sense to judge if electronic information is trustworthy, and they cross-reference other sites to validate their findings. Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources is available for download free of charge at the Web site.