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Ebooks or Print Books or Both? Graduate Students Focus Group Study at UCSC

This week, UCSC and CDL have launched a research project to study academic user behaviors around print and digital monographs at various points during the research lifecycle. This project is already announced on UCSC library website:

In the next few weeks, focus groups with graduate students from arts, education, history and literature departments at UCSC will explore when, why and how researchers integrate print and digital books into their work. UCSC circulation and acquisitions data, including data from the Demand Driven Acquisitions (DDA) program for both print and electronic monographs, will also be incorporated into the study.

The landscape for scholarly monograph use may be changing in unexpected ways; more books are available in digital format, new forms of scholarship are emerging, the use of mobile devices is growing, as is the number of mass digitization programs, and library services are shifting to an increasingly networked, virtual environment. With these changes, the ways in which scholars interact with monographs, both digital and print, may also be evolving. To develop the best services and strategies for managing and providing access to existing and prospective monograph collections, academic libraries need to better understand the ways in which scholars use monographs.

This focus study will benefit the management of existing digital and electronic book collections, will assist librarians with purchasing and future collection building to meet user needs, and will also assist with decision-making around the development of digitization and shared print programs to ensure ongoing stewardship and preservation of monographs.

Chan Li (CDL), Danielle Watters Westbrook (CDL), Kerry Scott (UCSC) and Sarah Troy (UCSC) are conducting this research with the support of an advisory team at UCSC and CDL. Ivy Anderson is Principal Investigator and Elizabeth Cowell is the faculty sponsor. The research originated from a summer “Institute for Research Design in Librarianship” at William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University which was supported by an IMLS grant awarded to Loyola Marymount, SCELC and San Jose State University SILS.

Early next year, the analysis and report of this project will be published on the CDL website and archived in eScholarship. A focus group toolkit will also be published for institutions that might be interested in conducting a similar study.