May 28, 2007

Helping Scholars find Material (rant)

John Dupuis, who writes the blog Confessions of a Science Librarian refers us to an interesting series of posts called "Finding Scientific Papers for Free."

Written by biologist Sandra Porter on her blog Discovering Biology in a Digital World, they are in three parts, covering different aspects of the problem of finding scientific articles online. See Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3. The series was useful, as the post and the commenters offered interesting strategies to find full-text scientific articles online.

It was also a fascinating look into how users think about the library -- which is to say: mostly they don't -- and how they manage to find their own material. I wrote a very long post in response to Part 3 in the hopes of helping them increase their use of their institutional library facilities. I've reproduced my comments over at my Libraries For My Friends blog.

If our patrons are going to such lengths to find scholarly articles -- and virtually no one mentions the library -- doesn't that mean we're doing something wrong in our library communities? How can we better promote our resources to these scholars?

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