Title: Assessing the Information Needs of the Engineering and Computer Science Faculty at XXX in the Digital Age.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to assess the information needs of the Engineering and Computer Science Faculty at XXX in the Digital Age. The scope of the project included all segments of the faculty from new untenured faculty, to tenured faculty and department heads. The methodology employed was a series of focus groups where faculty could gather and brainstorm the information access issues which were important to them. A trained facilitator was employed and the physical science/engineering librarian and a recorder observed and took notes. The conclusions reached were that computer science and engineering faculty did not, in general, come to the library and did not use the book collection. The faculty also desired that some book funds be transferred to online resources including journal and conference databases and online books. These transitions from print to online have been evolving and the direction is clear – online, especially in the sciences and engineering areas. Printed journals and books were considered obsolete and the faculty desired all information to be available at their desktops whether the gateway was the library or the internet. Faculty also expressed frustration with the selection of online databases because of financial considerations. Because of the specialized nature of databases in the sciences and engineering, it is expensive to accommodate even the major database in all the disciplines. Further work has to be conducted to optimize use of funds and track usage to select the best mix of databases given the trend to free databases such as Google Scholar and Scitopia.
Obviously, this research is of key importance to Science and Technology librarianship because its findings could have profound effects on the future role of S/T librarians.
Looks well-designed, relevant, and of interest.
Good use of focus groups. Why didn't they also look at use by other patron groups? Should be interesting.
This proposal is qualitative study which uses focus groups to determine the information needs of a specific cohort. this proposal falls seriously short with respect to real research. There is no discussion about establishing the appropriate protoco for establishing rules to analyze the participants remarks. In my this abstract recounts a conversation with very predictable outcomes - more online material. The findings add little importance to STS librarianship. EG
Mine will be a bit wordy as I am not making it to the conference:
This proposal is well written and organized. The authors supplied information on why and what method they used but did not tell us why they chose to do focus group studies. I this case I am more interested in the how and why they used a focus group as I know that my engineering & science faculty do not use books as much and want everything online. The faculty in my departments are vocal and let me know what they want, i.e. they don’t hold back when they talk to m. Also for computer science, astrophysics and other fast moving research areas it is not unknown for the conference proceedings to be more important than the journals as proceedings have a quicker turn around time. I guess that I do not feel this would be a good feature paper as it is. I think if we learned why they chose to do a focus group and how they did it might make it as a featured paper. I do not see the significance of the frustration of the selected online databases unless they did not know the needs of their faculty. Is it a price issue or did the focus group show that there was a selection issue? I do not really think this makes it as a featured paper as it is although I think it has possibilities as a short paper or poster.
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