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User Preferences for Core Reference Books and Textbooks: Print and/or Digital Formats? Margarite (Rita) McCandless , M.L.S., Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Health Sciences Library Ramona (Mona) Thiss , M.L.S., Director , Carilion Clinic Health Sciences Libraries. Overview.

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User Preferences for Core Reference Books and Textbooks: Print and/or Digital Formats?

Margarite (Rita) McCandless, M.L.S., Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Health Sciences Library

Ramona (Mona) Thiss, M.L.S., Director, Carilion Clinic Health Sciences Libraries

Overview

User Responses

Method

Because literature review revealed a correlation between information needs and preferences for formats, students and faculty were asked to rate the likelihood of reading an electronic book or a print book for three information needs: brief answer, in-depth answer, and to study for a test.

On-line survey, 84 medical students, 39 academic and 360 clinical faculty invited to participate. 147 responses (44% of students and 28% of faculty).

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine opened its doors to our charter class in August 2010. The Health Sciences Library originated as a 100% electronic library. Two print copies of each textbook were the first print resources to be added to the collection. As students continued to request print resources to be added to the collection, I began to rethink my collection development plan.

Objectives

To determine user preferences for print versus electronic formats for core reference books and medical textbooks in order to align collection development with user preferences.

Mean

Hypothesis

The number of users who prefer print format justifies purchasing both print and digital formats for core reference and medical textbooks.

Conclusions

Standard Deviation

For all three information needs, 35 to 52% of participants expressed being likely to read both electronic and print formats. However, for in-depth study, 36% expressed a strong preference for print resources. To study for a test, 27% expressed a strong preference for print resources. The data supports the hypothesis that the number of users who prefer print format justifies purchasing both print and electronic formats for core reference books and textbooks.