Open access and convenience

August 8th, 2007 by Ross Scaife

This CHE piece caught my eye, esp. one of the suggestions made as to why people may not be using library-adminstered electronic resources so much:

The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ list of Top 100 Tools for Learning — culled from top-10 charts created by e-learning experts — names a wide array of tech tools that professors have come to love. Among the items that made the cut are Web browsers, e-mail clients, RSS feeders, blogging programs, and, of course, Microsoft’s evergreen PowerPoint presentation software. But online library resources, which would seem like a good fit for e-learners, are notably absent from the master list. What gives? “It’s not as if the responding experts ignored information-retrieval tools,” writes Steven Bell at ACRLog. “Both Google and Google Scholar are on the top-100 list. And it’s not as if these experts wouldn’t know something about library databases.” Mr. Bell, the associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University, argues that librarians just haven’t done a good job of advertising their online databases and e-journal collections as instructional tools. But Stephen Downes, the author of OLDaily, says the lack of library services on the list could be evidence of bad tools, not a lack of publicity. Mr. Downes, a senior researcher for Canada’s National Research Council, says he has access to a major online library portal, but that he has used the services only twice in six years. “The reason,” he writes, “is that it is not convenient, not even remotely, especially with the layers of security involved in protecting publisher’s intellectual property.” If digital library resources should, in fact, be thought of as instructional technologies, are they actually meeting the needs of e-learners and other scholars?  –Brock Read

(Emphasis added.)

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