Survey Supports Information Gateway

by Steve Hiller, Science Libraries

The development of the University Libraries Information Gateway was bolstered by the results of the UW Faculty and Student 1998 Library and Information Use Survey conducted Spring Quarter 1998. While not all the results of this survey have been compiled and analyzed as yet, a look at some of the results indicates that most faculty and graduate students are eager to make more use of electronic access to information resources at the same time that they encourage the continuation of quality print collections. The three highest priorities listed by faculty and graduate students include:

  • maintaining the quality of library print collections
  • delivering full-text to the desktop
  • delivering bibliographic databases through the Web

The Information Gateway will help contribute to these priorities, delivering more information to the desktop, while at the same time making the print collections more accessible through more detailed catalogs and indexes.

Faculty also indicated an increased use of technology in their teaching and communication with students. Ninety-one percent used e-mail to communicate with students; 85 percent expect students to use library resources; and 59 percent expect their students to use Web resources. Over 50 percent of faculty respondents indicated that they either are now, or are interested in, placing course materials and syllabi on the Web. The Information Gateway will help make these services possible.

The Survey shows, however, that the University Libraries continues to be important as a place. Over 70 percent of the faculty access the Libraries from their offices or homes at least weekly. However, nearly 50 percent of the faculty and over 75 percent of graduate students visit a library in person at least once a week, usually to find specific items they have identified through remote access. Fifty percent of graduate students who use the Libraries at least once a week also visit the library to use computers or to do their work. Preliminary data show that undergraduates use the Libraries heavily as study space, but these data have not yet been fully analyzed.

A more complete analysis of the Libraries 1998 Survey will be included in Winter 1999 issue of Library Directions. For more information, contact Steve Hiller ( or Carla Rickerson, Special Collections, Manuscripts and University Archives (