--- Posted on behalf of OCLC: ----

OCLC releases international library research report

Time is right to stretch the ‘Library’ brand beyond books

DUBLIN, Ohio, December 6, 2005—OCLC Online Computer Library Center, the
world’s largest library cooperative, has found that information
consumers view libraries as places to borrow print books, but they are
unaware of the rich electronic content they can access through libraries.

The findings are part of Perceptions of Libraries and Information
Resources, a report issued today by OCLC.  The new report, based on
surveys of information users across six countries administered by Harris
Interactive on behalf of OCLC, is a follow-up to The 2003 OCLC
Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition, the award-winning report that
describes issues and trends that are impacting and will impact OCLC and

“We wanted to know more about people’s information-seeking practices and
preferences, how familiar people are with the wide variety of
e-resources libraries provide for their users, and how libraries compare
to other information resources, particularly Web-based resources,” said
Cathy De Rosa, Vice President, OCLC Marketing & Library Services, and a
principal contributor to the report.  “One of the most important goals
of the project was also to gain a better understanding of ‘The Library’

Among the findings of the report:

· Respondents use search engines to begin an information search (84
percent).  One percent begin an information search on a library Web site.

· Information consumers use the library but they use the library less
and read less since they began using the Internet.

· Borrowing print books is the library service used most; “Books” is the
library brand.

· Quality and quantity of information are top determinants of a
satisfactory electronic information search, not speed of results.

· Respondents do not trust purchased information more than free

· Ninety percent of respondents are satisfied with their most recent
search for information using a search engine.

· Information consumers like to self-serve.  They use personal knowledge
and common sense to judge if electronic information is trustworthy, and
they cross-reference other sites to validate their findings.

· The survey results show that library and information preferences and
use are consistent among respondents in the six countries surveyed.

  “The information resource market—tools, content and access—is growing,
not shrinking, providing more options and more choices to people using
the Web to search for information and content,” said Ms. De Rosa.
“Libraries are seen as a place for traditional resources—such as books,
reference materials and research assistance—and to get access to the
internet.  The results of this survey confirm that libraries are not
seen as the top choice for access to electronic resources.”

Survey findings are generally consistent across geographic regions.
Responses about awareness, familiarity and usage of electronic resources
showed consistent views among respondents in the six countries surveyed.

“The challenge for libraries is to clearly define and market their
relevant place in the infosphere—their services and collections both
physical and virtual,” said Ms. De Rosa.  “It’s time to rejuvenate the
‘Library’ brand.”

Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources is available for
download free of charge at:

Print copies of the 286-page report are also available for purchase from
the same site.