Scholarly communities, e-research literacy and the academic librarian
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Purpose: The paper aims to explore the way in which the internet and e-research are changing the nature of scholarly communities and the relationship between researchers and libraries; and to suggest how librarians can become more engaged with the e-research process. Design/methodology/approach: A survey and focus groups investigating internet use by academic staff and research students at Curtin University (Western Australia) for e-research and scholarly communication purposes. The survey questioned respondents on their formal and informal scholarly communication practices and the extent to which these have changed due to internet access. Further questions explored the extent to which respondents' use of the library had been impacted by internet access to services. Findings: The survey and focus groups indicate that research users are positive regarding the usefulness of the internet for research purposes and for expanding their scholarly community, but their attitudes are also marked by ambivalence. In particular they report that the internet may not replace the need for some more traditional forms of scholarly communication. Respondents report making less personal use of the library, but greater use of library services. Originality/value: The paper concludes with observations about changes to scholarly communities and the opportunity offered for academic librarians to develop the concept of e-research literacy as a means of enhancing their engagement with scholarly communities.
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