In defense of FIRST and freedom of access to information

Helen B. Josephine, Maxine H. Reneker
2019 College & research libraries news  
In response to "insufficient anticipated use," the NILRC survey showed that the number of searches per college ranged from 29 to 1,022 per year, with 71 % conducting fewer than 100 searches per year. Among the colleges reporting searches by patron category, 30 % searches were for faculty, 13 % for administration/staff, 39% for students, and 18% for other patrons. Although use of online search services is low, access to the information resources is provided. Finally, in response to "insufficient
more » ... se to "insufficient personnel," the survey showed the amount of staff time re quired for online searching was low. Seventy-two percent estimated staff time devoted to online search services during the academic year to five hours per week or less. In conclusion, academic libraries, especially community colleges, consider online search ser vices as a part of their overall library service in sup port of the college's instructional program and in stitutional mission. Funding availability and philosophy determine the interpretation of equal access to inform ation w ithin budgetary con straints. Fee structures can range from simple to complex, from free to the patron to cost-recovery. Structures consider the patron status (student, staff, external), the search category (basic or spe cialized), and pricing goal (token, discount, or cost-recovery). Community colleges tend to pro vide free online services to faculty, administration, staff and students more frequently than other aca demic institutions. Implementing online search services need not be prohibitively expensive to initi ate or maintain and will not only provide enhanced reference service but also will improve the image of the library. ■ ■
doi:10.5860/crln.50.5.377 fatcat:usio75y7k5bqla32zb2i5dpsri