The following article is scheduled to appear in the May 2014 issue of College & Research Libraries. It was accepted for publication in December 2012.
Commercial Database Design vs. Library Terminology Comprehension: Why Do Students Print Abstracts Instead of Full-Text Articles?
Library Director, Penn State Altoona
Genesee Community College
College and Research Libraries
When asked to print the full-text of an article, many undergraduate college students print the abstract instead of the full-text. This study seeks to determine the underlying cause(s) of this confusion. In this quantitative study, participants (n=40) performed five usability tasks to assess ease of use and usefulness of five commercial library databases, and were surveyed on their understanding of library terminology. The study revealed that more than half of the students correctly defined the term “Abstract” and over 75% understood “full-text.” However, only 25% of the students were able to successfully complete all five database tasks.
Direct to Full Text (17 pages; PDF)