December 1, 2015

Research Article: Library Usage Habits of First- and Second-year Medical Students at a Satellite Campus: Report on an Exploratory Questionnaire

The following peer-reviewed article appears in the latest issue of the Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association.


Library Usage Habits of First- and Second-year Medical Students at a Satellite Campus: Report on an Exploratory Questionnaire


Jackie Phinney
University of New Brunswick


Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association, 2013, 34(03)


Anticipating the information needs of undergraduate medical students can be challenging, especially within the context of distributed medical education at a satellite campus. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how first- and second-year medical students in the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick program are using their satellite campus’ library services and if they would prefer to use their home institution’s electronic collection as opposed to print collections from the satellite campus library.

Methods: First- and second-year medical students were asked to complete a paper survey towards the end of their academic year, which focused on background information, study habits, access preferences and tendencies (print book vs. electronic), satisfaction with their physical library space and collection, as well as their likelihood of completing required course readings.

Results: Although both groups actually used electronic books more than print, the first-year class stated a preference for print books. Overall students were satisfied with their physical library’s services, but were less likely to borrow a book if it is on course reserve.

Discussion and Conclusions: When providing library services to undergraduate medical students, it is important to note that their opinions and needs can evolve quickly and be unpredictable. Librarians should consider maintaining a print collection while transitioning to electronic, in keeping with the trends of academic health librarianship.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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