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Vilnius University, Lithuania
University of Warsaw, Poland
Journal of Librarianship and Information Science
Published online before print August 24, 2016
The digital revolution has had a particular impact on the functioning of libraries: it has changed both the means of communicating with the users, and the nature of the service itself. In the case of academic libraries, an online presence is crucial due to the increased rate of Internet usage among their stakeholders, academics and students alike. From their perspective, library websites serve as digital gates to library services and resources.
However, an academic library website may fulfil a wide array of functions and their importance can be variously prioritized. The purpose of our research was to find out which functions of academic library websites are viewed as the most important by a selected group of users: the students. To answer this question, we identified the main functions of academic library websites on the basis of desk research and designed a survey conducted among students of the University of Warsaw (Poland) and Vilnius University (Lithuania) (n=680).
The picture of users’ information needs with regard to content of the academic library website revealed by our research allows us to draw conclusions about the functions of the academic library website distinctive from those already mentioned in the subject literature. From the perspective of a user-centric approach we distinguished five functions of the academic library website: (1) supporting the usage of the collection (online and traditional); (2) promotion of culture; (3) gateway for locating information on the Web; (4) education; (5) creation of library’s online image.
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