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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Staff

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Claire Warwick

Warwick, C., Terras, M., Galina, I., Huntington, P. & Pappa, N. (2008). Library and information resources and users of digital resources in the humanities. Program 42(1): 5-27.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this article is to discuss the results of the Log Analysis of Internet Resources in the Arts and Humanities (LAIRAH) study. It aims to concentrate upon the use and importance of information resources, physical research centres and digital finding aids in scholarly research.

Design/methodology/approach
– Results are presented of web server log analysis of portals for humanities scholars: the arts and humanities data service (AHDS) website and Humbul Humanities Hub. These are used to determine which resources were accessed most often, or seldom. Questionnaire data about perceptions of digital resource use were also gathered.

Findings
– Information resources such as libraries, archives museums and research centres, and the web pages that provide information about them are vital for humanities scholars. The university library website was considered to be the most important resource, even compared to Google. Secondary finding aids and reference resources are considered more important than primary research resources, especially those produced by other scholars, whose output is less trusted than publications produced by commercial organisations, libraries, archives and museums.

Practical implications
– Digital resources have not replaced physical information resources and the people who staff them, thus both types of information continue to require funding. Scholars trust the judgment of information professionals, who therefore need to be trained to evaluate and recommend specialist digital research resources.

Originality/value
– LAIRAH was the first research project to use quantitative data to investigate resource use. Findings about the type of resources used are based on evidence rather than opinions alone. This gives a clearer picture of usage that may be used to plan future information services.

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