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Surviving in the digital age by utilizing libraries' distinctive advantages

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to discuss how to make libraries adjust their roles in the digital age through exploring changing user needs and expectations, and utilizing libraries' distinctive advantages, so that library resources can be much better used and library users can be best served. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Library user surveys were conducted by Peking University Library from 2006-2007. The surveys are partially analyzed to reveal user needs and the relevant responses. Findings ‐ Based on the surveys and related studies, the changing user needs and expectations can be seen: a single point of discovery for all resources from anywhere at anytime; a simple, intuitive user interface and good results; seamless services to ensure resources immediately available; open platform and easy user communication; convenient self-services and personalized services; and embedding library services into users' workflows. From these needs and expectations, libraries, particularly those serving academic communities, need to reassess their roles to offer services in innovative ways. Originality/value ‐ The paper highlights the needs and expectations of library users using a holistic approach while providing services. Libraries' distinctive advantages in the digital age are also analyzed.
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Keywords: Academic libraries; China; Customer satisfaction; Digital libraries; Electronic media; Information services

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 10, 2009

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