Without Library Resources and Services, the Scholarly Activity of Medical Faculty and Residents Would Register a Code Blue
Keywords:medical librarianship, scholarly activity, academic librarianship
AbstractA Review of:
Quesenberry, A. C., Oelschlegel, S., Earl, M., Leonard, K., & Vaughn, C. J. (2016). The impact of library resources and services on the scholarly activity of medical faculty and residents. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 35(3), 259-265. http://dx.doi:org/10.1080/02763869.2016.1189778
Objective – This study aimed to determine the use of three library services – literature search service, article delivery service, and library resources – among medical faculty and residents with regard to scholarly activity.
Design – Survey.
Setting – Medical Library and Health Information Centre at a large university in the United States of America.
Subjects – 65 medical faculty and residents.
Methods – The authors sent out 433 invitations to participate in a 23-question survey via an email distribution list. A total of 65 individuals participated, for a response rate of 15%. Questions related to the use of library services for scholarly activity, patterns of information-seeking behaviour, and instructional needs. Comments were allowed on several questions, and a final open-ended question was included.
Main Results – All respondents used PubMed at least a few times a year, with 71% selecting it as their first choice to search for articles. Only 20% prioritized Google or Google Scholar above PubMed as the first place to begin a search. The most popular reasons for using library resources were “lectures, papers, research, and patient care” (p.262). The first three of these activities are types of scholarly activity.
Of the 65 respondents, 46% published article(s) or book chapter(s). Within this group of authors, 67% of residents undertaking scholarly activity requested a literature review, 100% accessed online material themselves, and 67% requested articles. Faculty placed similar importance on these services, with 71% having requested a literature review, 87% having accessed materials themselves, and 75% having requested articles. Among those respondents who presented posters or papers, there was high use of library services, ranging from 59% of faculty requesting a literature review to 98% of faculty accessing online material themselves.
Conclusion – The library is a key resource for faculty and residents undertaking scholarly activity. However, faculty members use the library’s services and resources for publishing articles and book chapters more than residents do. This may be because of “publish or perish” pressure, or because faculty have less time to locate research by themselves. Surveys are useful to ensure the library’s resources and services align with the needs of the user community. Inclusion of free-text comment boxes in the survey allowed users to put a “personal face” (p. 264) to their comments that would have otherwise not been captured.
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