Purpose: This research sought to determine use of online biomedical journals and databases and to assess current user characteristics associated with the use of online resources in an academic health sciences center.
Setting: The Library of the Health Sciences-Peoria is a regional site of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Library with 350 print journals, more than 4,000 online journals, and multiple online databases.
Methodology: A survey was designed to assess online journal use, print journal use, database use, computer literacy levels, and other library user characteristics. A survey was sent through campus mail to all (471) UIC Peoria faculty, residents, and students.
Results: Forty-one percent (188) of the surveys were returned. Ninety-eight percent of the students, faculty, and residents reported having convenient access to a computer connected to the Internet. While 53% of the users indicated they searched MEDLINE at least once a week, other databases showed much lower usage. Overall, 71% of respondents indicated a preference for online over print journals when possible.
Conclusions: Users prefer online resources to print, and many choose to access these online resources remotely. Convenience and full-text availability appear to play roles in selecting online resources. The findings of this study suggest that databases without links to full text and online journal collections without links from bibliographic databases will have lower use. These findings have implications for collection development, promotion of library resources, and end-user training.