Good Sources, Bad Users? Marketing of Electronic Information Sources
Author: Radovan Kačín, University of Economics, Czech Republic
Co-author: Ing. Václav Šubrta, Centrum informačních a knihovnických služeb VŠE
The number of actual user accesses to paid electronic information sources does not correspond to the prices the universities pay for them. Nevertheless very often these sources provide outstanding and verified information. So why do the users not use them as one would expect? The authors analyze the current situation and find possible reasons for the low usage with all the parties involved – users, producers and middlemen (libraries, universities). Do the users know what they are looking for? Do they have sufficient skills and knowledge? Can they evaluate the quality of results? Are the sources possibly too difficult to use? Is the correct solution “the Google way” (most simple questions provide most relevant answers) or the approach of an experienced researcher (knowledge of the sources and search tools must lead to the information sought)? How can librarians make the electronic sources more popular? Can they convincingly tell the users, what is so interesting inside the databases? The authors outline possible solution: collaboration of interested parties on (1) the creation of well-designed and simple access to the electronic sources; (2) training of end users in using the sources and (3) creation of specialized topical overviews. They also highlight possible strengths and weaknesses of this solution and confront this with experience at the University of Economics, Prague.
About the author
The author is a graduate of the University of Economics Prague, Business Administration with a minor in Informatics. Today he lectures at the Systems Analysis Department of the School of Informatics and Statistics of his alma mater and at the College of Information Studies in Prague. He teaches courses of informatics for economists, text information, marketing communication, as well as, courses in economic analysis of law. He acted as principal investigator or co-investigator of grants for the Czech Grant Agency, VŠE Internal Grant Agency, CERGE-EI Foundation, Development Fund of the Czech Ministry of Education and received a scholarship of the Fulbright Foundation.
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