Monday, April 15, 2013

Scholarly reading in the digital age by Professor Carol Tenopir

Scholarly reading in the digital age: presentation 

by Professor Carol Tenopir, Chancellor's Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee. 

This was a fascinating presentation – Carol’s research spans decades and the comparative data collected over time provides, thanks to carol’s thoughtful analysis, many great insights into reading, publishing and the role of libraries.

Thanks to Charles Sturt University, the University of New South Wales, Australian National University and John Metcalfe Memorial Foundation for bringing Carol to Australia and supporting the research.

A short summary follows.

She talked about her research, with Donald King, into reading and scholarship from 1997 to present including “Critical incident of last reading” for which the following questions were asked:
·         the SCHOLARLY ARTICLE YOU READ MOST RECENTLY, even if you had read it previously

From the studies the 5 conclusions were:
  1. Academics read a lot
  2. Scholarly reading is essential
  3. Library e-journal collections have made a difference
  4. Book reading is different
  5. Successful academics read more

Against these 5 conclusions she then presented fascinating deep research based on studies of Australia, the US and UK.

Average readings of academics are high:

n=2117, 6 UK institutions, June 2011
n=837, 5 US institutions, January 2013
n=133, 2 AU institutions, 2012

As are those of students:

n=133, staff
n=352, postgrads
n=628, undergrads
At 2 AU universities, 2012

Scholarly readings are essential to academic work:

The top outcomes of reading are:
1.       Inspired new ideas
UK: 53.7%            AU: 53.5%           US: 53.4%
2.       Added to my knowledge
US: 59.8%            AU: 56.4%
3.       Improved the results of my work
UK: 37.8%            US: 37.2%            AU: 31.7%
4. Changed/narrowed/broadened my focus
UK: 28.1%            US: 22.8%            AU: 18.8%

Libraries are a vital source of readings:

UK, n=1189, June 2011;
US, n=609 January 2013
AU, n=105, 2012

However reading occurs primarily in the office or laboratory or home and is increasingly e rather than print.

Academic staff spend over 20 eight hour work days reading library provided material.

n=100, 2 AU universities, 2012; n=1071, 5 US universities, January 2013; n=2117, 6 UK universities, June 2011


Portrait of a successful academic

In last 2 years:

Has won an award and published four or more items.

  • Reads more of every type of material

  • Spends more time per reading

  • Uses the library for articles

  • Gets books from both the library and purchases

  • Obtains other publications from the Internet

  • Occasionally participates and creates social media content

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