Resistance to online catalogs: a comparative study at Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges
Hixson, Carol G., 1955-
Williamson, Susan G.
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Surveys of student and faculty attitudes toward proposed online public access catalogs were conducted in 1984 with largely identical questionnaires at two colleges. Support for the traditional card catalog was strong among both students and faculty at both colleges; only Swarthmore faculty gave majority support to the online catalog. A minority of perhaps one in six may never use the new technology. Resistance to change was proportionately highest in the humanities and lowest in the sciences, with social sciences in between. Respondents were unused to waiting for access to the card catalog and seemed unlikely to tolerate more than brief waits for the online catalog. While unconcerned about keeping online searches private, they did not like the idea of searching as others waited. Perceptions of the online catalog were sometimes positive; many welcomed the idea of terminals in faculty offices and student dormitories. Differences between the two colleges, while not great, may result from Swarthmore's greater experience with campuswide computing.
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