Freely available online resources continue to grow exponentially, much of which could be of enormous value for teaching, learning and research purposes. But how can librarians go about the challenge of finding, evaluating and facilitating access to content?
This white paper explores issues related to free content discovery from a librarian’s perspective. Taylor & Francis set out to understand the role that free content has within institutions; its relative importance compared to paid-for resources; and the challenges associated with making better use of this material. By exposing these challenges, we hope to make it easier for institutions to access high-quality free content.
The research focuses on the following areas:
Growth and value of free content
The scholarly communication industry is experiencing rapid growth in open access articles, with huge amounts of other content available through search engines such as podcasts, presentations, videos and other multimedia. We explore the value of this content from the perspective of librarians.
Resource challenges for libraries
With more content being freely available during a period in which many libraries are experiencing budget cuts, why isn’t more time being spent sourcing and cataloguing valuable free content? We surveyed our participants to find out the challenges they face.
Identification and selection of content
Librarians in our focus groups discuss the challenge of identification of access and reuse rights relating to free online content, with gold open access journals identified as the most useful.
Library role relating to free content
Librarians feel well placed to provide expertise in selecting appropriate resources and making them discoverable, although there are resource challenges associated with doing this. We investigate the role of the librarian, how they currently make free online content visible to users, as well as its challenges.
We explore how librarians help researchers recognize the quality and relevance of free online resources within the library, and whether or not the library’s training program cover any related topics.
User needs and expectations
“Most student and academic users just ignore the playground we have been building for them” – Our survey librarians were asked about their plans relating to developing their discoverability services for users, and facilitating access to free online content.
The role of publishers
What role can publishers play in helping librarians improve discoverability and usefulness of free online content, and what are Taylor & Francis currently doing?
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