Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 290 2017
scores according to ACT concordance tables. Students’ college of
enrollment was dummy-coded with the liberal arts college (which
admits the greatest proportion of first-year students) serving as a
common referent.
Environmental measures: Students’ use of academic libraries.
The environmental or “treatment” variables included students’ use of
academic libraries at least once during the academic year based upon
at least one use in five primary areas: checking out books (including
interlibrary loans and electronic books), using electronic resources
(including academic journals accessed, websites used, and databases
searched), logging into library computer workstations, engaging in
library instruction sessions (introduction courses, workshops, or
course-integrated instruction), and reference services used (e.g.,
meeting with a peer research
consultant or chatting with a
reference librarian). The sample
of 472 was equally matched such
that half of the students had used a
library resource at least once and half
had never used a library resource.
We extracted collection loans—primarily book checkouts and
renewals—from the university’s Ex Libris Aleph catalog transaction
records27 and no distinctions were made between initial checkout
and renewal. E-book views, database logins, and electronic journal
logins used a “click-through” script to capture usage of these
resources. Computer workstation use at the libraries required that
users log in through a shared computer management software
service called Cybrarian.28 Login data included Internet ID and
date of transaction, which we extracted from the Cybrarian
database. We gathered reference transactions that occurred via live
Internet chat from QuestionPoint29 and we parsed the data into
a list of Internet IDs. Library services staff train undergraduates
(a.k.a. peer research consultants) to help students narrow down
The environmental or
“treatment” variables in-
cluded students’ use of aca-
demic libraries at least once
during the academic year.
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