SPEC Kit 307: Manuscript Collections on the Web · 105
“Almost all of our reference requests come to us via e-mail and specifically cite the finding aid that the researcher
has consulted online.”
“Computers are available to patrons in the reading room. From there, they can browse our online finding aids.
This tends to be the first place that our researchers turn. In some cases, after searching online, they use our card
catalog located in the reading room. We do not provide paper copies of online finding aids.”
“Knowledge gained by casual observations of reference staff.”
“Online finding aids are seen by more but not necessarily put to better or more significant use.”
“Online information is used more, both the EAD finding aids and the collection descriptions on the Web site.”
“The types of reference requests we receive indicate that the online finding aids are used more often than in-
house finding aids.”
“There are no numbers to back this up at the moment but it standard reference practice to go to the online
finding aids first, then to the paper as the next level of research if something isn’t found.”
“This is only an impression that I have, based on the increase in the number of e-mail requests and long-distance
“We don’t produce paper finding aids anymore. We use the online finding aids in-house.”
“We have no in-house finding aids available to the public. All our finding aids are either online or in published
form as monographs.”
“We have not assessed the use of in-house finding aids this answer reflects an impression.”
Yes, in-house finding aids are used more
“Impression of staff involved.”
“It is hard to answer this question because you don’t define use. Since we do not provide container lists with
our online finding aids, to use our collections, it is necessary to visit the onsite versions or request that specific
container lists be e-mailed or mailed. We get lots of casual and preliminary browsing to the collections area of our
Web site, but would be difficult to correlate this use with the use that leads to a request for material.”
“Only because most of our collections don’t have online finding aids.”
“Presently there are more print-only finding aids than online finding aids. Outside users tend to rely on online
finding aids, while onsite researchers rely on in-house finding aids.”
“We have many more in-house finding aids right now so their usage statistics (if we had them) would be higher.”
No, they are used about the same
“About the same number of researchers use collections without online finding aids, as use collections with online
finding aids (i.e., some collections have only online aids, others have only in-house aids).”
“Since we don’t track the use of in-house finding aids, we can’t really tell.”
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