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The Library is Our Lab: The Case for Print Books in an Academic Library
Western Libraries Presentations
  • Fran Gray, University of Western Ontario
  • Peggy Ellis, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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Humanities researchers consider the library to be their laboratory, and its print collections their essential research equipment. In spite of anecdotal evidence that both students and faculty in the Humanities prefer print materials over e-books, academic libraries are allocating a steadily increasing proportion of their acquisitions budgets toward the purchase of e-books across all disciplines. What is the impact of this trend on the work of these researchers? At Western University in London, Ontario, we surveyed faculty members and graduate students in the Arts and Humanities faculty and those in the History department to gain a better understanding of their attitudes toward e-books. We included History since, although at Western the department is administered by the Faculty of Social Science, the research methods that historians employ are similar to those used by Humanities scholars. The objectives of our research are three-fold: to determine whether researchers in the Humanities departments prefer print over e-book formats; to identify issues that may negatively impact on research and teaching activities based on book format; and, to determine what features would enable researchers to make optimal use of e-books. We have begun analyzing the survey responses and will be able to present them in our presentation. We are confident that our research will be of interest to participants in the Research Forum and look forward to hearing from you.


13th Annual Research Forum, Concordia University, Montreal. Friday, April 10, 2015. (

Citation Information
Fran Gray and Peggy Ellis. "The Library is Our Lab: The Case for Print Books in an Academic Library" (2015)
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