As the internet has become the biggest virtual library of digital libraries and publishers have become the e‐agents of online knowledge, large integrated online databases have been developed. On the other hand, most libraries put their library systems on their parent organizations' server to facilitate direct use by end‐users of the sytem to which libraries subscribe. With such a transformation, information services such as the SDI have been changed, becoming e‐type services using e‐mail to inform readers and databases' indexes when matching users' interests as reflected by searching subjects. Moreover, users themselves find from these e‐sources, specifically e‐journals, the most important, up‐to‐date sources of information where they can browse and retrieve the contents from their desktop connection through the organization's servers. The current study aims to explore the following: how far do researchers at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) use e‐journals and databases available at the University libraries? The paper also seeks to explore whether researchers are knowledgeable about these services and choose to use them.
To determine the respondents' experience with the main e‐journals features as related to alert services and whether or not they are using them, as well as the level of their usage, a questionnaire was adopted from the Stanford E‐Journal User Survey and modified to fit the purposes of the research. The questionnaire was then distributed to 100 SQU faculty members who were relatively familiar with electronic journals and the alert services available through the databases to which SQU libraries subscribed and its system on the local area network.
The results indicate that 50 percent of researchers depend on the University libraries' subscriptions, while only 19 researchers subscribe personally to e‐journals related to their field for free access to full‐text articles published in these journals. According to those who have not yet subscribed to new e‐journal functions (basically an alerting service), they would rather use general purpose search engines such as Google and Yahoo! This group of respondents suffers from numerous, irrelevant, and uninteresting results.
The study provides a comprehensive overview of researchers' perspectives towards the use of e‐journals and e‐services provided by Sultan Qaboos University.
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