Identifying and Responding to User Needs at the National Library of Australia

A paper delivered at Victoria University\’s recent symposium Revelling in Reference:

Growth in Internet usage, a continuing increase and availability of electronic resources and changes to the delivery of information continue to have a huge impact on libraries and the expectations of our users. There are both similarities and differences in the provision of reference and the delivery of information to onsite and offsite users. The National Library has recently undertaken three focus groups of onsite users and in 2001 will undertake a survey of our remote users in an effort to identify the changing needs and expectations of library users in the digital age. A change from mediated reference involving personal interaction between librarian and user is being supplemented and in some cases replaced by unmediated reference through the provision of guides, subject gateways and online catalogues. It would seem that one thing is certain – users are becoming ever more demanding of libraries to provide electronic resources, in full text, at no cost and with no wait.

More. Thanks to The Virtual Acquisition Shelf and News Desk.