The Electronic Academic Library: Undergraduate Research Behavior in a Library Without Books

This study examines undergraduate students' research habits in a strictly electronic library environment at a large public university. Unlike most information commons, the campus' electronic library is not housed within a traditional library space and provides access to electronic research materials exclusively. This study finds that undergraduate students in this electronic library rely primarily on Internet sites and online instruction modules (for example Blackboard or WebCT) for their research needs rather than university-funded research sources. Additionally, academic class status has no significant impact on whether students use either the library's OPAC or the university-funded electronic databases for their research needs. The authors discuss possible reasons for these findings, new pedagogical practices as indicated by the results, and define areas for further research.