Electronic Books and the Humanities: A Survey at the University of Denver

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Document Type


Organizational Units

University Libraries


Academic libraries, Electronic books, Information research, User interfaces, User studies



To identify levels of awareness and patterns of usage of electronic books by scholars in the humanities.


A survey of the University of Denver community assessed knowledge about and usage of electronic books. The results for humanists are presented here.


Scholars in the humanities have a higher level of awareness of e‐books than their colleagues across campus but use e‐books at the same rate. Their patterns of use are different, with humanists using less of the e‐book than do other groups. Humanists still prefer printed books to electronic texts at a higher rate than do other groups and care less about added features, such as searchability, than they do about content.


Humanists conduct research differently than do most other scholars, using the library catalog and browsing as primary means of finding information, and valuing the book more than other resources. No previous research has assessed whether humanists have similarly unique patterns of usage for electronic books.

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