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Digital libraries, Perceptions, Usability, Use of digital resources, Usefulness


This paper provides an overview of a case study research that investigated the use of Digital Library (DL) resources in two undergraduate classes and explored faculty and students’ perceptions of educational digital libraries. This study found that students and faculty use academic DLs primarily for textual resources, but turn to the open Web for visual and multimedia resources. The study participants did not perceive academic libraries as a useful source of digital images and used search engines when searching for visual resources. The limited use of digital library resources for teaching and learning is associated with perceptions of usefulness and ease of use, especially if considered in a broader information landscape, in conjunction with other library information systems, and in the context of Web resources. The limited use of digital libraries is related to the following perceptions: 1) Library systems are not viewed as user-friendly, which in turn discourages potential users from trying DLs provided by academic libraries; 2) Academic libraries are perceived as places of primarily textual resources; perceptions of usefulness, especially in regard to relevance of content, coverage, and currency, seem to have a negative effect on user intention to use DLs, especially when searching for visual materials.

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This is an Author’s Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing. The Version of Record is available online at: