This may seem a bit of an obvious one for this site, but let’s just take a moment to think about those who are dismissive of, not interested in or totally unaware of information that exists offline. Obviously, dear readers, you are not these people or you wouldn’t be here. But some days it seems as though you are few in number.
This 2008 article by Hamid R. Jamali assesses the information-seeking behaviour of physicists and astronomers at University College, London. He finds, alarmingly, that many scientists assume “that if an article is not online then it is not worth the effort to obtain it.” (Author’s italics.) This pie chart illustrates their agreement to that statement. Their assumption was that if an article is important or significant, someone would have taken the time to scan and upload it already.
The challenge of the digital age is that many would-be patrons now assume that “everything is on the Internet,” and they do not pursue non-digital resources. Special collections staff can meet this challenge through the use of social media tools.
Social media? Imagine that! As of July 2010, Repp’s thesis was not available online, but Hurst-Wahl’s blog post contains her contact info if you would like to read it. The two collections Repp profiled were the Hugh Morton Photographs and Films at UNC Chapel Hill and the Duke Digital Collections.
It’s not clear whether the social media route would work for all those busy scientists, but in any case it can’t hurt to simply TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS BLOG. Let’s get the word out!