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Weekly News Digest

January 7, 2008 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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Pew Internet Project Issues New Report on Information Searching

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just issued a new report titled, "Information searches that solve problems: How people use the internet, libraries, and government agencies when they need help" (www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/Pew_UI_LibrariesReport.pdf). In a national phone survey, respondents were asked whether they had encountered 10 possible problems in the previous 2 years, all of which had a potential connection to the government or government-provided information. Those who had dealt with the problems were asked where they went for help, and the internet topped the list:
  • 58% of those who had recently experienced one of the 10 problems said they used the internet (at home, work, a public library, or some other place) to get help.
  • 53% said they turned to professionals such as doctors, lawyers or financial experts.
  • 45% said they sought out friends and family members for advice and help.
  • 36% said they consulted newspapers and magazines.
  • 34% said they directly contacted a government office or agency.
  • 16% said they consulted television and radio.
  • 13% said they went to the public library.

The report said that the survey results challenge the assumption that libraries are losing relevance in the internet age. Libraries drew visits by more than half of Americans (53%) in the past year for all kinds of purposes—not just the problems mentioned in this survey. And it was the young adults in tech-loving Generation Y (ages 18–30) who led the pack. Compared to their elders, Gen Y members were the most likely to use libraries for problem-solving information and, in general, patronage for any purpose.

This report is the fruit of a partnership of the University of Illinois – Urbana– Champaign and the Pew Internet & American Life Project. It was funded with a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (www.imls.gov), an agency that is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

ource: Pew Internet & American Life Project



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