Complementary Value of Databases for Discovery of Scholarly Literature
A User Survey of Online Searching for Publications in Art History
Published in: College and Research Libraries, v. 71, no. 3, May 2010, p. 223-235
Posted on RAND.org on May 01, 2010
Discovery of academic literature through Web search engines challenges the traditional role of specialized research databases. Creation of literature outside of academic presses and peer-reviewed publications expands the content for scholarly research within a particular field. The resulting body of literature raises the question of whether scholars prefer the perceived broader access of Web search engines or opt for the precision of field-specific research databases. Surveys of art historians indicate a complementary use of on-line search tools with a reliance on field-specific research databases to discover authoritative content. Active use of Web search engines and initiatives for open access suggest that research databases will integrate into an evolving Web-based infrastructure that supports discovery and access of scholarly literature.