European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn (one study in France and one in Portugal). Firstly: Student Reading Behavior: Digital vs. Print Preferences in Portuguese Context by Ana Lúcia Terra. Her study was carried out in the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal. The 23 item survey was administered March-June 2015. 262 students completed the survey, 73% undergraduate students, 57% male. 53% agreed/strongly agreed they preferred to print course readings. 67% disagreed/strongly disagreed that they preferred electronic textbooks. In comments, preferences for manual handling of books was mentioned. A majority preferred to print items over 7 pages, and 32% preferred to read items less than 7 pages in print (slightly less than the number who disagreed with this statement, 36%). Language did not strongly affect preference. A with studies already presented in this session, students annotated print more than electronic texts, and felt that print was better for remembering and focusing on material. "Portuguese students prerceived print as more suitable for successful learning"- however the students did want a mix of print and digital resources.
Next, Joumana Boustany talked about: Print vs. Electronic: What Do French Students Prefer in Their Academic Reading Material? She started by highlighting how digital technology is everywhere, and the French Government had a goal of making 100% of educational materials in digital format. The survey was the same one as others had mentioned in this session. The author mentioned that it had been difficult to get the questionniares disributed, and she had feared that respondents were biased towards those liking technology as social media was important in recruitment of participants.
1629 completed responses were received, 80% female. The majority were studying at undergraduate level. A majority agreed or strongly agreed that they remember information best, and can focus on and review information better when it is in print. 68% disagreed that electronic was more convenient. The majority of students also preferred to read material in print, and annotated it in print, but not if it was electronic. Preferences were not affected by language (French or another language).
Thus there was a clear preference for print format despite the Government and University push towards the digital format. This leaves a problem for the librarian - to go with user preference or University/Government.
Photo by Sheila Webber: outside a cafe, Tallinn, October 2015