Café Jus: an Electronic Journals User Survey

Hazel Woodward, Fytton Rowland, Cliff McKnight, Carolyn Pritchett, Jack Meadows


During 1996, the number of scholarly periodicals available in electronic form increased rapidly. The Café Jus project took advantage of this critical mass of electronic journals to mount a major user study with taught postgraduate students, research students and staff in various disciplines at Loughborough University. The main conclusions were that low-level technical problems are still a deterrent to the use of electronic journals; that people prefer not to read at length on screen, but printing out is slow; that commercial publishers tend to follow the lead of technology rather than consider the convenience of their users; that at present there is a significant need for user training, exacerbated by the variety of publishers' interfaces and their speed of change; and that free journals using HTML are preferred to commercial journals using PDF for convenience of reading, but they are likely to be regarded as of lower academic quality. The implications of these results for publishers and for the future of electronic journals are discussed.

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