Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Published in Library Philosophy and Practice (2011) 16 p.


This study explores student preferences to library website vocabulary and compares the data with what librarians report on their library's website. Two questionnaires were distributed in the fall of 2009 to students (N=300) and librarians (N=527). Students were asked to identify the terms they prefer from a larger list of library website vocabulary. Librarians were asked to report the terms that were used on their library's website. Twenty-seven terms were selected for both the student and librarian questionnaires. The 27 terms were culled from library literature, library instruction classes, and reference desk interactions. Of the 300 students, 54% were freshmen, 16.3% sophomore, 10% junior, and 15.3% senior. Librarians from all types of libraries in Canada and the United States responded to the questionnaire. The data suggests that, for some terms, there is a significant difference in what students prefer and what librarians report on their library's website. The author suggests that librarians create focus groups to determine student preferences, especially on top-level pages of the library website.