REPORT FROM THE FIELD
Researchers are not only relying more on libraries, but they seem to be reading more, according to Donald W King, distinguished research professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill. King addressed an audience at the Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) 2007 conference, held from May 28 to June 2 in Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia. He replicated a previous study he did with Carol Tenopir from the University of Tennessee, explaining that this increased usage was caused by a decrease in personal collections, more articles being read than can be identified by online bibliographic searches, along with broadened access to articles through electronic collections. King surveyed 6,000 households for the study, titled "The Cost and Use of Electronic and Print Journal Collections."
The LIDA 2007 conference hosted 128 attendees (29 students) from Croatia and 14 other countries (including Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the U.S.). This year's conference was sponsored by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport; the U.S. Embassy (Zagreb); the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST); Blackwell Book Services; ProQuest; Springer; Elsevier; the Croatian National Tourist Board; the Dubrovnik Tourist Board; the City of Osijek; the Osijek Tourist Board; the Osjecko-baranjska County Tourist Board; Belje 1967; and Pivovara d.d. Osijek.
In opening remarks for the conference, co-organizer Tefko Saracevic from the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers State University of New Jersey said that "although it is a relatively small conference, LIDA has covered, in 8 years of its existence, a large number of issues related to digital libraries." He emphasized that "digital libraries and digital age do not mean abandoning library traditions and values but application of true and tried principles and values to new situations and developing new ones." He stated that "because of constant changes in the digital world, all of us need a constant update of professional knowledge and competencies."
Saracevic introduced LIDA co-chair-person Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic from the Department of Information Sciences at the University of Osijek in Croatia and noted that she was selected for the Thomson ISI/ASIST Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award in 2006.
The conference focused on two themes: Users and Use of Digital Libraries and Economics and Digital Libraries.
Users, Use, and Usability
Karen E. Fischer from the Information School at the University of Washington-Seattle reported in the session Seattle Public Library as a "Place": Community Building and Impact that 54 percent of people come to the Seattle Public Library in company with other people and that the public library still serves as a site of social interaction and community building.
Barbara Wildemuth, from UNC, discussed issues in the session about Bringing Digital Libraries into View on an Individual's Information Horizon. Using different information-seeking issues by the same person (professional and medical), she showed how libraries could facilitate more effective information use through various services, including the reuse of existing information, the creation of new information objects, and supporting people helping people.
In Usability of Digital Libraries, Borchuluun Yadamsuren and Sanda Erdelez, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia, noted that the digital libraries usability evaluation is not a single thing or a single event but a process integrated with all the stages of development and maintenance. They described their Information Experience Lab (http://ielab .missouri.edu), an innovative research-and-usability testing facility whose mission is to improve the users' information experience in Web-based information systems through research methodologies that blend traditional usability evaluation with human information behavior research. …