Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Alcock, C, CD ROM and access to information in academic libraries, in Proceedings, Australian Library and Information Association 1st Biennial Conference, 30 September-5 October 1990, Perth, 389-98.


CD-Rom databases have been hailed as a means of avoiding the problems inherent in budgeting for online services, and hence also the need to charge for searching. However, some libraries are already considering charging for their use. This is a retrograde step. The University of Wollongong library has purchased a number of CD-ROM databases which have been enthusiastically received by both students and academic staff. At present, we do not charge for this service. Initial indications are that the introduction of CD-Rom databases has meant a slump in demand for online searches. Clearly, CD-Rom and online services could be complementary, and it is likely that once CD--ROM databases are no longer considered a novelty, online services will regain, and possibly increase, their standing with the academic library community. This paper concludes that CD-Roms have the potential to greatly enhance students' access to information, firstly, through providing free access to electronic database sources, secondly, by making students more aware of the potential of online services for up to the minute information, and thirdly, for improving document delivery.