“You Just Type in What You Are Looking For": Undergraduates' Use of Library Resources vs. Wikipedia

Document Type



This study presents findings from one-on-one interviews with 21 undergraduate students at a large public research university in the southeastern United States. While the preliminary focus of the study was to be students' opinions about and use of Wikipedia as a resource for course-related research, many of the interviews evolved into discussion about the relative merits of freely-available web-based resources as compared with subscription databases. In addition to providing illuminating information about respondents' relationships with Wikipedia and Google, these interviews offered an unexpected glimpse into participants' understanding of the nature of information creation, presentation, and retrieval in the free web-based environment. Additionally, respondents provided valuable insight into the question of why some students rely heavily on library resources while others avoid visiting the physical and virtual library.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Colón-Aguirre, M. & Fleming-May, R. (2012). “You just type in what you are looking for": Undergraduates' use of library resources vs. Wikipedia. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36(6), 391-399.