Use of e-resources by unmotivated
students: a success story from a
library in Russia
Valentina Vasilyeva and Valeria Vasilyeva
North-West Institute of Administration,
Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration
North-West Institute of Management, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation
Purpose –This paper aims to examine how new educationalapproaches to the presentation of electronic
informationresources can inﬂuence interest in their use among ﬁrst-year undergraduates.Despite the variety
of technologicalfacilities available in universities,the learning process sometimes fails to keeppace with their
advantages. Universities are investing in high-technology classrooms and an extensive multidisciplinary
subscription to e-resourcesin the belief that students will make use of these opportunities.However, students
often ignore the availabilityof relevant and veriﬁed contentand prefer to retrieve information from Google’s
search results. The absence of students’initial motivation to work with a complex product is perhaps the
greatest challengefaced by the teacher-librarian. Limited timeavailable for training (a lecture and a seminar)
and lack of preparednessamong information specialists aggravatesthe situation.
Design/methodology/approach –The efﬁcacy of new educational approaches to the presentation of
e-resourceswas examined in a pilot study involving 940 ﬁrst-year undergraduatesat the North-West Institute
of Management of the Presidential Academy (RANEPA). The authors replaced academic lectures with
ﬂexible and interestingtechniques based on student’s interests, used attention triggers for eache-resource in
lecture materialsand focused the seminar on multiple speciﬁc searchesto attract and keep students engaged.
New educationalapproaches were implemented in four-hour sessionsfor ﬁrst-year students in all disciplines.
Findings –The results suggestthat the new educational approaches and teaching techniquescan raise the
level of students’involvement and interest in the use of subscribed e-resources. To assess the developed
approach, the authors analyzed the dynamics of the students’visits to subscribed resources and observeda
signiﬁcant increase in the number of visits.The authors found such a trend for all the types of requests and
resources. Overall, the numberof visits and full-text requests increasedfrom 88 to 284 per cent for the 2017-
2018 academicyear compared to the 2016-2017 one.
Practical implications –The ﬁndings of the study demonstrate the necessity of applying new
educationalapproaches to teaching students who lack the motivation to use high-qualityelectronic resources.
The teacher-librarian can be an important link between scientiﬁc information and consumers. The newly
developed techniques have great potential for a wide range of educational applications including the
developmentof teaching materials and training programs.
Social implications –The approach combines teaching methodology with rich informational environment,
enhancing students’motivation to information literacy through mastering their digital skills. Students’interest in
subscribed resources initiates their professional work with scientiﬁc information. Students need to constantly use
subscribed resources. Otherwise, the skills of using information e-resources will disappear and motivation for
their use will decrease. The development of techniques that can help to maintain students’interest in information
e-resources is continuing, and new ﬁndings will be presented in future papers.
Originality/value –In the scientiﬁc literature, to the best of the authors’knowledge, no information is
available on the use of similar techniques at Russian universities. It is hoped that developed techniques helps
students with low digital literacy from other universities or colleges overcome their bias against high technology.
Keywords Marketing in libraries, Higher education, E-resource, Academic libraries, Library users,
Learning, Information literacy, Unmotivated students, Scientiﬁc library, Subscription to e-resources,
Veriﬁed content, Attention triggers, High-technology classroom
Paper type Research paper
Received21 June 2019
Revised5 September 2019
Accepted9 October 2019
Vol.120 No. 11/12, 2019
© Emerald Publishing Limited
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at: