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RLUK has published the third report in a series of work looking into the development and use of Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs) in collection-holding institutions.
Academic use and perceptions of Virtual Reading Rooms and Virtual Teaching Spaces presents the results of a recent survey launched by Research Libraries UK (RLUK), in collaboration with the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, and members of a working group convened by the International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA).
The aim of this research was to establish the academic awareness, experience, and perception of Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs). Developing a better understanding of user needs and motivations behind the use of VRRs and VTSs will lead to further improvements which will ensure greater use and sustainability of the services. It complements an ongoing piece of research being undertaken by RLUK regarding the potential of VRRs as digital research infrastructure and the possibilities and benefits of undertaking a networked approach.
The survey was completed by academics, researchers, and students from across the UK and beyond. The findings uncover issues related to the perceptions and motivations behind the use of VRRs and VTSs, including the benefits of the services for research, teaching, and study. The challenges that users face when engaging with the services are also discussed and relevant recommendations for institutions offering or planning to offer VRRs and VTSs are made. Finally, this report reveals the significant role that the library and other curatorial staff play in developing, promoting, and delivering VRR and VTS sessions in a way that ensures a unique user experience.