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This article reports the findings of a study modeled after Saracevic, Shaw, and Kantor's efforts to identify and quantify the causes of users' failures to identify and locate library materials. The researchers analyzed patron-reported and librarian-observed subject and known-item searches and found an overall success rate of only 54 percent. The problems that led to the 46 percent failure rate were analyzed by source and type of failure, and subjective observations concerning problems encountered by patrons were recorded. Recommendations are made for reducing library malfunctions and circulation, patron, and acquisition errors.


Publisher Acknowledgment

Ciliberti, Anne C., Mary F. Casserly, Judith L. Hegg, and Eugene S. Mitchell. “Material Availability: A Study of Academic Library Performance.” College & Research Libraries, Vol. 48, November 1987, p. 513-527.



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