The purpose of this paper is to establish the extent to which Croatian university teachers and researchers use online academic databases in their work. In addition, the research looks into the ways they perceive certain aspects of database usage. The study focused on one university, but it is believed that the results could be replicated state-wide since the Croatian academic community is small and faces similar problems. The survey was conducted by means of a questionnaire. A total of 102 questionnaires were fully completed and used in the study. Apart from the descriptive statistics, inferential statistical methods were applied in order to analyze the differences between particular categories of users. The results show that 73.5% of respondents use online academic databases. These resources are more frequently used by university teachers holding a PhD, who are full, associate or assistant professors. It was also established that users assess online databases as an important source of information which reduces the time of research, but they also encounter certain difficulties in exploiting them. These refer primarily to the limited number of available commercial databases and the fact that full texts are often not accessible. The analysis of group differences revealed that with respect to gender, level of education and academic title, users had relatively uniform perceptions regarding online databases. The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of online database users’ perceptions and needs. The results may also be useful in planning, designing and implementing training programs.
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston