Two Decades of the Information Revolution at Heriot-Watt

We are told that we are living through the Information Revolution, a step-change in human history likely to be ranked with the Industrial and Agricultural revolutions of earlier times. Like the generations who witnessed those periods of change, we find it impossible to see what’s over the next horizon, but a glance in the rear-view mirror can often reveal how far we’ve travelled.

Comparing our most complete annual figures with those of 1993-94, (2 years after the World Wide Web was launched) reveals enormous growth in both the range of information resources we offer and the numbers supplied. This growth has been made possible by the information technologies of 21st century scholarship, which have untethered scholarly information from buildings and shelves, enabling us to deliver it to Heriot-Watt’s students and academics world-wide, 24×365.

HWU (UK Campuses) Library Collection Statistics 1993-1994 2013-2014 % Change
Printed Books 107,926 159,812 +48%
Electronic Books 0 74,711
Total Books 107926 234,523 +117%
Printed Periodicals 1,550 3,000 +94%
Electronic Periodicals 0 44,845
Total Periodicals 1,550 47,845 +2987%
Book Loans 127,284 52,458 -59%
E-Book Section Requests 0 431,325  
Periodical Article Downloads 0  1,085,251  
Total Resource Requests 127,284 1,569,034 +1133%
FTE Academic Staff 496 752 +52%
FTE Students 4,445 8,379 +89%
Total FTE Users 4,941 9,131 +85%
Book loans per FTE Student 29 6 -78%
Periodical Article Downloads per FTE Student 0 130  
E-Book Section Requests per FTE Student 0 51  
Total Resource Requests per FTE Student 29 187 554%
of which Book Loans comprised 100% 3%
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