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Bouncing, Squirreling and Other Behaviors of Digital Information Seekers, by Lynn Silipigni Connaway Timothy J. Dickey, November 4, 2010

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  • Joint Information Systems Committee.

    De Rosa, Cathy. 2005. Perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center.

    De Rosa, Cathy. 2006. College students' perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center.

    Dervin, Brenda, CarrieLynn D. Reinhard, Zack Y. Kerr, Mei Song, and Fei C. Shen, eds. 2006. Sense-making the information confluence: The whys and hows of college and university user satisficing of information needs. Phase II: Sense-making online survey and phone interview study. Report on National Leadership Grant LG-02-03-0062-03 to Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. Columbus, Ohio: School of
    Communication, Ohio State University.
    Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, Chandra Prabha, and Timothy J. Dickey. 2006. Sense-making the information confluence: The whys and hows of college and university user satisficing of information needs. Phase III: Focus group interview study. Report on National Leadership Grant LG-02-03-0062-03, to Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. Columbus, Ohio: School of Communication, The Ohio State University.
    Prabha, Chandra, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, and Timothy J. Dickey. 2006. Sense-making the information confluence: The whys and hows of college and university user satisficing of information needs. Phase IV: Semi-structured interview study. Report on National Leadership Grant LG-02-03-0062-03, to Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. Columbus, Ohio: School of Communication, The Ohio State University.

    Research Information Network. 2006. Researchers and discovery services: Behaviour, perceptions and needs. London: Research Information Network.

    Consortium of University Research Libraries, and Research Information Network. 2007. Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services: A report. London: Research Information Network and Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL).

    Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research. 2008. Information behaviour of the researcher of the future: A CIBER briefing paper. London: CIBER.

    Radford, Marie L., and Lynn Silipigni Connaway. 2008. Seeking synchronicity: Evaluating virtual reference services from user, non-user, and librarian perspectives: IMLS final performance report. Report on Grant LG-06-05-0109-05, to Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center.

    Calhoun, Karen, et al. 2009. Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC.

    Research Information Network. 2009. E-journals: Their use, value and impact. London: Research Information Network.

    JISC and UCL. 2009. JISC national e-books observatory project: Key findings and recommendations: Final report.

    Hampton-Reeves, Stuart, Claire Mashiter, Jonathan Westaway, Peter Lumsden, Helen Day, Helen Hewerston, and Anna Hart. 2009. Students’ use of research content in teaching and learning: A report of the Joint Information Systems Council (JISC).

    Wong, William, Hanna Stelmaszewska, Nazlin Bhimani, Sukhbinder Barn, and Balbir Barn. 2009. User behaviour in resource discovery: Final report.

  • Researchers particularly appreciate desktop access to scholarly content, from e-journals to VRS (DIS, p. 33).

    Researchers and discovery services, 2006
    Valuation of the convenience of desktop access

    Researchers' use of academic libraries, 2007
    Immediate access from desktop computer is taken for granted

    Seeking synchronicity, 2008
    VRS' convenience is from home computer

    Students' use of research content, 2009
    Home computer is main way they gain access

    Consortium of University Research Libraries, and Research Information Network. 2007. Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services: A report. London: Research Information Network and Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL).
    “The majority of researchers in all disciplines have adapted readily to the widespread availability of digital content, accessible directly from their desktops” (Consortium of University Research Libraries, and Research Information Network 2007, p. 23).
  • User behaviours in this electronic environment tend toward quick views of a few pages, and “bouncing” between resources. This seems to contradict the notion of the hard-core researcher but supports the need for more user behaviour research addressing situation and context. DIS, p. 34.

    Sense-making, 2006
    Graduate student: “Even with the library, it’s start with the imminent. I use the online resources. If I can avoid a physical trip to the library … I’ll avoid it” FG-6

    Seeking Synchronicity, 2008
    Convenience often dictates choices between physical and virtual library
    “Here’s the answer to your problems: you can’t get to the library, get out of the house, they are right there, willing to help, it is like having a reference librarian at your house,” reported one telephone interview respondent (UTI-24).

    Perceptions of Libraries, 2005
    “Looking and reading an entire book takes too long when the specific information can be gained online in a matter of minutes,” stated a 38-year old from the United States.

    Researcher of the future, 2008
    Very little time using content, “squirreling” of downloads by academic users
    All users preferring quick chunks of information

    E-journals, 2009
    Users are visiting only a few minutes
    User behaviours vary but demonstrate shorter sessions, using basic search, and viewing fewer pages: The deep log analyses revealed that 37% of the e-book pages were used off-campus, 24/7 (ibid, p. 19). “Online access” was cited by 52% of survey respondents (N=11,763, n=6,169) as the most important advantage of e-books; “searchability” (13.2%, n=1,556) is the second most cited advantage of e-books compared to print books (ibid, p. 22).
  • Calhoun, Karen, et al. 2009. Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. DIS, p. 18.
    “Make it as easy as a Google Book Search,” one survey respondent requested when discussing the catalog. (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 14)

    Perceptions of Libraries, 2005
    A 71-year-old from the United States, stated, “…also, the internet has now put all the librarys of the world [at] your fingertips.”

    JISC national e-books, 2009
    Users tend to use e-books quickly, viewing only a few pages

    User behaviour in resource discovery, 2009
    Users make short visits, with simple searching of Google-like interfaces; power browsing for snippets of information

    Researchers also value human resources such as colleagues, peers, family, friends, and teachers in their information seeking. DIS, p. 39.
  • Perceptions, 2005
    A 41-year-old Canadian respondent said, “Books, books, books, rows and rows of books, stacks of books, tables filled with books, people holding books, people checking out books. Libraries are all about books”

    Digital Information Seeker, pg. 4.
    In addition, some common findings regarding content and resources arise:
    More digital content of all kinds and formats is almost uniformly seen as better.
    People still tend to think of libraries as collections of books.
    Despite this, researchers also value human resources in their information-seeking.

    Sense-Making, 2006
    “Magic Wand“ question: Ideas from undergraduates include the ability to use keyword searching in all books (a prophecy of Google Book Search?), a universal library catalog for all libraries, reference staff that conveniently rove about the library (“…where they have people who walk around and are there available to help you not always just confined behind a desk where you have to go up and they’re like, well if you take a left after that bookcase then a right” FG-2), federated search in databases (speaking to both time saving and ease of use), and better hyperlinks. Graduate students desired better book and journal delivery systems, presumably for the convenience of receiving materials in their office (“But other times, it says you have to actually go get the article, and I do a lot of research under a lot of supervisors and stuff. So it’s such a drag” FG-6).

    Sense-making the information confluence: Phases 1-4 and Final Report. DIS, p. 9.
    Participants also discussed enhancements and changes to the library’s electronic resources (Connaway, Prabha, and Dickey 2006, p. 16). These include Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) [although the participants did not use this term, this is the service they described], 24/7 reference, and expanded online sources, including all print and other physical materials available online (Connaway, Prabha, and Dickey 2006, p. 16-17).

    College students’ perceptions, 2006
    Students trust library, but are visiting less since they began using Internet: Thirty-three percent of the respondents to the Perceptions study stated they tend to use the library “less frequently” since they began using the Internet.
    HOWEVER - some students reiterate their trust in the library as quoted by an 18-year-old undergraduate from the United States. “A library is vital in order to get information. I trust and love libraries. The Web cannot take over because the library is sacred”
  • Research Information Network, 2006
    A life sciences researcher with 5-10 years experience stated, “The most irritating thing is to eventually find the right paper and then find you need to have a subscription to read it.”

    Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. 2007. “Mountains, valleys, and pathways: Serials users’ needs and steps to meet them. Part I: Identifying Serials Users’ Needs: Preliminary Analysis of Focus Group Interviews and Semi-structured Observations at Colleges and Universities.” Serials Librarian 52(1/2): 223-236.

    However, these respondents also offer frequent criticisms of traditional library services. (p. 3-4).
    In this situation, both undergraduate and graduate students offer a high concentration of responses in three categories: positive comments on the ease of the web as an information source, some positive commentary on library resources (though their use of library resources were very frequently through electronic intervention), and criticism of the physical library. …However, the faculty provide a variety of data which uniquely praise the virtues of the physical library collection, and which consider credibility, authority, and trustworthiness as criteria for judging an information source. (p.5).

    However, the respondents do not perceive these databases as “library sources” and express frustration with their inability to locate or access full-text copies of journals and books. They suggest the library provide recommender and discovery services like those available through Amazon. (p. 10).



  • Researchers & Discovery Services, 2006
    Ninety-nine and a half percent mentioned journal articles as their primary resource and 71% ranked them among their top three resources.

    Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries, 2007
    Researchers “place a very high value on electronic journals;” There is a preconceived notion that non-digital means invisible to researchers.

    E-journals, 2009
    “E-journals are the life-blood of UK research institutions” (ibid, p. 6). E-journals are an integral part of UK academic libraries. Within four months, “users at ten UK research institutions visited nearly 1400 ScienceDirect journals…, half a million times and viewed a million and a half pages”
    The number of titles and the number of article downloads have nearly doubled from 2001-2007 and 2003-2007, respectively.
    Of all the journals available in the sample, 98% of them were used in a four-month period. This suggests an excellent return on investment (ROI).
  • Perceptions, 2005
    86% of the respondents stated that they most often make judgments based upon their own knowledge or common sense. This was followed by 75% stating that they most often make judgments based upon the “reputation of the company/organization,” 65% on “cross-referencing” , and credible recommendations as to the quality of a source (59%); respondents indicated that when they cross-check information they most often check other websites (82%), print resources (68%), and subject experts (51%); they indicated they only refer to librarians 16% of the time.

    Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future, 2008
    “Digital literacies and information literacies do not go hand in hand. A careful look at the literature over the past 25 years finds no improvement (or deterioration) in young people’s information skills.”

    User Behaviour in Resource Discovery, 2009
    One researcher said, “I don’t always know which is the most appropriate [database].”

    Wong, William, Hanna Stelmaszewska, Nazlin Bhimani, Sukhbinder Barn, and Balbir Barn. 2009. User behaviour in resource discovery: Final report. DIS, p. 23.
     Information literacy skills are generally lacking; they have not necessarily kept pace with digital literacy (Wong et al. 2009, p. 6).
     
    Researchers and discovery services. DIS, p. 11.
    Most researchers are self-taught in the use of discovery services with 62% of the researchers reporting they had no formal training (ibid, p. 64). However, they are relatively confident in their own skills (Research Information Network 2006, p. 9).


  • Even more evidence exists for the increasing centrality of Google and other search engines in researchers’ behaviours. DIS, p. 27.

    Sense-making the information confluence: Phases 1-4 and Final Report.
    As stated by one undergraduate focus group interviewee, “The thing about Google is that I generally find the little somethings under the search results and the relevance to anything to actually be fairly good.”

    Students’ use of research content in teaching and learning, 2009
    One university student stated, “I take key words from the title and look at what I can find quickly and easily, I’ll also read the source list, I’ll type them in Google and then go to the library.”

    Perceptions of libraries, 2005
    Search engines dominant place to begin, Search engine as lifestyle fit, Search engines are preferred over libraries

    College students’ perceptions, 2006
    Search engines overwhelming first choice for an information search: 94% lifestyle fit

    Researcher of the future, 2008
    Prefer natural language searching and trust Google to understand them

    Mountains, valleys, and pathways: Serials users’ needs and steps to meet them, 2007
    The focus group interview data indicate a heavy reliance upon Google and other web browsers and sources. (p. 3-4).
    Graduate students also rank Google as the first source for quick searches. (p. 3-4).
    The preliminary analysis of the focus group interviews and semi-structured observations suggests that college and university information seekers use Google and other web sources and browsers for quick searches and to familiarize themselves with subjects. (p.11).
    In this situation, both undergraduate and graduate students offer a high concentration of responses in three categories: positive comments on the ease of the web as an information source,…(p.5).
  • Sense-making the Information Confluence: Phases 1-4 and Final Report.
    When asked how one goes about finding information, one undergraduate focus group interview participant stated, “For me it depends on what the topic is, where I’m gonna go first.”

    Wong, William, Hanna Stelmaszewska, Nazlin Bhimani, Sukhbinder Barn, and Balbir Barn. 2009. User behaviour in resource discovery: Final report. DIS, p. 23.
    Search strategies change by context, during the course of the process (Wong et al. 2009, p. 7).
    Users found access hindered by the difficulty of using database interfaces (Wong et al. 2009, p. 7).

    Digital Information Seeker, pg. 4.
    The realities of the online environment observed above led several studies to some common conclusions about changing user behaviours:
    Users are beginning to desire enhanced functionality in library systems.
    They also desire enhanced content to assist them in evaluating resources.

    Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research. 2008. Information behaviour of the researcher of the future: A CIBER briefing paper. DIS, p. 15.
    Younger people tended to spend little time, and with little effectiveness in evaluating search results. They preferred natural-language searching and trusted Google to understand them. Many do not find library resources intuitive (CIBER 2008, p. 12).


  • Hampton-Reeves, Stuart, Claire Mashiter, Jonathan Westaway, Peter Lumsden, Helen Day, Helen Hewerston, and Anna Hart. 2009. Students’ use of research content in teaching and learning: A report of the Joint Information Systems Council (JISC). DIS, p. 22.

    In situations of formal research for these students, this leads them to the library catalogue first and to use it more (32%, n=137, N=428; Hampton-Reeves et al. 2009, p. 24). However, the researchers stated, “it is very clear that Google has emerged as a real force in the accessing and discovery of research content which is rivalling university library catalogues” (Hampton-Reeves et al. 2009, p. 30).

    E-journals, 2009
    Approximately one-third of the traffic to ScienceDirect came from Google four months after the content was opened to Google. More than half of the traffic to the Oxford Journals was via Google…

    Researchers and Discovery Services, 2006
    The most common tools used for discovery include general search engines. Eighty-three percent of the respondents stated they used search engines “very often” or “regularly”

  • Sense-making the information confluences: Phases 1-4 and Final Report. DIS, p. 9.
    Faculty response in a focus group interview, “I do use Google, but …[I also] use two different library homepages” (Connaway, Prabha, and Dickey 2006, p. 12).

    The participants acknowledged the value of databases and other online sources to both academic and personal information needs.
    Some users did not understand what resources were actually available in libraries nor could they distinguish between databases held by a library and sources merely available online (Connaway, Prabha, and Dickey 2006, p. 13-14).

    Online Catalogs, 2008
    “Make it as easy as a Google Book Search,” one survey respondent requested when discussing the catalog
    “I wish the results page would list a short blurb (one line) about the book similar to the way Google shows you a tiny bit about what a site link is about.” (Calhoun, Karen, et al. 2009. Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC, p. 17

    Sense-making the information confluence: Phases 1-4 and Final Report. DIS, p. 9.
    Participants also stated that library OPACs are difficult to use; this belief is held by all types of participants (Connaway, Prabha, and Dickey 2006, p. 11-14).

    Participants also discussed enhancements and changes to the library’s electronic resources and suggestions to “make the library catalog more like search engines” (Connaway, Prabha, and Dickey 2006, p. 16). These include Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) [although the participants did not use this term, this is the service they described], 24/7 reference, and expanded online sources, including all print and other physical materials available online (Connaway, Prabha, and Dickey 2006, p. 16-17).




  • Fifty-five percent of survey respondents stated they would immediately try to obtain a copy of the item based on information they discover, 30% would “Request the item from a library,” 21% would “Visit a library listed here,” and 4% would “Purchase the item;” (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 20).
     
    Twenty-four percent of the respondents indicated that a “list of libraries that own the item” is the most essential data element for them while 14% cited “the ability to see what is immediately available” as essential to them (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 12).
     
    Thirty-six percent of survey respondents believed that “more links to online content/full text” was the “most helpful” change to identify a needed item in the catalog (ibid, p. 13). However, this enhancement was in the bottom third of librarians’ desired changes (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 44).

    Research Information Network. 2006. Researchers and discovery services: Behaviour, perceptions and needs. London: Research Information Network. DIS, p. 11.
    “Increasingly, the boundary between resources themselves and discovery services is a permeable one” (Research Information Network 2006, p. 5). There is a need for a seamless process from discovery-to-delivery (D2D). 

    Some disciplinary differences exist in the researchers’ satisfaction with D2D services. Researchers in the sciences are most satisfied. Arts and Humanities researchers indicated serious problems in unavailable content, irrelevant information in result lists, and in the discovery of non-English content (Research Information Network 2006, p. 75).

    Other specific gaps in D2D provision included foreign language materials (especially for social sciences and Arts and Humanities researchers; Research Information Network 2006, p. 75), chapters in multiauthor collections, short journal back files, and lack of specialist search engines (Research Information Network 2006, p. 67).

    Researchers and Discovery Services, 2006
    “It can be difficult for a UK professional who does not speak foreign languages to get a good academic translation. Would like a very good translation service specifically geared for academics,” stated a physical sciences researcher who has more than 20 years experience.
    Another physical sciences researcher with 1-2 years experience explained, “The online archives only go back a few years especially for commercial journals. The library holds most pre-1970s journals in a store and it takes a day to access it.”
  • Perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership, 2005. DIS, p. 6.
    “Make a way to search through all the databases with one search engine, instead of having to search each database individually,” stated a 21-year-old from the United States (De Rosa 2005, p. 1-19).

    Online catalogs: What users and librarians want, 2009. DIS, p. 18.
    End users who participated in the focus group interviews indicated that they wanted the retrieved results to be obviously relevant and suggested that catalogs “use weighting in the search algorithm” (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 14). They also suggested the catalog contain helps to the user for navigation within the catalog and evaluation of sources.

    “End users rely on and expect enhanced content.” Thirty-two percent of survey respondents’ preferred more subject information and 18% indicated a preference for summaries, abstracts, and tables of content (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 13).

    “An advanced search option and facets help end users refine searches, navigate, browse and manage large result sets” (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 15-16).

    “The focus group interview participants offered a mixed reaction to social features” in the catalog (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 18-19).
  • Researchers and discovery services: Behaviour, perceptions and needs, 2006. DIS, p. 11.
    Fifty-nine percent of the researchers identified “refining down from a large list of results” as their most common search strategy (Research Information Network 2006, p. 59). This leads to a key problem of irrelevant results and the fear of missing significant items (see quotes from survey respondents; Research Information Network 2006, p.60).

    Researchers and discovery services: Behaviour, perceptions and needs, 2006
    “Refine—getting first results is very fast and that gives a good indication of how to adjust the phrase,” stated a physical sciences researcher with 10-20 years experience.

    Researchers and discovery services: Behaviour, perceptions and needs, 2006
    Another physical sciences researcher with 1-2 years experience stated, “It’s generally better to blunder about with variations on a theme.”

    Research Information Network 2006, p. 11.
    Researchers want access to more digital content. (



     
  • Calhoun, Karen, et al. 2009. Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. DIS, p. 18.
     “The end user’s experience of the delivery of wanted items is as important, if not more important, than his or her discovery experience” (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. v).
     
  • Students’ use of research content in teaching and learning, 2009
    Another student said, “You can’t trust everything on the internet, anyone can publish something.”

    Students’ use of research content in teaching and learning, 2009
    A Social Sciences student agree, “Some of it [internet information] is interesting but some is waffle.”

    One important finding related to this is that high-quality metadata is becoming even more important for discovery of appropriate resources. DIS, p. 37.

    Perceptions of libraries, 2005
    Quality of information a determinant of satisfactory information search
    Other key criteria determining satisfaction include “worthwhile” information

    Researchers' use of academic libraries, 2007
    Need to provide good metadata
    Many resources under-used because inadequately cataloged

    Calhoun, Karen, et al. 2009. Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. DIS, p. 18.
    “Important differences exist between the catalog data quality priorities of end users and those who work in libraries.” Fifty-two percent of the librarians indicated that the most desired data enhancement was to “Merge duplicate records” (Calhoun et al. 2009, p. 25). This enhancement might improve users’ searching tasks and their retrieved results. However, users necessarily would not understand the implications of duplicate records on searching and retrieval; therefore, they probably would not mention this.

  • Digital Information Seeker, pg. 4-5.
    In a few cases, the above findings from the studies under review offered evidence that runs counter to popular perceptions of the current information scene.
    Many popular media claims about the “Google generation” may not be supported by all the evidence.
    In choosing among search engines, some evidence indicates that speed may not be the most important evaluative factor.
    The studies that addressed library OPACs provide little support for the advanced search options which are still popular in these systems.

    Online Catalogs: What Users Want
    The only study to find support for advanced search feautures
    Only mixed reaction to “social media” features

    Students’ use of Research Content, 2009
    “Limited evidence that students use [social] networks of friends, family, and professional contacts to help them discover research content.”
  • Digital Information Seeker, pg. 45.
    A synthesis of findings from these major user studies points toward a number of implications for libraries. The implications below represent broad tendencies. The various user studies themselves do take into account differences in behaviour based on age and gender of the subjects, and context and situation of the information needs. Differences based on academic discipline have been a common finding throughout the user behaviour studies. Even though the studies ask different questions of their subjects, the findings present a rich portrait of user behaviours. In order to generalize findings and to present a valid portrait of user behaviours, it is necessary to conduct longitudinal studies of large populations.
     
    Implications for libraries which are shared by multiple studies include the following:
    The library serves many constituencies, with different needs and behaviours.
    Library systems must do better at providing seamless access to resources.
    Librarians must increasingly consider a greater variety of digital formats and content.
    Both academics and non-academics believe more digital resources of all kinds are better.
    Library systems and content must be prepared for changing user behaviours.
    High-quality, robust metadata is becoming more important for discovery of appropriate resources.
    The library must advertise its brand, its value, and its resources better within the community.
  • Library systems need to look and function more like search engines, e.g., Google and Yahoo, and services, e.g., Amazon.com since these are familiar to users who are comfortable and confident in using them.
  • All of this will affect the role of the librarian who might increasingly have to help students clarify and interpret tasks and briefs, find the appropriate resources and run information skills sessions.

    A few key issues for libraries to consider:

    Keep talking:  Librarians need to market and promote their services and be very transparent about what they offer, in addition to ‘books’.

    Keep moving:  Librarians need to provide a range of tools and services in different media and formats.  Some people prefer walking into a library and talking face-to-face.  Some like to talk to a librarian, others to communicate virtually. While some users want to hold a book, many want electronic access.  Librarians need to offer a wide range of services and resources which is difficult in the current economic environment.

    Keep the gates open:  Libraries need to remove the barriers between discovering and accessing information.  Older materials need to be made available digitally as researchers perceive a wealth of digital and varied resources as ‘better’.

    Keep  it simple:  Researchers are very familiar with other web-based searches like Google, Yahoo or Amazon.  Library web services ought to look similar despite providing very detailed ways of searching for information.  The majority of users search by keywords and library search tools must have a simple and convenient interface.
     
  • Joint Information Systems Committee
  • 26
  • Transcript

    • 1. Bouncing, Squirreling and Other Behaviors of Digital Information Seekers Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist Timothy J. Dickey, Ph.D. Post-Doctoral Researcher OCLC Research Charleston Conference November 4, 2010 #chsconf10-connaway
    • 2. Towards a Profile of the Researcher of Today: What Can We Learn from JISC Projects? Digital Information Seekers: Report of findings from selected OCLC, JISC & RIN User Behaviour Projec Funded by JISC Analysis of 12 user behaviour studies • Conducted in US and UK • Published within last 5 years • Synthesis • Better understand user information-seeking behaviour • Identify issues for development of user-focused services and systems
    • 3. “The majority of researchers in all disciplines have adapted readily to the widespread availability of digital content, accessible directly from their desktops.” (Consortium of University Research Libraries, and Research Information Network. 2007. Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services: A report. London: Research Information Network and Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL), p. 23) Common Findings: User Behaviors
    • 4. Common Findings: User Behaviors • Convenience dictates choice between physical & virtual library • Very little time using content • “Squirreling” of downloads • Prefer quick chunks of information • Visit only a few minutes • Use basic search
    • 5. • Use snippets from e-books • View only a few pages • Short visits • Simple searching of Google-like interfaces • Power browsing • Value human resources Common Findings: User Behaviors
    • 6. Common Findings: The Library • = Collections of books • Desire Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) • More digital content = Better • Use for research • Use less since Internet available • Value databases & other online sources
    • 7. Common Findings: The Library Electronic databases not perceived as library sources • Frustration with locating and accessing full-text copies Criticize physical library & traditional services • Faculty praise physical collection
    • 8. Common Findings: E-journals • A “critical part“ of contemporary research environment • Downloads doubled since 2003 • ROI very good • Downloads correlated to • Institution’s scholarly record • Ph.D. awards • Grant income
    • 9. Common Findings: User Literacy Skills Information literacy skills • Lacking • Not kept pace with digital literacy Researchers self-taught & confident
    • 10. Common Findings: The Web Search engine first choice • Starting point • Easy and convenient to use • Quick searches to become familiar with subjects Rate search engines better lifestyle fit than libraries Trust Google to understand
    • 11. Common Findings: The Search • Search strategies differ by context • Database interfaces hinder access • Desire enhanced functionality & content to evaluate resources • Prefer natural language
    • 12. Common Findings: The Catalog “It is very clear that Google has emerged as a real force in the accessing and discovery of research content which is rivalling university library catalogues.” (Hampton-Reeves, Stuart, Claire Mashiter, Jonathan Westaway, Peter Lumsden, Helen Day, Helen Hewerston, and Anna Hart. 2009. Students’ use of research content in teaching and learning: A report of the Joint Information Systems Council (JISC), p. 30)
    • 13. Common Findings: The Catalog • Library OPACs difficult to use • Do not understand what resources available in libraries • Cannot distinguish between databases held by a library & other online sources
    • 14. Common Findings: The Catalog Search behaviors vary by discipline Desire seamless process from D2D • Sciences most satisfied • Social Sciences & Arts & Humanities have serious gaps • Foreign language materials • Multi-author collections • Journal back files • Lack of specialist search engines
    • 15. Common Findings: The Catalog Make results obviously relevant Catalog should contain helps for navigation & evaluation of sources “Use weighting in the search algorithm.” • Expect enhanced content • Provide advanced search option & facets • Mixed reaction of social features (Calhoun, Karen, et al. 2009. Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC, p. 14)
    • 16. Common Findings: The Catalog “Refine down” from large result lists More full-text digital content
    • 17. Access! Access! Access! “The end user’s experience of the delivery of wanted items is as important, if not more important, than his or her discovery experience.” Calhoun, Karen, et al. 2009. Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC p. v.
    • 18. Common Findings: Metadata • Inadequately cataloged resources result in underuse • Library ownership of sources essential data element • Differences exist between the catalog data quality priorities of users & librarians
    • 19. Contradictory Findings • “Google generation” • Search engine speed • Support for library OPAC advanced search options & social features
    • 20. Conclusions • Simple searches & power browsing • “Squirreling” of downloads • Natural language • Convenience very important • Human resources valued • D2D of full-text digital content desired • Transparency of ranking results • Evaluative information included in catalog • More robust metadata
    • 21. Implications for Librarians • Serve different constituencies • Adapt to changing user behaviors • Offer services in multiple formats • Provide seamless access to digital content • Create metadata based on user needs • Advertise resources, brand, & value
    • 22. Implications for Library Systems Build on & integrate search engine features Provide search help at time of need • Chat & IM help during search Adopt user-centered development approach
    • 23. “Who has the most scientific knowledge of large-scale organization, collection, and access to information? Librarians! A librarian can take a book, put it somewhere, and then guarantee to find it again.” Peter Bol, Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilization (Shaw, Jonathan. 2010. Gutenberg: Harvard’s libraries deal with disruptive change. Harvard Magazine, May-June, p. 36.)
    • 24. What Does This Mean for Libraries? • Keep talking • Keep moving • Keep the gates open • Keep it simple
    • 25. Notes Connaway, L.S., & Dickey, T.J. (2010). Digital information seekers: Report of findings from selected OCLC, RIN, and JISC user behavior projects. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/rep orts/2010/digitalinformationseekerreport.pdf Funded by JISC Project Web Site URL: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/reports/2010/digital informationseekers.aspx
    • 26. Questions & Comments Lynn Silipigni Connaway connawal@oclc.org Timothy J. Dickey dickeyt@oclc.org