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Information seeking behavior of Greek astronomers


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Presentation in the First Workshop on Digital Information Management. The workshop is organized by the Laboratory on Digital Libraries and Electronic Publication, Department of Archives and Library Sciences, Ionian University, Greece and aims to create a venue for unfolding research activity on the general field of Information Science. The workshop features sessions for the dissemination of the research results of the Laboratory members, as well as tutorial sessions on interesting issues.

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Information seeking behavior of Greek astronomers

  1. 1. Information seeking behaviourof Greek astronomersHara Brindesi*, Sarantos Kapidakis**Laboratory on Digital Libraries and ElectronicPublishing, Archive and Library Sciences Department, Ionian University 1st Workshop on Digital Information Management
  2. 2. ContentsDefinitionsAims of Information seeking behaviour studiesAims of the studyPopulationP l tiMethodologyMain resultsConclusionsBibliography
  3. 3. DefinitionsInformation behaviourInformation seeking behaviourInformation search behaviour Wilson s Wilson’s nested model
  4. 4. Information seeking behaviour studies Aims Evaluation of information collections (Broadus (Broadus,  1980, Christiansen, Davis, & Reedscott, 1983,  Subrahmanyam, 1983). Improvement of Information systems (Ellis,  1993, Kuhlthau, 1993, Marchionini, 1995) 1993 Kuhlthau 1993 Marchionini 1995) Information literacy seminars (Hepworth Μ and (Hepworth, Μ and  Wema, Ε. 2006, Pinto, María and Sales, Dora 2007,  Walker, J. R., Moen, William E., 2001).
  5. 5. Aims of the studyOur main aims were to investigate three aspects of the Greek astronomers’ information seeking behaviour astronomers behaviour.I. The importance they place in keeping up to date with current developments. developmentsII. The methods they depend on for keeping up to date. dateIII. The information sources they mostly use.
  6. 6. Further aims of the studyThe study uses an intradisciplinary approach in order to investigate: similarities and diff i il iti d differences in information seeking i i f ti ki behaviour among astronomers with different characteristics, characteristics including academic status, age, status age subfield of astronomy or affiliated institution.
  7. 7. Population106 astronomers of the area of Athens Professors of the Department of Physics and Astronomy of University of Athens Athens University PhD and MSc students Academy of Athens researchers Athens National Observatory researchers
  8. 8. Methodology13 face-to-face semi-structured interviewsAnalysis of the interviewsOnline questionnaire which was filled in questionnaire,by 73 recipients
  9. 9. Main resultsI. Interest in keeping up to date with current developments d l t
  10. 10. The rapid awareness for new papers is absolutely important for the majorityof the astronomers Interest for rapid awareness 60,0 52,1 50,0 40,0 40 0 A little important 26,8 Somewhat important 30,0 18,3 Quite important 20,0 Absolutely important 10,0 2,8 0,0 1
  11. 11. The interest for rapid awareness is apparent for the professorsand researchers less for the PHD students and even less for researchers,the MSc students. Rapid awareness/Status A little important Somew hat important80,0% Quite important Absolutely important70,0%60,0%60 0%50,0%40,0%30,0%20,0%10,0% 0,0% Prof essors Researcher MSC PHD
  12. 12. Percentage distribution of importance of keeping up- to-date to date by subfield of astronomy 100% 100%100% 90% 90,50% 80% 70% 76,90% 76 90% 60% 70% 66,70% 50% 60% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% y S1 og ... ics s ol ar ics of ys sm y St y m ph y ys m ph Co no no ph e so tro ac tro tro ilo as Sp as As ph ic al ct d ic an la m ga na ry tra to Dy s Ex Hi
  13. 13. How many hours per weekdo astronomers spend for keeping up-to-date? Astronomers in Greece spend on average 7 hours per week for keeping up-to-date. Professors and researchers show greater interest in keeping in touch with current developments in comparison to PhD and MSc students. Academy of Athens researchers spend more hours per week for keeping up-to-date, in comparison to the scholars of Athens University and The Athens National Observatory. There are no great differences among various age g p , except for g g g groups, p the groups “18-24” and “25-34” that seem to show lower interest in comparison to the rest.
  14. 14. Hours/week (on average) for keeping up to date up-to-date in relation to the subfield of astronomy 16,00 16 00 14,33 14,00 14 33 14 00 14,00 12,00 10,00 7,30 7,00 8,00 6,00 5 90 5,90 5 08 6,00 5,08 4,00 2,00 0,00 gy .. ics y y ics rs o lo o f. ys n om n om ys St a ph ro ro h sm phy e st st op Co o c a a tr os pa al tic As il S ic c ph am g ala d n an Dy tr a or y Ex st Hi
  15. 15. Main resultsII. Methods used for keeping up-to-date
  16. 16. Methods used for keeping up to date up-to-date 1,0% 2,9% Conferences 4,1% Coleagues 5,4% Online searches 13,7% Seminars 5,4% 13,7% Browse ADS9,3% Browse arXiv Browse e-journals 12,0% ADS email alerts 10,5% 10,7% 11,5% Journals email alerts Newsletters Browse print journals Publishers catalogs
  17. 17. Main resultsIII. Information sources usage
  18. 18. 0,00% 10,00% 20,00% 30,00% 40,00% 50,00% 60,00% 70,00% 80,00% G o o g le 90,00%88,20% G o o g le S ch o la r 29,70% AD S 67,60%E le ctr o n i W e b site s ic r e fe r e 64,20% n c e m a te e ri a l P r in te d r e fe r e n ce e m a te ria l 20,60% A r X iv E le ctr o n 60 90%58 60% 60,90%58,60% ic jo u r n a ls 55,40% P rin te d jo n u rn a ls 21 70% 21,70% C ita tio n s 54,30% P r in te d b ook s E le ctr o n 38,80% ic b o o ks , C o lle a g u es 31,80% 25,40% O PAC s D B s w ith 22 10% 22,10% o b se r v a tio n s O cc u p a ti 17,10% o nal m e e tiin g s IS I W e b o f S cie n e ce Sources usage at least twice a week 7,40% We b of K n o wle d g e 11,60% 4,30%
  19. 19. Main conclusions concerning usage of information sources ADS is used by everyone in our sample Google is used by everyone in our sample. Google Scholar i not used so much, mainly when it G l S h l is t d h i l h is compared to the use of Google. Databases such as “ISI Web of Science or “Web of ISI Science” Web Knowledge” are not so popular among the Greek astronomers. Wikipedia is increasingly used. The use of printed materials as well as the use of libraries have been decreased to the minimum With the only exception of the printed books that are more popular than those in an electronic format.
  20. 20. Main resultsInformation sources usage vs. academic status Journals and books in printed format, as well as Google Scholar are used mainly by professors. Books in electronic format are used mainly by PhD and MSc students. students Citations are used heavily by researchers. Unlike the majority of astronomers, MSc students don’t use ADS neither do they use arXiv database heavily.
  21. 21. Main resultsInformation sources usage vs. subfield of astronomyy Scholars occupied with the subfield of “dynamic astronomy don t astronomy” don’t use arXiv org so heavily heavily. Cosmologists use ADS less than the scientists of the other subfields. Observations Observations΄ databases as well as the printed reference material are used mainly by the scholars of the subfield of “Stars”.
  22. 22. Main resultsInformation sources usage vs. age Astronomers of 55 years old and above, rarely use the eprint archive, as well as electronic library catalogs and electronic books. The same age category uses mostly "Google Scholar and Google Scholar" printed journals. The age category of “18-24” uses mostly G f “18 2 ” Google, websites, electronic reference material and printed books.
  23. 23. Main resultsMost important sources of information in relation to information needs Observation needs: Observations΄ databases, ADS. Research needs: ADS,, electronic journals ADS ArXiv org However, Athens University scholars favour Google as a source of information. Current developments needs:, ADS However, A h H Athens U i University scholars as well as A d i h l ll Academy of A h f Athens researchers f h favour the use of printed books. Teaching needs:, Websites, printed books However, Academy of Athens researchers as well as those of The National Observatory favour Google as a source of information. Writing needs (articles, books, ADS,, Web of knowledge, g ( , , ) , g, g , OPACs. Personal information needs: Websites, Google,, Wikipedia. Investigation needs for a subject area not well known : Wikipedia, Websites. However, Academy of Athens researchers favour printed books.
  24. 24. ConclusionsStatistical results revealed that participants΄ information seekingbehaviour is significantly affected by variables such as academic status, g y y ,age, subfield of astronomy or affiliated institution.Usage of printed materials as well as usage of libraries have beendecreased t th minimum, as astronomers currently use, mainly,d d to the i i t tl i lelectronic resources.The rapid awareness of new developments is absolutely critical for themajority of them.As far as the resources and methods participants use for keeping up todate, there is high reliance on resources entailing human contact (e.g.seminars, colleagues, etc.).
  25. 25. BibliographyBroadus, R.N. (1980).Broadus R N (1980) Use studies of library collections. Library collectionsResources & Technical Services, 24(4), 317–324.Christiansen, D.E., Davis, C.R., & Reedscott, J. (1983). Guide tocollection evaluation through use and user studies Library Resources & studies.Technical Services, 27(4), 432–440.Ellis, D. (1993). Modeling the information-seeking patterns of academicresearchers: A grounded theory approach. The Library Quarterly, 63(4) approach Quarterly 63(4),469–486.Hepworth, Μ and Wema, Ε. (2006) "The design and implementation ofan information literacy training course that integrated Information andLibrary Science conceptions of information literacy, educational theoryand information behaviour research: a Tanzanian pilot study" ITALICS,Vol. 5 Νο1, [Avalilable at: (Date of access: 1/07/08)]Kuhlthau, C.C. (1993). Seeking meaning: A process approach to libraryand information services. Norwood, NJ: Ablex
  26. 26. BibliographyMarchionini, G. (1995).Marchionini G (1995) Information seeking in electronic environment. environmentCambridge: Cambridge University PressPinto, María and Sales, Dora (2007) A research case study for user-centred information literacy instruction: information behaviour oftranslation trainees Journal of Information Science, 33 (5) 2007, pp.531–550Subrahmanyam, T. (1983). A study of information seeking behaviour information-seekingof doctoral candidates in social sciences. Herald of Library Science,22(3), 200–204.Walker, J. R., Moen, William E., (2001) Identifying and CategorizingInformation Seeking Behaviors in the Networked Environment: AnExploratory Study of Young Adults, School of Library and InformationSciences University of North Texas, Final Report. [Avalilable at : (Date of access :15/05/08)]Wilson, Thomas D, (2000). Human information behavior, InformingScience. Available at