Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Faculty Information-Seeking Behaviour in the Changing ICT Environment: A Study of Commerce Colleges in Mumbai

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Faculty Information-Seeking Behaviour in the Changing ICT Environment: A Study of Commerce Colleges in Mumbai

Article excerpt

Introduction

The kind of information required by the user, methods adopted in searching information, environment affected, time spent, problems faced and solutions made, the satisfaction/dissatisfaction arising from the information gathered and the relationship of the user with the system--all come under purview of a user study. A user study is the means for systematic examination of the characteristics of information behaviour of the users.

Progress in information technology has offered today's information seekers different opportunities to access the information resources in variety of formats, including commonly-available electronic information sources, such as CD-ROMs, databases, Web-OPACs, and the Internet. In some instances these are replacing the print-based information sources as the primary media for the storage and communication of recorded information.

The increase in information available on the Web has affected information-seeking behavior, with many types of information in many different locations all available in one place. (1) Information-seeking behaviour involves personal reasons for seeking information, the kinds of information which are being sought, and the ways and sources with which needed information is being sought. (2) ICT has caused changes in the representation of knowledge, from analog to digital. The shift has led to:

* New information formats: Multimedia information can be created, stored and distributed in digital format as CD-ROM or on hard disks, removable hard disks (external hard disk, pen drives) flash cards and other digital storage media.

* New ways of distributing and accessing information : Tools to access information, fulltext and multimedia information can be accessed from remote sites via telecommunications facilities.

* New information services: Tools to access information can be used even from remote sites via LANs and WANs

Information-Seeking Behaviour

The need for information is one of the cognitive needs of humankind. Information need causes information-seeking behaviour and these concepts complement one another. Information need and information-seeking behaviour are affected by many factors. Information -seeking behaviour is expressed in various forms, from reading printed material to research and experimentation. Scholars, students, and faculty actively seek current information from the various sources available in libraries, e.g., encyclopedias, journals and, more currently, electronic media. (3)

Information -seeking behavior dependes on the reasons for seeking information and the starting knowledge of the individual. Marchionini describes it as, "Information-seeking is a special case of problem solving. It includes recognizing and interpreting the information problem, establishing a plan of search, conducting the search, evaluating the results, and if necessary, iterating through the process again." (4)

Numerous theoretical treatments have been proposed to characterize the information-seeking behaviour, which is complex cognitive process (Belkin et al., 1982, Kuhlthau, 1991, Marchionini, 1995, Saracevic, 1997, Sutcliffe and Ennis, 1998, Jarvelin and Ingwersen, 2004). Information seeking is a basic activity indulged in by all people and manifested through a particular behaviour. It is also an aspect of scholarly work of most of the academic librarians who strive to develop collections, services, and organizational structures that facilitate information seeking.

Review of Literature

The literature review plays a very important role in the research process. It is extremely difficult to review the entire body of user research. Many significant contributions have been made by psychologists, sociologists, behavioural scientists and others in addition to library and information science personnel. As a result, the literature is scattered across many disciplines and wide-ranging resources. …

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