Book Review of Reading Matters: What Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community

Reading Matters: What Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community by Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer (2006) showcases a compilation of research about readers and the role of libraries in promoting literacy and reading. This book addresses the myths and histories of reading. The purpose of Reading Matters is to provide insight into the role that reading plays in the lives of children, young adults, and adults. This book was written to appeal to an audience of library staff, parents, teachers, as well as students in library information science programs. As a result of the research compiled in this book, the reader will comprehensively understand the varying dynamics of reading. This information can then be effectively relayed to library trustees, parents, and others who seek to understand how and why people read.

Background Information

Reading Matters primarily focuses on the role that reading plays in different people’s lives. Ross, McKechnie, and Rothbauer use an abundant amount of research to show the role that reading plays in the lives of children, young adults and adults and the effect that this may have on their lives. Ross, McKechnie, and Rothbauer are all professors at the University of Western Ontario, and all have doctorate degrees in Information and Library Science. Working together on this book, each author brings a unique specialization to the text that helps the reader understand the different aspects of their individual research.

Catherine Sheldrick Ross’ research interests involve the reading experience, the reference transaction, and information seeking and use. Her research concentration focuses on reading as it affects the lives of adults. She continues to study the pleasure reading habits of adult readers, and “at last count had more than 220 open-ended interviews with avid readers” (Ross, McKechnie & Rothbauer, 2006, p.x). Ross has also been awarded grants for her research in qualitative studies of reading. Ross has written two other books, Conducting the Reference Interview and Communicating Professionally. Along with having her books published, Ross has been published in scholarly journals such as School Library Media Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, Public Libraries, and Research Quarterly in reference to her research with reading and its effect on adults. Ross’ extensive knowledge on the effect of reading in relation to the adult population has made her a valuable resource for this book.

Lynne McKechnie has experience both in research and in teaching, but her expertise focuses on the effects of reading in relation to children. McKechnie, before teaching at the University of Western Ontario, was a children’s librarian for twenty years. Specifically, her research focuses on the intersection of public libraries, children and reading. McKechnie (2013) focuses on “bringing children’s voices into the discussion and inquiry” of reading. She has been published in such scholarly journals as Children and Libraries, Information Research: An International Journal, Canadian Journal of Library & Information Science, and Library Trends. McKechnie’s experience in the role that reading plays in the lives of children qualifies her as an expert resource on the subjects relayed in Reading Matters.

Paulette M. Rothbauer’s research focuses on the effect of reading on young adults. Rothbauer (2013) stated her interest “in the modes and methods of access to reading materials as well as social and cultural barriers to such access” for young adults. She continues to research the roles bookstores and information communication technologies have on young adults in relation to reading. Rothbauer has written the books Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Theories of Information Behavior: A Researcher’s Guide. She has also been published in such scholarly journals as the Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, Library Quarterly, and Canadian Journal of Information & Library Science. Rothbauer’s focus on the role reading has on young adults and the research she has conducted on this topic qualifies her as a valuable resource for this book.

There are numerous books and research written on the subject of the role of reading in people’s lives. Some of these books include The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research by Stephen D. Krashen, Literacy and Libraries: Learning from Case Studies by Graceanne Decandido, Readers and Reading in America: Historical and Critical Perspectives by Carl F. Kaestle, and How Texts Teach What Readers Learn by Margaret Meek. These books specifically focus on reading as it affects people. Out of the numerous authors on the subject, Margaret Meek plays a significant role in guiding the focus of Reading Matters because she is the leading expert referred to throughout the book. Margaret Meek’s work on the subject had inspired Ross, McKechnie and Rothbauer to further research how reading affects the lives of children, young adults, and adults.

Summary

The book Reading Matters comprises of four chapters, each with a different focus. The first chapter discusses reading itself, predominantly the history of reading. The other three chapters detail findings based on age groups: chapter two focuses on children’s reading, chapter three discusses young adult’s reading, and chapter four examines adult reading. The book ends with a concluding statement summarizing how the book’s findings on reading are related to each other. The chapters are broken into units that include various case studies and comments related to the section topic. Additionally, all sections have various segmented information to provide guidelines, suggestions, and additional readings, titled “What libraries Can Do”, “To Read More”, and “Research Tells Us” (Ross et al, 2006).

The authors of the book begin chapter one by questioning the idea that reading is a dying art form. To illustrate, there are some myths about reading such as “people don’t read as much as they used to, men and boys don’t read, and real reading is a solitary affair” (Ross et al, 2006, p. 17). The authors debate these statements by presenting the results of research that suggest reading is an increasing trend and recommending how libraries can further help. Core findings from studies presented in this chapter create a foundation for the rest of the book. These core findings include that reading has many levels of proficiency, takes practice to develop, and has to be fun while practicing (Ross et al, 2006). These findings are stressed as significant resources for information professionals, parents, and community members.

Chapter two discusses children’s reading and begins by providing a summary of research of children’s reading. This research includes large-scale national survey results about children’s reading trends by countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, and England, and international comparisons between many countries (Ross et al, 2006).  The authors talk about the negative attitudes toward reading, the age gap, and ELL students reading gap respectively. Ross et al (2006) suggest that reading among children depends on very personal preferences. The authors also discuss the factors that foster reading in childhood. Not surprisingly, children from families that are familiar with reading or story telling tend to become avid readers. Through a study conducted by Ross in 1995, it was found that children love to read series books for pleasure (as cited in Ross et al., 2006, p. 82). With various studies providing corroborating research, the book suggests that series books help children to develop key literature practices such as “making patterns, putting challenges stories together, and extrapolating meaning” (Ross et al., 2006, p. 84). The book also provides insight on how to fix the reading performance and achievement gap found between boys and girls.

Chapter three changes its population to young adults’ reading, and further clarifies some of the myths concerning them. The authors dispute the perception that young adults do not read because it is not as much fun or as engaging as many popular multimedia, and that “real reading means the reading of certain kinds of books” (Ross et al, 2006, p. 102). The National Education Association survey challenges many of these assumptions, finding that more than half of young adults polled read more than ten books a year (Ross et al., 2006, p. 104). The book provides other evidence that young adults like to read and choose to read for pleasure, and reading relates to other leisure activities of young people. Additionally, young adult’s reading material is not limited to books, but extends to other medium such as magazines, newspapers, comics, and graphic novels. Ross et al (2006) discusses how reading is important in helping young adults with understanding their place in the world, how libraries can support young adults’ literacy, and social aspects of reading.

In chapter four, the book focuses on adults’ readers using different scales such as age, demographics, ethnicity, education, occupation, gender, and income (Ross et al, 2006). Using tables, Ross et al. (2006) provide statistical information on the adult reader population, showing relationships between early reading and current reading, reasons for reading, and the types of books read. From this data, the authors suggest that educational level is the greatest gauge of adult reading (Ross et al., 2006). The book also examines the emotional and social aspects associated with adults’ reading. Positive aspects such as pleasure, the feeling of reward, and self-development are emotional motivations for reading. Social aspects are suggested through the many different ways to select books, the role of the best seller list for shaping reading habits, and reading as a social activity.

The concluding statement summarizes the authors findings related to reading for pleasure. Ross et al. (2006) reassure readers, librarians, teachers and parents that their efforts to include fiction and nontraditional resources as reading material have beneficial results and need no apology.

Evaluation (1000 words)

Goal Achievement

Reading Matters proposes that all reading, no matter the genre or type of text, builds reading skills. Ross et al (2006) suggest “through reading you discover who you are” (p. 243) and argue for readers to have varied reading experiences to expand this discovery process. Reading Matters presents a comprehensive view on reading historically, and presents different viewpoints on the act of reading. In the beginning of the text the author states, “This book was written for people who are interested in reading and in the role that reading plays in people’s lives” (Ross et al., 2006, p. ix). This book thoroughly described the role reading has played in people’s lives from childhood to adulthood, and also discusses the ways in which reading can affect people’s lives. This book also discusses the why of people reading, and gives sufficient data to support its results.

Reading Matters achieved its goal of providing research about reading, libraries, and community effectively. The authors state, “The goal of this book is to provide a map to the research findings, organized according to themes that are central to people interested in the intersection of reading, readers, and libraries” (Ross et al., 2006, p. ix). The book organizes the research into four categories encompassing readers from the childhood years through to adult years. The compilation of research provides valuable insight into why and how readers read.

Overall, this book can be a good starting point for anyone who is interested in literacy. By reading this book, a person should be able to explain why reading is important in one’s life with sound theoretical evidences and study cases. This book could be used by the educators in the library and information science, but also by parents, teachers, librarians and readers.

Suggested Possibilities

Several possibilities are offered throughout the book. Ross et al. (2006) call for libraries to expand collection development policies to include varying resource types. The authors utilize research and case studies to corroborate their suggestions, directly targeting these at librarians, teachers, parents and other readers. The research not only provides rationale for reading, but also suggests what libraries can do to support and promote literacy for different populations. The book provides tips and suggestions for further research and reading by including reading lists and ‘what to do’ sections. The case studies presented in the book offer assistance to other researchers interested in literacy for different populations. The lists and suggested reading offer help for readers seeking specific solutions to the various reading dilemmas discussed.

The authors suggest the possibility that the number of readers is increasing, and not decreasing as many people assume. Ross et al. (2006) report that Americans “spend on average 7 to 10 hours a week of leisure time on reading and say that reading is their second most popular leisure activity” (p. 2). The authors show, through research, that while many assume people are not reading because there are so many other things to do, new mediums for reading has actually increased literacy. Reading Matters suggests that reading and readers are not declining. Librarians, parents, and teachers should be encouraged that their support of reading is making a difference.

Another possibility suggested by this book is that reading is an important part of people’s lives emotionally and in forming their identities. Ross et al. (2006) suggest that “for children, memories of reading closely connect the experience of story with family scenes of comfort and caring” (p.152). This shows that not only can a person have an emotional connection with the text of a book, but also with the experience that went along with reading the book. This book gives several examples of that emotional connection with the text, along with the suggestion that reading plays an important role in our identity. Ross et al. (2006) state that reading books for pleasure “helps us understand who we are and what our place in the world is and might become” (p.115). The social structures shown in books and the relation of the reader within that context helps the reader understand more about themselves as they read.

Missing factors

            The most obvious component missing from the text was the aspects related to reading for a specific purpose. The authors discuss pleasure reading extensively, however little is discussed on quality or purposeful reading. Many readers research topics for educational purposes, or to fill an information need that is not necessarily pleasurable. This book also largely leaves out the impact that non-fiction text has on readers. The book discusses the history of literature and reading, and the importance of fiction. It briefly mentions non-fiction, but there is a wide variety of people that prefer reading non-fiction. However, how non-fiction plays a role in their lives is excluded from the authors’ analysis.

Digital media is also not discussed in Reading Matters. Even though this book was published in 2006, there was still a growing population of e-readers and digital texts in the world, and this book could have discussed this type of reading as well. Even though the text of an e-book and print are the same, the experience of the reading process is different. The book could have included more on the influence of digital media and how these technologies affect reading habits.

Reading Matters also left out the impact of what children read, which could show the effects of different types of books that include violence, action, and adventure. This section of the book focuses mostly on a child’s achievement as a reader. However, avid reading in children may not always lead to growth of the whole child if the content the child is reading is having an adverse impact. With this in mind, research on the quality of what a child reads, not just the quantity would have been beneficial.

Points that are not convincing

There were few points that were not convincing and lacked sufficient research to be persuasive. Topics such as identity development, gender differences, and forming reading habits through writing have inadequate supporting evidence in the book to be convincing.  Ross et al. (2006) state, “You are what you read and through reading you discover who you are” (Ross et al., 2006, p. 243). However a lack of reading experience does not indicate an inability to form an identity or develop character. The authors also state, “Reading then helps us understand who we are and what our place in the world is and might become” (Ross, McKechnie & Rothbauer, 2006, p. 115), but there is no research to support the idea that only people who read know their place in the world. It is not convincing that the construction of one’s identity is only as a result of what is being read. While a reader might identify with a character or a situation that is being read, the text does not provide research indicating the development of an individual’s identity is only as a result of reading habits.

The issue of gender is also not convincing in relation to the reading habits of children. While there are differences between male and female readers, especially in youth, stereotypes of these differences have shifted and are not as prevalent as they once were. Ross et al. (2006) state statistics about boys and learning disabilities, but that does not discuss the role of reading in an adolescent boys’ life (p. 88). This section also discusses the types of stories that boys and girls enjoy reading, which is dynamic and subject to change. Many girls enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy in social settings, while boys can also enjoy reading fairy tales. Statistics based on a study of kindergarten and first grade students does not accurately reflect the reading tastes of older children (Ross et al, 2006, p. 89). Children of that young age could be choosing the books for themselves, but more likely parents or teachers suggest specific readings that could influence their future choices.

Personal experiences related to reading

As a group, there are varied and diverse experiences related to reading. Each group member has discovered a love of reading, and eagerly looks forward to sharing the adventures and trials in reading with others through librarianship. Although each person’s experiences in reading are different, each is equally valid and worthwhile.

Group Member A read every book she encountered while growing up, and was frequently gifted with books from family members. One such gift included a collection of fifty classical literature books, which she voraciously read. This distressed her mother, who tried to blame Member A’s need for glasses on reading. After reading the whole collection in a two month timespan, she continued reading books and is now working on her doctorate degree in library science.

Group Member B (Stacy Derleth) exclusively read romantic fiction as a young adult. The attraction of a guaranteed happy ever after would consistently bring her back to this genre. Occasionally, she would attempt reading classical literature or nonfiction, but usually could not summon the enthusiasm to finish reading the book. This experience in reading gave her the practice needed to be able to focus on and comprehend academic articles for her graduate studies in library science and information technology.

Group Member C frequently reflects on how time changes the perspective of a story for her. She recently reread a fictional story after an extended lapse in time, and it provided a different meaning to her on the second reading. Ross et al. (2006) discuss the “Reader Response Theory” (p. 50) in which the focus of the reading experience is the emotions of the reader. These emotions are based on the past experiences of the reader, evolving over time and affecting the emotional response of reading.

Group Member D shares her reading experience with other people through book clubs. She has experienced the validation a book club can give to time spent reading for pleasure and finds book clubs help in making different book choices than her normal selections. As part of these book communities, she also can look forward to the social aspects of regular meetings and time together with friends.

Conclusion

Reading Matters successfully compiles research about reading, and provides insight into the development of reading skill. The progression of the book from child to young adult to adult in the development of reading skill is carefully organized and logical. As an appeal to librarians, parents, teachers, and readers everywhere to encourage reading of whatever genre and material that is interesting and fun, Reading Matters is successful in convincing the value of pleasure reading. Any reader of this book will emerge from its pages with a clear understand of how important it is to read for pleasure.

References

McKechnie, L. (2013). Research Interests. Retrieved from http://www.fims.uwo.ca/peopleDirectory/faculty/fulltimefaculty/full_time_faculty_profil e.htm?PeopleId=130 [O1]

Rothbauer, P.M. (2013). Research. Retrieved from http://www.fims.uwo.ca/peopleDirectory/faculty/fulltimefaculty/full_time_faculty_profil e.htm?PeopleId=545 [O2]

Ross, C.S., McKechnie, L. & Rothbauer, P.M. (2006). Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals abut Reading, Libraries, and Community. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.


Leadership Discussion 4

Leadership Discussion 4

What is one action you can take to be more effective as a leader to improve your credibility and influence?

The one action a leader can do to be more effective is to “say what you are going to do and you do what you say” (Miller, 2008). Being up front enables followers to understand what is being done, and then they see that you are capable of following through with the action.  I have had several managers through the years who said they were going to do something, and it never was done. Those managers lost credibility and influence with me, because I came to understand that I could not count on them doing what they said they would do. As Cohen and Bradford (2005) said, “Influence requires considerable relationship building and maintenance.”  It takes time to develop credibility and influence, and even a leader who has credibility and influence with their followers can have trouble if they start to disappoint them. As Lloyd (2011) suggested, if in doubt, a leader would be better off to not “agree to do a task unless you are absolutely certain you will follow through.”

Cohen, A. & Bradford, D. (2005). Influence without authority. Retrieved from http://www.influencewithoutauthority.com/descriptionofcomplexcases.html

Lloyd, J. (2011). Impressing executives: four ways to build credibility and influence. Merit Resource Group. Retrieved from http://merithr.haleymail.com/i/24266749l1

Miller, J. (2008). Ask Jo: establishing credibility and influence. Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. Retrieved from http://anitaborg.org/news/archive/ask-jo-establishing-credibility-and-influence/

Researching Incoming Graduate Students’ Information Behavior

Researching Incoming Graduate Students’ Information Behavior

Within the first few months of graduate study, the quality of my research greatly improved. My information behavior methods have become more sophisticated, and I now use previously unknown academically rich resources. Before starting the semester, citation mapping and chaining were not part of my research arsenal, and I never used advanced academic catalogs, such as the Web of Science. Certain factors contributed to my ignorance, including extended pauses in my academic career, being an older adult student, and unfamiliarity with university resources. The most astounding discovery from this information literacy growth has been the ironic realization that when entering the graduate program, I believed myself competent in information literacy, only to discover how much I was missing. This experience created an interest to learn about the information behavior of other incoming graduate students, and who or what forms their information behavior.

 Literature Review

Research abilities and information literacy skills

There have been several studies exploring the abilities of incoming graduate students, and these studies have evaluated whether incoming graduate students were prepared to accomplish the rigorous research required for their programs. Incoming graduate students have unique information needs due to the gap in expectations between perceived and actual research expertise. Monroe-Gulick and Petr (2012) considered that gap large enough to suggest the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) re-evaluate their graduate student standards, and use the current graduate student standards for undergraduate instruction. They suggested graduate student instruction should focus on the research process instead of general information literacy.

Chen and Lin concluded in 2011 that graduate students confuse familiarity with the internet for information literacy. Through their study at Carnegie Mellon University, George et al. (2006) found resource searching through internet search engines such as Google and Wikipedia were the most popular methods used by graduate students. Allen and Weber (2012) analyzed reference lists and found the journals being used by incoming graduate students were not the best sources for research studies, with students lacking the skill to distinguish the difference between evidence-based resources from opinion and general information resources.

The transition between undergraduate student and graduate student is abrupt, no matter if there is a lapse between enrollment, and a lack of information literacy skills during this process can hinder the transition. Students returning to school for graduate course work encounter challenges in academic difficulty and technological advancements (Allen and Weber, 2012). Chu and Law (2008) determined that the skill of graduate students does not meet the levels that are required for graduate research, and information search training is still needed at the graduate level to help students become competent at information searching.

Conway (2011) found the issue of students completing undergraduate study without the skills they need for graduate study troubling. Her study to determine the different in literacy skills between graduate and undergraduate students indicated the difference is “hardly overwhelming” (Conway, 2011, pg. 132). Undergraduate students typically have research topics assigned and research methods do not need to be extensive to fulfill course requirements. In contrast, graduate students are expected to determine their own research topics and to locate the appropriate research materials to study and substantiate ideas. This methodology is supported by Khosrowjerdi (2011), who found prior knowledge of subjects reduced barriers to information seeking during his study of graduate students at Tehran University. Students learning about a topic in class and then researching that topic have different research needs than graduate students selecting a topic for research, particularly for thesis papers. The research required for graduate study is more intense and self-directed, requiring higher levels of information literacy than undergraduate course work.

Guidance sources for research resources

Studies have investigated the people and sources graduate students utilize the most. Graduate students often rely on faculty to determine accepted standards of research resources within their specific academic program (George et al, 2006). Students utilize the resources suggested by faculty, limiting where research resources originate. Faculty mentoring and guidance during the research process influences students to use specific databases and particular information sources (Chen and Lin, 2010). Chen and Lin (2010) suggest faculty is the most influential in encouraging information literacy methods to incoming graduate students. It is during the initial stages of a research project that a graduate student depends the most on faculty and faculty advisors for research guidance (Barrett, 2005).

Interestingly, Barrett describes the lack of librarian guidance used by graduate students. He reported students agree on the value of librarians on locating materials, but otherwise they do not typically use librarians as a guidance source. In a longitudinal study, Rempel (2010) found graduate students did not think librarians could help them because they were not familiar and trained in their specific field. Graduate students typically do not consider using librarian assistance, and creating a relationship between librarians and students equivalent to that held by faculty has proven challenging (Monroe-Gulick & Petr, 2012). Increased contact between students and librarians will benefit the students’ information literacy skills (Barton et al., 2002).

Rasul and Singh (2010) determined that graduate students want libraries to provide more classes on information literacy, but they failed to mention how the library literacy classes were already being utilized to determine if this was a valid desire on the part of the students. In other studies, students have been surprised to discover information literacy and research classes were available (Sadler and Given, 2007).

Studies in improving information literacy skills

There have been several studies to determine what can be done to improve incoming graduate student’s information literacy skills. Rempel (2010) conducted a longitudinal study where graduate students were oriented by library reference staff on research methods and information literacy skills. These students showed increased research skills, and had greater ease in locating appropriate materials for use in their research. They also reported utilizing new databases and better understanding research resources. Although these students reported positive results, the instance of reference library and orientation use is still infrequent, with most graduate students declining reference librarians’ assistance for their research. Researchers Liu and Winn (2009) speculated that libraries are not promoting the various services offered, causing the students to be unaware the resources are available. This idea was supported by Sadler and Given (2007) when they discussed the affordance theory and how academic librarians should focus on promoting the library by creating a dialogue with students and faculty. Barton et al. (2002) suggested further research should be conducted to determine why students request additional classes and services, but do not take advantage of the classes and resources already available to them. Liu and Winn (2009) presented a study on the use of library services by Chinese graduate students at the University of Windsor. They reported that among the students who reported to have attended library literacy classes, everyone thought the time spent in the class was worth it, and stated the classes were helpful (Liu & Winn, 2009).

Psychological Barriers

Several researchers have studied the possible psychological barriers to incoming graduate becoming proficient in information literacy skills. Onwuegbuzie and Jiao (2004) explored the way anxiety can influence graduate students. Students that experience library anxiety have a difficult time understanding library resources, and have high instances of procrastination (Onwuegbuzie and Jiao, 2004). Anxiety affects research performance by inhibiting students’ ability to concentrate on research material and determining if the materials meet their research needs. Onwuegbuzie and Jiao (2004) suggested anxiety could prevent students from developing satisfactory library research skills due to misunderstanding signs or instructions, or refrain from seeking help.

Another barrier to incoming graduate student acquiring sufficient research skills is the issue of competency. Gross (2005) discusses the overconfidence incoming graduate students experience when entering their master level program. These students are unaware that they do not have the information literacy and research skills needed to successfully complete their programs. Some students are unable to adequately evaluate their work in comparison to other students, causing them to not consider their research inferior (Gross, 2005). This could be an explanation as to why new graduate students are not flooding libraries seeking to learn how to improve their research skills.

Research Questions after Literature Review

How would library orientation increase graduate student literary skills?

1.)  How would library orientation affect graduate student literary and research skills?

2.)  If library orientation is found effective, how would universities offer library orientation?

3.)  How should graduate student library orientation differ from undergraduate library orientations?

4.)  How would the issue of distance learning be addressed in library orientations and information literacy skill instruction?

Overcoming barriers to graduate students seeking reference librarian assistance

1.)  What causes students to have library anxiety?

2.)  How can students overcome anxiety in seeking librarian assistance? What tools do they need for this? (Anxiety-Expectation Mediation)

3.)  Is there a connection between information literacy skills and library anxiety? Do individuals who experience library anxiety have high or low literary and research skills?

4.)  How can incoming graduate students be educated about literary and research skills when they are ignorant of their ignorance? (Competency Theory)

Research Study Purpose

The purpose of this research study would be to answer the question of how incoming graduate students can be educated about library literacy and research skills when they are unaware of their lack of knowledge. These students are experiencing an academic transition requiring more effective and intense research abilities than were required as undergraduate students. Incoming graduate students often experience academic gaps between undergraduate and graduate study causing them to be unfamiliar with current research technology and methods. Students attending universities different than they attended as undergraduate students are unfamiliar with library resources due to being new to the university. This study will evaluate how effectively incoming graduate students evaluate their own library literacy in relation to research, explore their current knowledge of research resources, and their prior use of research assistance.

Study Questions

  • How would you rate your research abilities? (Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent)
  • What print resources do you use for research?
  • What online resources do you use for research?
  • What databases do you use for research?
  • Did you attend this university for an undergraduate degree?
  • Have you been to library orientation for graduate students?
  • Would you participate in a library orientation program for graduate students?

Why or why not?

  • How often have you discussed research goals with reference librarians as an undergraduate student?
  • Do you feel you could instruct others how to research effectively?

Study Methodologies

The research method would utilize currently established university orientation programs to survey incoming graduate students. Universities require students attend orientation prior to starting classes, and often have campus and online sessions. The survey would be distributed during these orientation sessions, and then collected or submitted during the session. An optional longitudinal section could be added to follow up on the initial survey results, with students who attend a library orientation taking the survey again after the library orientation.

Data Analysis

Survey questions would have either yes/no or short answer results. Charts and graphs would be compiled by response to look for commonality and trends. A comparison would be done between the initial self-assessment of research expertise in the first question and the final self-assessment of the ability to instruct others on research in the last question to determine validity of the expressed research expertise. A strong self-rating in the initial self-assessment that is not supported by the ability to teach research skills to another person might indicate a true lack of confidence in research ability. The data compiled from the responses for research resources and databases would support or refute the expressed proficiency. A lack of knowledge of research resources and databases do not exhibit a lack of proficiency, but advanced knowledge of research resources would indicate a higher level of expertise. Survey questions relating to familiarity to the university can be used to determine if students new to the campus are more or less willing to attend library orientation. Results will need to be evaluated to determine if students who have attended the university as undergraduate students respond differently than students new to the university.

If the longitudinal section is supplemented into the study, a comparison between the initial survey responses and the supplemental responses would be done. This would examine whether library orientation had significantly improved library literacy and research capabilities.

Benefits of Applied Research

A new graduate student walks into a library and goes to a database they were introduced to during graduate level library orientation. They enter into the database their research subject and find 100 resources, with at least half of the resources completely meeting the student’s needs at a cursory glance. The student enters in Boolean operators, and the results are refined to 30, with all of those resources seeming to meet the graduate student’s needs. The student is able to locate, obtain, or request all of those resources, and they go on their way.

Another new graduate student walks into the same library and goes to the same database. They enter into the database their research subject and do not find any resources. They remember from library orientation that the fewer words used in a search, the more likely they are to find resources. The student enters a generalized subject into the database, and still does not find any resources. They consider giving up the subject, as there does not seem to be any resources for that subject, but then they remember there are research librarians willing to help. The graduate student discusses their subject with a librarian, and together they find the needed resources.

A third new graduate student enters the same library. They enter into the database their research subject and do not find any resources. They try being more descriptive of the subject in hopes of finding resources, but still do not find any. They try several more subject searches in the database, all with no resources being found. After hours of fruitless searching, the student decides to give up and leaves the library without having found any valid resources for their effort.

Not finding research resources is typical. The first and second scenarios are the exception, not the norm (Yu and Young, 2004). Most incoming graduate students do not participate in library orientations, and are ill prepared for the intense research requirements found in graduate school.

Improving Information Services

The results of my research could form the policy for colleges and universities on programs for graduate level library orientation. These policies would require graduate level library orientation as part of the entrance orientation, or as part of the curriculum. Graduate programs could include library orientation as part of their programs for incoming students, similar in format to the workshops utilized by Rempel (2010). Faculty members would encourage students to utilize help from research librarians and participate in library workshops to improve research skills. Libraries could advertise research assistance through school email and websites, specifically targeting graduate students. The result would be improved research abilities for graduate students, enabling them to bridge the academic gap between undergraduate and graduate study. Understanding how to research properly can influence a graduate student’s entire academic career, and having the proper skills reduces stress from trying to meet the new expectations placed on them as they enter this new phase of academic life.

References

Allen, E. & Weber, R. (2012, March 29). Graduate students searching proficiencies in the selection of qualitative and quantitative journal references. The Journal of

            Academic Librarianship, 38(3), 130-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.acalib.2012.02.007

Barrett, A. (2005, July 15). The information-seeking habits of graduate student researchers in the humanities. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 31(4), 324-

331.

Barton, H., Cheng, J., Clougherty, L., & Forys, J. (2002, January). Identifying the resource and service needs of graduate and professional students. Portal:

            Libraries and the Academy, 2(1), 125-143. DOI: 10.1353/pla.2002.0014

Chen, K. & Lin, P. (2010). Information literacy in university library user education. Adlib Proceedings, 63(40), 399-418. DOI: 10.1108/00012531111148967

Chu, SKW. & Law, N. (2008, September). The development of information search expertise of research students. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science,

            40(3), 165-177. DOI: 10.1177/0961000608092552

Conway, K. (2011, June). How prepared are students for postgraduate study? A comparison of the information literacy skills of commending undergraduate and

postgraduate information studies students at Curtin University. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 42(2), 121-135.

George, C. A., Bright, A., Hurlbert, T., Linke, E. C., St. Clair, G., & Stein, J. (2006, January 1). Scholarly use of information: graduate students information seeking

behavior. Information Research, 11(4), paper 272. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/11-4/paper272.html

Gross, M. (2005). The impact of low-level skills on information-seeking behavior – implications of competency theory for research and practice. Reference and User

            Services Quarterly, 45(2), 155-162.

Khosrowjerdi, M. & Iranshani, M. (2011, Oct). Prior knowledge and information-seeking behavior of PhD and MA students. Library & Information Science Research,

            33(4), 331-335. DOI:10.1016/j.lisr.2010.04.008

Liu, G. & Winn, D. (2009, Sept 11). Chinese graduate students and the Canadian Academic Library: A user study at the University of Windsor. Journal of Academic

            Librarianship, 35(6), 565-573.

Monroe-Gulick, A. & Petr, J. (2012). Incoming graduate students in the social sciences: How much do they really know about library research? Portal: Libraries and the

            Academy, 12(3), 315-335.

Onwuegbuzie, A., & Jiao, Q. (2004). Information search performance and research achievement: An empirical test of the anxiety-expectation mediation model of

library anxiety. Journal for the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55(1), 41-54.

Rasul, A. & Singh, D. (2010, December). The role of academic libraries in facilitating postgraduate students’ research. Malaysian Journal of Library & Information

            Science, 15(3), 75-84.

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workshop. College & Research Libraries, 71(6), 532-547.

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Record Creation for Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Part I Record Creation

Simple Dublin Core Element

Resource Values

Title

Graceling

Subject

Journeys

Subject

Magic

Subject

Fantasy

Subject

Fiction

Description

Katsa lives in a land of seven kingdoms, where people graced with special abilities are marked by their mismatched eye color. As a child, it is determined that her ability is to kill quickly and expertly, and as an adult Katsa becomes the executioner and enforcer to her uncle, King Randa, due to her amazing fighting skills. Katsa hates her role, and creates a Council to fight the injustices around her. While on a secret rescue mission, Katsa meets Po, another graceling with his own powers attempting to free his grandfather from the king of Monsea. Katsa and Po journey to unravel the dark secrets of King Leck of Monsea, while they learn more about themselves and their abilities along the way.

This story is about discovering life, love and the ironies of both. The main character sees herself as a killer, only to realize that her grace has nothing to do with death and everything to do with life.

Description

Table of Contents: 1. The Lady Killer. 2. The Twisted King. 3. The Shifting World.

Language

en

Creator

Kristin Cashore

Publisher

Harcourt, Inc.

Rights

Copyright 2008, Kristin Cashore. All rights reserved.

Date

2008-10-01

Type

text

Format

Book 471p.

Identifier

ISBN:9780152063962

 

 

 

 

Explanation of Dublin Core Elements of Name and Value Pairs

            There are fifteen Dublin Core elements, of which I determined eleven specific elements to be applicable to record the book Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Each selected element creates a standard record for the item being cataloged, and unselected elements are excluded because descriptors do not apply. Elements can be categorized by content, ownership, and presentation of the resource.

Several of the elements used in the record creation are related to the content of the resource. The title element reflects the name of the information resource, and is a required element to any Dublin Core metadata as every item cataloged into a database will have a title. The subject element reflects the topic of the resource, and is also a required element as every item can be classified by the resource subject matter. The description element is an abstract of the purpose of the resource, and can also include the resources table of contents.  The language element specifies the language of the text within the resource, which in this instance is English.

Elements that reflect ownership of the resource indicate responsible parties for the development and publishing of the resource. The creator element reflects the author of the book, as she is responsible for creating the resource. The publisher element indicates the name of the publishing company, Harcourt Inc. The rights element reflects who has ownership of the copyright of the resource, which in this instance is the author, Kristin Cashore.

Elements that indicate the presentation of the resource refer to when the resource was made available and what present form the resource is being cataloged in. The date element indicates when the material was released for purchase. The type element indicates structure, which for this resource is text. The format element is listed as a 471 page book, and describes the physical form of the resource. The identifier element is a unique combination of numbers and/or letters used to identify the resource based on formal identification systems in practice.

Repeated Elements

            The elements that are beneficial to repeat for clarity on this resource are subject and description elements. The subject descriptors include journeys, magic, fantasy, and fiction. These descriptors are all available to cross reference through a thesaurus, and each individual descriptor specifies the overall subject of the book. The story is a work of fiction that is fantastic in nature, with characters journeying from one location to another encountering magic as they go. Having one entry for the subject element would be limiting and not general enough. Searching for this item could be referenced through any of these subjects, and eliminating any of them could limit the response of a catalog search.

            The description elements are repeated to include an abstract and the table of contents. The abstract provides an overview of the resource, for evaluation of whether the contents of the resource meet the user’s needs. The table of contents indicates the organization of the resource, in this case that the story is divided into three parts. It clarifies the material’s overall organization.

Deleted Elements

There were several elements that are not included in the record for the book Graceling. The excluded elements include contributors, source, relation, and coverage. The contributor element is excluded as there are no other people or organizations that made significant intellectual contributions to the book besides the creator Kristin Cashore. The source element is not part of the table due to the present resource being in its original form, and it is not a second resource of itself. The relation element is excluded from the element list as the book is not an edition of another work, nor a chapter or translation. Coverage elements are not included due to the lack of spatial or temporal characteristics within the contents of the book, and there are no physical regions or place names that are familiar to use because the story location is fictitious. Each of these elements did not apply for recording the book, and so including them would not have been logical or properly descriptive of the book itself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part II Standards Evaluation

MARC Tags

Graceling / Kristin Cashore.

Relevance:

 

LC Control No.:

2007045436

LCCN Permalink:

http://lccn.loc.gov/2007045436

000

01097cam a2200241 a 450

001

15124010

005

20111104100419.0

008

071228s2008 flub d 000 1 eng

906

__ |a 7 |b cbc |c orignew |d 1 |e ecip |f 20 |g y-gencatlg

925

0_ |a acquire |b 2 shelf copies |x policy default

955

__ |a lb10 2007-12-28 |i lb10 2007-12-28 |e lb10 2007-12-28 to cip |a ps04 2008-08-19 2 copies rec’d., to CIP ver.; |f lg13 2008-08-25 to SL; |g lg13 2008-08-25 (overtime) sent 2 Copies to BCCD

010

__ |a 2007045436

020

__ |a 9780152063962 (hbk.)

040

__ |a DLC |c DLC |d DLC

050

00 |a PZ7.C26823 |b Gr 2008

082

00 |a [Fic] |2 22

100

1_ |a Cashore, Kristin.

245

10 |a Graceling / |c Kristin Cashore.

260

__ |a Orlando, FL : |b Harcourt, |c 2008.

300

__ |a 471 p. : |b map ; |c 21 cm.

500

__ |a Companion book to Fire.

520

__ |a In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.

650

_1 |a Fantasy.

   

   

CALL NUMBER:

PZ7.C26823 Gr 2008 FT MEADE

 

Copy 2

— Request in:

Jefferson or Adams Building Reading Rooms – STORED OFFSITE

   

— Status:

c.2 Overdue – Due on 10-02-2012


   

CALL NUMBER:

PZ7.C26823 Gr 2008 FT MEADE

 

Copy 1

— Request in:

Jefferson or Adams Building Reading Rooms – STORED OFFSITE

   

— Status:

Not Charged

Full Record

Graceling / Kristin Cashore.

Relevance:

 

LC control no.:

2007045436

LCCN permalink:

http://lccn.loc.gov/2007045436

Type of material:

Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)

Personal name:

Cashore, Kristin.

Main title:

Graceling / Kristin Cashore.

Published/Created:

Orlando, FL : Harcourt, 2008.

Description:

471 p. : map ; 21 cm.

ISBN:

9780152063962 (hbk.)

Summary:

In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.

Subjects:

Fantasy.

Notes:

Companion book to Fire.

LC classification:

PZ7.C26823 Gr 2008

Dewey class no.:

[Fic]

   
   

   

CALL NUMBER:

PZ7.C26823 Gr 2008 FT MEADE

 

Copy 2

— Request in:

Jefferson or Adams Building Reading Rooms – STORED OFFSITE

   

— Status:

c.2 Overdue – Due on 10-02-2012


   

CALL NUMBER:

PZ7.C26823 Gr 2008 FT MEADE

 

Copy 1

— Request in:

Jefferson or Adams Building Reading Rooms – STORED OFFSITE

   

— Status:

Not Charged

 

 

Part II B Metadata of Graceling

            Cataloging generally includes the contents of the title page, leaving resources that do not contain a title page uncataloged or poorly represented (Yee, 2007, p. 312). Creating records that include the relationships between separate and seemingly disparate records is a challenge that is explored in Dublin Core, and is largely unaddressed in Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC). When defining categories of networked electronic resources, Dublin Core has become the most widely accepted proposed standard according to Nair & Jeevan (2004) because the ability to address the unique relationships between electronic resources. Margaritopoulos et al. describes the Dublin Core as multivalued, with each element having specific value to metadata completeness. This completeness of metadata examines the ability to describe a resource including all of its potential properties (Margaritopoulos et al., 2012, p. 724.)

Access Points of Graceling

            Core bibliographic elements are available for every resource that can be input into a catalog or database. According to Lee and Jacob (2011), the elements that record title, author, subject and description are vital to a complete bibliographic profile of any resource and are available for every resource. Every resource originates from an individual or organization that is responsible for the intellectual content, and is representationally titled in some manner. The resource will also always address some subject matter, and can further be described by the medium it is available in. These common elements can be used to create metadata information for any resource, and the lack of any of these elements can adversely affect the quality of the metadata completeness.

Representation of Graceling

            When determining the four most important descriptive access points for surrogate records for the book Graceling, the different elements of DC and MARC were evaluated for core bibliographic elements. Dublin Core elements that reflect these core bibliographic elements include title, creator, subject, and format. MARC elements that reflect the same core bibliographic elements include Main Title (245), Personal name (100), Subjects (650), and Description (300).

Similarities in Standards

            Dublin Core and MARC standards share similar intentions. Both standards create metadata in a consistent and normalized format. Dublin Core and MARC standards for Graceling are similar to each other in that the entered values are the same for each of the core elements. The entered values for title in Dublin Core and main title in MARC both have the entry of Graceling. The Dublin Core creator, subject, and format elements also reflect the same value as the MARC element personal name, subjects, and description values. There are corresponding elements in both of the standards.

            Both standards also share a standardized vocabulary. MARC has delimiters available to specifically address certain circumstances in categories, which are expressed numerically in the MARC field. These numerical values are included in the above discussion, and reflect specific attributes of the field they are entered. Variances in the author category are addressed through delimiters of varying descriptions, and the numerical codes assigned to those delimiters clarify the origin of the value. Dublin Core has a standardized vocabulary in generally accepted values are typically used for each element, although there are not the limitations on expanding the vocabulary as in MARC.

Differences in Standards

Metadata standards for Graceling differ between Dublin Core and MARC by the ability to repeat elements in Dublin Core, and by the ability to have sub-type and sub-object relationships (Nair & Jeevan, 2004, p. 4). While creating the record for Graceling, elements were able to be repeated, this is not available on the MARC record. These supplemental entries enable users to have broader access to database search responses, and enable these responses to be more specific to their particular needs. 

Where MARC has been the traditional standard based on print materials needing to be entered into a machine readable system, Dublin Core responds to developing formats that are unconventional to metadata categorization. Attempts to expand MARC to be a functional standard for developing formats has been unsuccessful due to the system limitations on mapping relationships between elements. Although my resource for the Dublin Core record creations is a print material, referencing this to ebooks, audio resources, electronic files, websites, and other electronic resources is not possible through the MARC record. Dublin Core is able to describe a variety of electronic objects, which is not available through the MARC standard.

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) Principles

            Tillett (2003) summarizes FRBR as the theoretical standard for cataloging resources based on content description, relationships, and attributes for all types of materials. A revised vocabulary is proposed to meet current and future user needs. The key consideration of FRBR is the attention to relationships between resources, and the ability to cross reference between these relationships. Structured and unstructured values are used to link associated entities (Picco & Repiso, 2012, p. 634). FRBR assigns user tasks to find, identify, select, obtain, and explore resources (Tillett, 2003, p. 5) to explore how resources are related to each other and then evaluated by the user. This standard explores the needs of the user through subject searching and the relationships between the subject values (Zavalina, 2012, p. 159).

FRBR Principles in MARC Standard

                        MARC has been the accepted metadata standard for the past forty years. It was developed to encode and exchange bibliographic data in a machine readable structure while allowing for storage and organization of this data in a uniform and standardized system (Lee & Jacob, 2011, p. 17). While this standard is sufficient for traditional print resource, the standard does not address the unique needs of electronic, computer, and internet data. The MARC standard creates records with a fixed format, and does not indicate relationships between linked data (Baker, 2012.).

            While MARC is a fixed format, there are corresponding FRBR attributes that can be linked between the standards. Lee and Jacob (2011) argue that mapping these structurally similar elements and attributes can further be explored to create a link between the standards to integrate current MARC records into developing new standards for metadata. The FRBR categories determined to be structurally similar to MARC standards by Lee and Jacob (2011) include Author, Title, Subject, Description, Identifier, Publication, and Format. Although each category is not an exact match, the mapping of each value can be evaluated for further research to enable current MARC records to be transitioned and integrated into metadata that complies with FRBR principles. This is a marked difference than the view expressed by Jones (2005) where he stated MARC records could not be mapped to the connections and various levels of abstraction included in the FRBR model, and shows the development of the FRBR model to fit into an applied form. Ultimately, characterizing the categories of data held in MARC records is an essential step in developing new rules and metadata systems for developing methods to meet user needs (Mayernik, 2010, p. 49).

FRBR Principles in Dublin Core Standard

            The Dublin Core standard was developed to meet the growing need to create metadata for electronic objects, which was not addressable through the established metadata standard MARC. The objective was to create a standard compliant with search engines that could index records to improve search quality (Baker, 2012, p. 119). This objective easily supports FRBR principles in addressing user needs. Although the Library of Congress (as cited in Baker, 2012, p. 127) has determined FRBR as a theoretical model whose real-world applications are still unknown, FRBR provides a framework for linked data that was unavailable through MARC standards.

            Dublin Core initiatives suggest using controlled vocabularies, which has been able to be integrated into FRBR models (Nelson & Cleary, 2010). Controlled vocabularies support content identification and indexing, while also exploring relationships between content and attributes.

Applying FRBR principles to Dublin Core requires the previously mentioned FRBR user tasks to be applied to all information resources (Zumer, Leng, & Salaba, 2010). These tasks are general and applicable to all information resources. Users identify a resource, select the resource that is most appropriate for their needs, obtain access to the resource, and explore relationships between related resources. While FRBR principles remain a model for metadata, the Dublin Core standard promises to be able to be integrated with FRBR principles to support international standardization. 

Conclusion

The book Graceling is able to be cataloged in its current MARC standard without difficulty due to being a print resource. However, this MARC standard does not explore the relationships and attributes available in other forms of this resource, particularly the electronic forms and variations of this resource. Dublin Core allows for this resource to be referenced into a database that allows for relationships to be available and variations on the resource to be searchable. Access points are available to link MARC and Dublin Core standards, but the points are difficult to directly map from one standard to another. Catalog archives are changing from simple record compilations into interactive databases that are reflective and interconnecting. FRBR principles are shaping new metadata standards. Creating a record of a resource is not as simple as it used to be. Modern metadata requires understanding resources on multiple levels and how resources are related to every other resource in the database.

 

 

References

 

Baker, T. (2012). Libraries, languages of description, and linked data: A Dublin Core

            perspective. Library Hi Tech, 30(1), 116-133.

            http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07378831211213256

Jones, E. (2005, October). The FRBR model as applied to continuing resources. Library

            Resources & Technical Services, 49(4), 227-242.

Lee, S. & Jacob, E. (2011, January). An integrated approach to metadata

            interoperability construction of a conceptual structure between MARC and FRBR.

            Library Resources & Technical Services, 55(1), 17-32.

Margaritopoulos, M., Margaritopoulos, T., Mavridis, I., & Manitsaris, A. (2012, April).

            Quantifying and measuring metadata completeness. Journal of the American

            Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(4), 724-737.

Mayernik, M. (2010, January). The distributions of MARC fields in bibliographic records:

            A power law analysis. Library Resources & Technical Services, 54(1), 40-54.

Nair, S. & Jeevan, V. (2004, July). A brief overview of metadata formats. DESIDOC

            Bulletin of Information Technology, 24(4), 3-11.

Nelson, J. & Cleary, A. (2010, December 21). FRBRizing an e-library: Migrating from

            Dublin Core to FRBR and MODS. Code 4 Lib Journal, 12. Retrieved from

            http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/4357

Picco, P. & Repiso, V. (2012, May 12). The contribution of FRBR to the identification of

            bibliographic relationships: The new RDA-based ways of representing

            relationships in catalogs. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 50(5-7), 622-640.

            http://dx.doi.org/10.1018/01639374.2012.680847

Tillett, B. (2003). What is FRBR?  Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Cataloging

            Distribution Service.

Yee, M. (2007). Cataloging compared to descriptive bibliography, abstracting and

            indexing services, and metadata. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 44(3-4),

            307-327. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J104v44n03_10

Zavalina, O. (2012, September 17). Subject access: Conceptual models, functional

            requirements, and empirical data. Journal of Library Metadata, 12(2-3), 140-163.

            http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19386389.2012.699829

Zumer, M., Zeng, M., & Salaba, A. (2010) FRBR: A generalized approach to Dublin

            Core application profiles. International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata

            Applications, 0, 21-30. Retrieved from

            http://dcpapers.dublincore.org/pubs/article/view/1024

 

Library Database Review

Database: FSU Catalog Search  S: 4  R:3  UC:2  US:1

The strongest features of the FSU Catalog Search for system functions are refining results, query limits, and sorting results, which is the reason I gave it S:4. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides moderately sufficient flexibility, with numerous results in my search for the author William Shakespeare. The advanced search query limits give users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by location, format, language, and publishing date. The weakest search features are authority control and the help option. The authority control was disappointing, because when I misspell Shakespeare (without an “e”) as the author, the results were drastically reduced from 2,689 when spelled correctly to 40. The system does spell check, but it is still lacking in alternate spelling suggestions. A help option is available for the catalog; however most of the information only provides general answers to common question, such as “Can I renew a book?”, and does not address bibliographic information.

 

Representation is moderate for the FSU Catalog overall, which is why I rated it R:3. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work and publication information for each result. Finding out if the search results are part of a journal or series is not readily apparent from the results list, but it can be found by using the “narrow results by” feature. The FSU Catalog severely lacks detailed information about results. It does not indicate any subject headers or keywords, lacks collocation, and is missing other possibly useful information. There is not an abstract or summary of the content, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are even valid for the search being performed. The lack of citation information could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information. I have written many papers using second generation material to substantiate and collaborate on first generation resources, and vice versa.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their basic needs, as long as they did not need detailed information for each result. I would rate the FSU Catalog users as only needing to have novice level bibliographic knowledge due to the simple search options and general information provided with each result.

 

The FSU Catalog is a good resource for finding general resources. It lacks detailed information and references to other resources within the same subject. A person researching a topic to see if there is a lot of material about a topic would be good to start here. The lack of the catalog’s ability to find and suggest other materials by subject is its main detractor.

 

 

 

 

 

Database: WorldCat.org Search  S: 5  R:4  UC:2  US:2

 

WorldCat.org is one of the strongest databases for system functions, because it gives so much information. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility. Features that excel through the WorldCat.org database include: search options, query limits, refining results, sorting results and help information. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search for the author William Shakespeare. The advanced search query limits give users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by year, audience, content, format, and language. Results can be refined by format, year, language, audience, and topic. A help option is available for the catalog and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient, and there’s even a help topic for searching for lists. The only weak search feature I could find is authority control, because when I misspell Shakespeare (without an “e”) as the author, the results were drastically reduced from 70,438 when spelled correctly to 485. The system does spell check, but it is still lacking in alternate spelling suggestions.

 

Representation is above average for the WorldCat.org, which is why I rated it R:4. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, and accessibility is obvious. The search results plainly are listed as part of a journal or series under the format section. The WorldCat.org does have detailed information about results, but is still missing subject headers and collocation. Users can add tags, but there are few that I looked at that have been tagged already. There is not an abstract or summary of the content, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are even valid for the search being performed. The lack of citation information could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. I would rate the WorldCat.org users as needing to have moderate level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and moderately detailed information provided with each result.

 

The WorldCat.org is an excellent resource for finding resources. It lacks subject headers and collocation, but it makes up for that by being so comprehensive in its query limits and refining results options. A person researching a topic would be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

 

 

Database: WorldCat (FirstSearch) Search  S: 5  R:5  UC:2  US:2

 

FirstSearch is a strong database for system functions, because it gives so much information. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility and comprehensiveness. Features that excel through the FirstSearch database include: search options, query limits, sorting results, and help information. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search for the author William Shakespeare. The advanced search query gives users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by year, language, number of libraries, type of media, availability, audience, content, and format. Results can also be further refined by audience, content, and format. The results cannot be refined by topic, but being able to easily tell where the resources are located makes up for that lack in my opinion. A help option is available for the database and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient for an inexperienced user. The weakest system function I could find is its authority control, because when I misspell Shakespeare (without an “e”) as the author, the results were drastically reduced from 70,438 when spelled correctly to 485. I also attempted to misspell another word (fish as ufish) and it did not provide me any suggestions at all. The system does not seem to perform any sort of spell check, which could make searching difficult if the correct spelling is unknown or a word is typed incorrectly.

 

Representation is excellent for the FirstSearch, which is why I rated it R:5. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, accessibility is obvious, subject headers are included, and collocation leads to other sources. The search results are clearly separated by resource format. FirstSearch does have detailed information about results, and lists descriptors include subjects and geographic references. There is a summary of the contents for each resource, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are valid for the search being performed. There is no citation information, and this lack could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. I would rate the FirstSearch users as needing to have moderate level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and moderately detailed information provided with each result.

 

FirstSearch is an excellent resource for finding resources. It lacks authority control, making users dependent on correct spelling and typing to be successful, but it makes up for that by being so comprehensive in its search results and format specificity. A person researching a topic would be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

Database: LitLib Search  S:5  R:5  UC:2  US:2

 

LitLib is an excellent database for system functions. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility and comprehensiveness. Features that excel through the LitLib database include: search options, query limits, refining results, sorting results, authority control, and help information. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search. The advanced search query gives users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by publisher, language, journal name, document type, Dewey decimal number, year, and accession number. Results can also be further refined by source type, subject, and publication. The results cannot be refined by topic, but being able to easily tell where the resources are located makes up for that lack in my opinion. A help option is available for the database and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient for an inexperienced user. The database also includes an authority control, because when I misspelled the word fish (as ufish), it provided me with the options of fish, huffish, and offish. The system seems to perform and excellent spell check, which could make searching easier if the correct spelling is unknown or a word is typed incorrectly.

 

Representation is excellent for the LitLab, which is why I rated it R:5. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, accessibility is obvious, subject headers are included, and collocation leads to other sources. The search results are clearly separated by resource format. LitLib does have detailed information about results, and lists descriptors for subject headings. There is an short abstract for each resource, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are valid for the search being performed. There is no citation information, and this lack could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. I would rate the LitLib users as needing to have moderate level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and moderately detailed information provided with each result.

 

LitLib is an excellent resource for finding resources. Its ability to offer authority control, freeing users from having to correctly spell and type to be successful, makes it more user friendly than most databases.  A person researching a topic would be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

Database: Web of Science Search  S:5  R:5  UC:3  US:3

 

The Web of Science database is the most comprehensive database for system functions. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility and thorough information. Features that excel through the Web of Science database include: search options, query limits, refining results, sorting results, authority control, and help information. The results are easy to find, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search. The advanced search query gives users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by timespan, citation databases, and spelling variations. Results can also be further refined by document type, research areas, authors, group authors, editors, source titles, book series titles, publication years, organizations, funding agencies, languages, and countries. The results can be refined by topic, with the Web of Science offering different topic categories by discipline. A help option is available for the database and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient for an inexperienced user. The database does not seem to include an authority control, because when I misspelled the word fish (as ufish), it did not provide me with any options. The system does not seem to perform a spell check, which could make searching difficult if the correct spelling is unknown or a word is typed incorrectly.

 

Representation is excellent for the Web of Science database, which is why I rated it R:5. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, accessibility, and collocation leads to other sources. The best feature of this database is that it maps references and records the number of times a resource has been used as a citation in other works. It further provides these citation resources in detail, which is excellent for substantiation and collaborating information. Web of Science does not have detailed information about results, and does not list descriptors for subject headings.

 

Users with advanced topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. Usage of the best feature, citation mapping, would require advanced knowledge of how the data base works to best use the information. I would rate the Web of Science users as needing to have an advanced level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and detailed information provided with each result.

 

Web of Science is an excellent resource for finding resources, but using the specialized features available is more difficult than most other databases. Its ability to offer citation information enables users to completely explore a topic. A person researching a topic would need assistance to best be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

 

Pinteresting Wedding Plans

This past July 22nd, my boyfriend of five years proposed while we watched the sunrise on the beach. It was five years, to the day, after we met and it was the first sunrise we had ever watched together. As the sun was slightly over the horizon, he took my hand into his and asked me to marry him. My response to his question was a happy and excited yes.

Part 1: My search for wedding planning information

            My next task, and what has consumed my life since I became engaged, has been the planning for our wedding and reception. I never realized the level of planning that goes into a wedding. My maid of honor, who coincidentally is working on her internship for event planning, highly recommended I start looking at Pinterest.com for ideas of what I might like and want to do. Since then, a day does not pass that I am not looking at something on Pinterest. Some days, an hour might not go by without me looking. Every time I sign in, there are new images posted setting my imagination awhirl. What I love most about Pinterest is that it contains easily found images of what other people are doing, or have contemplated doing, for their own weddings. I can type in “wedding favors” and see hundreds of images of what other people have collected and thought would be good wedding favors. I can then scroll through the pictures for ideas, and when I find one I like, I can click on the picture to link back to the original website that posted the picture. Frequently, the original website will indicate how to make the item or where it can be purchased, so I can shop and get do-it-yourself ideas at the same time. I can also re-pin my favorite images to my own boards, so locating the image/website/idea again later is possible. I can locate these images without having to hunt the internet or sort through a list of saved web pages while not really remembering what I am looking for at that particular site. Through Pinterest, I have chosen my wedding colors, invitations, ceremony details, reception decorations, wedding cake setup, and photography poses. I have read articles other brides have posted about how to keep wedding costs down, and etiquette on who is responsible to pay for what. I have even pinned timelines letting me know when I should have details finalized, and when I should pay for those details.

So, in less than two months, I have decided on most of my wedding plans. I have several decisions to make still, including which caterer has the best tasting food, but all the small details have been decided. I know what items are needed to be purchased and have a good idea on where to get it for the best price. Pinterest has provided the resources and ideas to start putting together my own dream wedding, hopefully one as romantic as my fiancée’s proposal.

Part 2: Pinteresting Information

Information

Boulding stated information is any message producing a change in our image of reality, which manifests as a “picture in our head” (as cited in Case, 2012, pg. 62). Gregory Bateson further defined information as significant differences perceived by an individual, regardless whether those differences are derived from physical or psychological sources (as cited in Case, 2012, pg. 46). When I became engaged, my image of reality changed when I realized I was going to have to plan an event for a large group of people. This realization developed from the psychological acknowledgement that my present knowledge base lacked the information and experience to accomplish this new image of reality. I did not know who I needed to hire or the inventory of items I would need to purchase. Even with aspects of a wedding I was familiar with, I was unaware of the options available to fulfill those needs in the wedding merchandise market.

Information Needs

            When I recognized my knowledge was inadequate to satisfy my goal, this generated a need for me to seek information to provide that knowledge (Case, p. 5). My initial information resource was my maid of honor. With her experience as an event planner, she knew I lacked sufficient knowledge about weddings to make decisions without first being aware of the many options available. She suggested my main information behavior be through searching the images posted on the Pinterest website, a searchable photo database inputted by users with images categorized by general topics for browsing.

My information needs continue to evolve while planning my wedding. The interconnected nature of event planning necessitates each aspect to be coordinated. No sooner do I resolve one issue before I identify another dependent issue needing to be addressed. Satisfying one information need leads to the realization of another gap in my knowledge, causing my information need to change during the process of seeking (Case, p. 84).

Information Seeking

To fill my information need, I began to look at the images on Pinterest, accumulating information to satisfy the information needs I was identifying through my search for answers. I started with familiar aspects of a wedding, such as bridal dresses, hair styles, and invitations. Those first images led to host websites, which provided articles and information about other aspects of weddings yet unfamiliar to me. My initial search for wedding invitations led to information about save-the-date notices. I learned it is popular for people to send save-the-date notices to people who will be traveling long distances so they can arrange their travel plans in advance. My wedding will be in New York, and a large number of the guests will have to travel to get there, so I decided in favor of sending these notices. After reflecting about the save-the-date notices for a few days, I realized I had additional information needs to understand how far in advance of the wedding I should send them out and how they are traditionally formatted. I went back to Pinterest and found many images of the notices, including another image that listed a chronological timeline of when wedding planning components should be completed. That list indicated when the save-the-date notices should be sent, and when the venue should be reserved, which also led to the realization that I needed to find the place where we will have the ceremony and reception. A pattern emerged of finding solutions to information needs, which then caused me to realize another information gap.

Information Behavior

My information behaviors include more than the active seeking of information from friends and through Pinterest. Tom Wilson stated information behaviors include “passive reception of information…without any intention to act on the information given” (as cited in Case, 2012, p. 90). Friends who are aware of my engagement or have seen my Pinterest wedding ideas board have given unsolicited suggestions and vendor referrals. I feel obligated to listen out of politeness, even though the suggestions and referrals are usually impractical. Contextual advertising, which is advertising based on web browsing activities, constantly invades my browser. Even now, I have an advertisement on my browser window stating, “Bridesmaid Dresses!  Classy dresses, free shipping, over 700 styles. Browse now!” I have no intention of following the advertising links, no matter how attractive the headline, but they are still there reminding me of additional information needs. I have also started to receive catalogs and mail for wedding products, although I have not requested any of it nor do I want to receive it.

John commented on my week02 blog post how Pinterest has become an integral part of social media, and it has become common to see the “pin it” icon next to images while browsing the internet (J. Yackulics, personal communication, September 9, 2012). This information behavior is shaped by using images to create a new image of a desired reality. My use of Pinterest demonstrates a willingness to use popular social media as an information source. Social media allows an instant exchange of ideas impossible to duplicate with printed material. In retrospect, I could have easily looked through books about wedding planning. If I had used published material, I might have understood all the aspects of event/wedding planning from the beginning of my information search. Instead, I wanted to know what is popular today, and not what was popular when a book was published.

Part 3: Applying the ELIS Model and the Theory of Least Effort

Savolainen’s ELIS Model

Reijo Savolainen developed the model of everyday life information seeking (ELIS) while interviewing “ordinary citizens pursuing nonwork activities” (Case, pg. 149). His information model differs from other models because he examines the information seeking of everyday life, and the overlap of everyday and work life. Isolating information seeking habits as work or non-work discounts the complexity of information seeking performed to fulfill multiple needs at once.

Studying the ELIS Model.

Lisa Given applied Savolainen’s ELIS model to a study of the information seeking of mature adult undergraduate students. The study included the reported information seeking habits of 25 undergraduate students at a single Canadian university who were at least 21 years old and who also had a gap in their higher education for at least three years. Givens reinforced through the study how “job-related information seeking and ELIS complement each other” (Savolainen, pg. 266), and should not always be considered separately.

Students in the study reported information needs to fulfill academic obligations, and separate needs “arose out of their engagement with the university” (Given, pg. 5). These needs included child care, employment, and housing, which they sought to fill through academic resources in spite of the need being outside of academic learning. The academic resources were used as primary information sources solely because they were the easiest and most familiar to engage, and because the students believed they would have the best solutions. The students later found the most appropriate solution did not necessarily originate from the university resources, but they frequently relied on these answers until another resource presented itself or their information need became dire.

The article further discusses how overlap behavior between everyday and work information seeking can influence each other. Given (2002) stated how a student “chose assignment topics related to her occupation, and used information from colleagues and other work resources for her studies” (pg. 8). Students utilize personal and social information resources in their academic work, saving time by combining everyday information seeking with work and academic obligations. Given suggests through her study that blending the purpose of information seeking between everyday and work life is common and beneficial for saving time and resources.

Applying the ELIS Model to my information behavior.

The ELIS Model is evident in my information behavior because of the nonwork nature of my information behavior. Through Pinterest, I am seeking information to plan an event and make purchases for a life event, and this behavior is not connected or directed by my work life.

Zipf’s Theory of Least Effort

            Zipf’s Principle of Least Effort indicates individuals will expend the least effort needed to satisfactorily accomplish their work (Case, pg. 175). This effort could be the positioning of often used tools close to the work area, using the same words repeatedly when writing, or using the same database to satisfy information needs (Case, pg. 175). The Theory of Least Effort states researchers will “take a path of least resistance when seeking information rather than focusing primarily on quality” (Bronstein & Baruchson-Arbib, 2008).

            Studying the Theory of Least Effort.

Jenny Bronstein and Shifra Baruchson-Arbib explore how Jewish studies scholars in Israel utilize information resources. The study included the reported information habits of 135 researchers from four universities in Israel, followed by an additional 25 researchers from various Jewish studies academic departments at the same universities. To avoid bias, the study was sent electronically and through the mail. Bronstein and Baruchson-Arbib (2008) reinforce through the study how operational difficulty does not significantly influence the scholar’s choice of information resources within the field of Jewish studies scholarship. Unlike most studies which corroborate the idea of researchers preferring online databases, Jewish studies researchers within this study did not indicate any preference to an electronic resource type. They indicated they were inclined to browse libraries hoping for “serendipitous discovery” (Bronstein & Baruchson-Arbib, 2008) and willing to wait extended periods for printed resource materials to become available.

The study also evaluates how academic research generalizes all disciplines within the humanities, and these finds do not take individual discipline’s needs and usage into consideration. The study explores how a specific group, in this case Jewish studies scholars, as atypical from generalized research results which typically reflect Zipf’s Principle of Least Effort. The researchers prefer to use traditional methods as they are effective resources for their discipline.

The study proposes Jewish studies researchers are not influenced by the difficulty of accessing a resource, but will choose information resources based on the quality of the information provided. Applying a model, paradigm, or theory to a broad group can give the wrong impression of the information needs of smaller subgroups. Only through further studies can the information of each subgroup be understood and used to make the process more efficient.

Applying the Theory of Least Effort to my information behavior.

The Theory of Least Effort is evident in my information behavior because of the first resource I decided to use, my event planner maid of honor. I decided without personal knowledge of her planning expertise to use her as my primary knowledge base. In retrospect, calling her and asking her what I needed to plan the wedding was not the most effective method, but it was the most convenient. Her recommendation to use Pinterest to learn about wedding planning was also the most convenient, instead of borrowing or buying books that would take me longer to read. The amount of time I spent viewing pictures on Pinterest could have been used for researching formal information sources, but instead I depended on social media for all of my information due to easy accessibility.

Part 4: Comparing and contrasting the results of my analyses

            My Pinterest use was initially shaped by my desire for the newest and most current information available for wedding planning, and my need to control and direct information resources while researching. Along with planning a wedding, I have the responsibility of working full time job and taking graduate classes full time, so I also wanted to acquire the information without difficulty.

Applying Savolainen’s (1995) ELIS model to my information search, a “mastery of life” (pg. 259) has emerged and I have solved “problems not directly connected with the performance of occupational tasks” (pg. 267). The ELIS model discusses how “mastery of life” can create order and influence decision making for everyday life projects, such as buying decisions, time budgeting, and enjoying hobbies (Savolainen, pg. 263). I have used Pinterest exclusively to explore my options for “money spent on the acquisition of various goods and services” being used for my wedding (Savolainen, pg. 263).

The ELIS model further discusses two vitally important dimensions of information seeking which include the “seeking of orienting information concerning current events and second, to seeking of practical information which serves as the solution to specific problems” (Savolainen, pg. 272). When I first became engaged, I initially sought orienting information from another person, who then recommended Pinterest as a better orienting resource. Dervin (as cited in Case, 2012, pg. 177) explains how common it is for people to rely “on close friends and relatives for their information” based on the Theory of Least Effort. I explored Pinterest to determine how a wedding is typically planned, and obtained an overview of what decisions must be made. I then explored Pinterest in further detail to find practical solutions to the specific issues needing to be resolved. In the end, Pinterest has familiarized me with wedding planning, and it has also offered real world information which I can use to resolve my individual wedding planning issues.

Another aspect of my information behavior has been how I have linked my Pinterest use as an academic topic in multiple classes this semester. Savolainen’s ELIS model discusses the non-work information seeking habits of ordinary people, and it also discusses the complimentary relationship between non-work and work information seeking (Case, pg. 149). To isolate each aspect can be misleading because combining the two can explain how many information decisions influence each other. Many models focus on work information needs, and exclude “way of life” (Savolainen, pg. 263) aspects from being an influence. The information study by Lisa Givens made me recognize how my own academic information behavior has frequently reflected my personal and professional goals. The majority of my academic life has been as a mature student and I have used nonacademic experiences to inspire my research topics and information needs. In doing this, I have saved time by connecting my academic, professional, and personal information seeking techniques.

 

 

References

Bronstein, J. & Baruchson-Arbib, S. (2008). The application of cost-benefit and least effort theories in studies of information seeking behavior of humanities scholars: the case of Jewish studies scholars in Israel. Journal of information science, 32(2), 131-144.

 

Case, D.O. (2012). Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior (3rd Ed.). Bingley, UK: Emerald.

 

Given, L. M. (2002). The academic and the everyday: Investigating the overlap in mature undergraduates’ information seeking behaviors. Library & information science research, 24(1), 17-29.

 

Savolainen, R. (1995). Everyday life information seeking: Approaching information seeking in the context of way of life. Library & information science research, 17(3), 259-294.

 

Information Needs and Uses: A Review

A review of:

Dervin, B. & Nilan, M. (1986).  Information needs and Uses. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 21, 1-26.

Main Points Made in Presentation

Traditional Paradigms & Studies – These studies have been used to explain differences among respondents of information behavior dimensions with common predictors.

  • Demographics
  • Sociological
  • Lifestyle
  • Task Description

Discussion Questions:

  • Are studies based on demographic, sociological, lifestyle, and task description predictors the most effective in assessing information behavior?
  • How do we assess information behaviors through these studies? How it is used?

Traditional Information Needs Assessment Approaches – Approaches that imply knowing how users have or might use systems, it is possible to know what their needs are or might be.

  • Demand on System/Resources Approach
  • Awareness Approach
  • Likes-Dislikes Approach
  • Priorities Approach
  • Community Profile Approach
  • Interests, Activities, and Group Membership Approach

Discussion Questions:

  • Do these approaches define system needs or user needs?
  • How do they assess system needs?
  • How do they assess user needs?

Paradigm Shift Debate
Alternate Paradigms & Studies – Suggested alternative to traditional perspectives of information needs and uses research.

  • Objective vs. Subjective
  • Mechanistic, Passive vs. Constructivist, Active Users
  • Situationality vs. Trans-Situationality
  • Atomistic vs. Wholistic Views of Experience
  • External Behavior vs. Internal Cognitions
  • Systematic vs. Chaotic Individuality
  • Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Alternate Information Needs Assessment Approaches

  • User-Values Approach – Perceptions of utility and value.
  • Perceptions of utility and value – How people make sense of their worlds and how they use information and resources in the process.
  • Sense-Making Approach – People in problematic situations with views of the situations that are incomplete or limited in some way.

Discussion Questions:

  • How are these Alternate Approaches similar to each other?
  • How do they differ from Traditional Approaches?
  • How do they assess user needs vs. system needs?

Conclusion

While this article has been one of the more challenging articles to understand, it was important to read due to the explanation of traditional assessment approaches and the suggestion of alternate assessment approaches. Through the class discussion, we were able to establish that traditional assessment measures address system needs and not user needs. The suggested alternate approaches explore different ways of assessing user needs, and challenge information behavior research to go beyond the statistical and become individual. Further study is needed to research user needs that go beyond common predictors and instead investigates actual information behavior using wholistic views of experience.