Monday, June 21, 2010

Sense-making the information confluence

This puzzling title in a series of studies by OCLC on user behavior asks questions similar to those of a recent UC Davis focus group on reference service. Most of the answers to the questions were fairly predictable or as the study puts it, "contextually based." In seeking for information, faculty, graduate students and undergraduates all consulted their peers and made use of library and information resources with a somewhat greater tendency to consult peers at a higher level of professionalism. All groups expressed satisfaction with the internet (read Google) and the library although the library came in for complaints for difficulty in retrieving information--as opposed to finding it. The recommendation from those surveyed was to improve the library resources by making them more like Google.

Dervin, B., Reinhard, C. D., Kerr, Z. Y., Song, M., and She, F. C.: Sense-making the information confluence: The whys and hows of college and university user satisficing of information needs. Phase II: Sense-making online survey and phone interview study, Institute of Museum and Library Services School of Communication, Washington D.C. Columbus, OH, 2006.

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