Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Researchers and discovery services: Behavior, perceptions and needs

This is another in a series of studies by OCLC to investigate user behavior. The angle of this one is to compare users at the beginning of their professional careers who have grown up in a digital environment with more senior people who have had to make the transition in their careers. Overall, the report claims that the similarities between the two were more striking than the differences and separate profiles did not emerge. Among the highlights of the findings were that users tended to start with internet tools like Google and then fall back to more traditional resources. The major source of dissatisfaction with library resources was the difficulty of retrieval wherein desirable information was not available through subscriptions. There was some difference between the sciences and the humanities with the sciences showing a higher level of satisfaction with the resources available and a higher level of comfort with the digital world. While journal articles were the most popular resources with 99.5% mentioning it as their primary resource, monographs were also popular with 83% naming them as their primary resource. These percentages add up to more than 100%, so it's not clear how this is possible. The report concludes by saying that access was more of an important issue than discovery.

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