- Information-seeking Behavior of Catalog Users in the Library of International Christian University --A study of the catalog use by interview--
- No.18, p.29-57
This paper, first, reviews briefly major catalog use studies with attention given to objectives and methods, and then presents the survey of catalog use at the ICU Library.
Utilization of the card catalog in the library was studied during the four days from June 12 to 15, 1978. The study was motivated by an interest in improving the existing catalog performance and helping in the design of a computerized catalog. The schedule of the interview was decided on the volume of traffic in the catalog area observed by hour each day. Catalog users were approached and interviewed immediately after they completed their catalog searches. More than 250 interviews were conducted.
Information was sought regarding the clues they used to begin their searches, the processes actually used and their statuses at the university. Follow-up studies were made to examine the match between user’s clues and catalog card data; then the success or failure of the search was determined.
In terms of immediate intent, 48.0 percent of the searches were known-item searches, 44.8 percent were subject searches, 7.1 percent were selective searches and O.4 percent were bibliographic searches. Significant variations in search objectives and search patterns were detected with respect to the type of catalog user. In this study, of those involved in known-item searches, 58.7 percent succeeded in locating the desired material and its call number. Of the fifty unsuccessful searches, thirty two failed because desired books were not in the collection, and fifteen failed because the user did not use all of the clues available to him or the searchers’ information was incorrect or incomplete. The principle approaches by which searchers attempted to use the catalog for known-item search were: author, 42.4 percent; title, 57 percent; subject, 1.6 percent.
Of those engaged in subject searches, 63.3 percent determined particular books related to the specific subject at the catalog, and 32 percent looked for the classification number of the subject as a guide for browsing through the books on the shelf. About half of query terms generated by the user did not match subject entries in the catalog.
Other results including failed searches are presented and discussed.
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