Thursday, August 02, 2007

Information Seeking Behavior

Mary pointed me towards a good article in the Washington Post on July 25th about changing College libraries. The reporter particularly focused on Rhodes College. Quite rightly, because they have done a really good job of their new library and have become a model for others. The article really doesn't break new ground for readers of this blog, but it ends in an interesting way.

"Working under a giant window in the new library late last spring, Rhodes student Marjorie Schwahn of Atlanta said she spends three to four hours per day at Barret.
"Everyone's around," she says. "If you have a question, you can probably find someone in your class.""

If you have a question, you can probably find someone in your class. Heaven forbid you should ask a librarian, consult the information resources surrounding you, or seek out your instructor. No, you can find someone in your class. There is twenty million well spent.

Of course, I am being too cynical. In fact studies of information seeking behavior have pretty consistently found that people -- not just students -- prefer to consult the most convenient source of information rather than the most authoritative for example. The trick for libraries is to try and make the best source the most convenient as well.

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