Users’ information seeking behaviours, their interactions and experience with the academic library web interface
, PhD thesis, University of Salford.
The websites provided by academic libraries are challenged by the rapid developments in information and communication technology (ICT). These developments have created diverse options and channels for information sources that can be accessed easily by users through the Internet. Because of these alternate sources, many users no longer physically visit the library. Instead, they depend on the library’s website to obtain information online, or they use Internet searches to obtain the information they require.
This research addresses the following question: How do the users of academic libraries search for information and interact with the libraries’ web interfaces? The research draws on models from the disciplines of information-seeking behaviour (ISB) and human-computer interaction (HCI). A unified model based on the models in ISB and HCI is created and investigated. In addition, a qualitative study has been conducted to investigate users’ information needs, information-seeking behaviours, and difficulties and experiences with the websites of academic libraries. Interpretive case studies were conducted at two universities, one in the UK and one in Kuwait. Qualitative data were collected in interviews, focus groups, and observations of diverse groups of library users. Furthermore, a content analysis approach was applied to analyse the data.
The findings revealed seven steps taken in searching for information and interacting with academic libraries’ web interfaces, but exposed variance in the order in which users executed these steps. The findings also revealed several issues regarding the use of library websites to search for information. In particular, these concerned the complexity of finding information, the content organisation of the library websites and the use of incomprehensible terms on the library websites. As a result, the library users relied heavily on Google to find information. The thesis concludes with suggested guidelines for how academic library interfaces can best support the way users search for information, as well as their interactions, experiences and needs.
Keywords: information-seeking behaviour, human-computer interaction, users’ needs, user experience, academic library website, usability, content analysis, postgraduate students, academics, library staff, Kuwait, UK.
Actions (login required)
||Edit record (repository staff only)