EnglishICT and Information

Information seeking behaviour

Thilagavathi, T. (2016)


Communication has become a basic necessity with which life becomes complete and blissful and also it is a process of social interaction through which people are influenced not only by ideas but also attitudes, knowledge and specific behavior. Only then can societies grow and develop. As societies change fast, its masses need communication. This helps them to gain new information to progress with the changing society. The world at present is experiencing a communication explosion. Good communication starts with creating ideas and understanding. It leads to greater effectiveness by enabling people to overcome problems such as ignorance, poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and attain the goals of economic and social wellbeing. People should adopt new techniques and methods so that there is progress in the quality of life. In this regard, communication is very helpful. The development of civilization thus is directly dependent upon the refinement of growth of forms, mechanisms, and quality of the contents of the communication. The essential component of communication is knowledge. Knowledge invokes an active involvement and understanding to meet life’s contingencies. Thirst for knowledge provokes the creation of new ideas and leads to invention. The thought process of the invention can be decoded for the replication and design of new paths for the use of future generations in the form of writing. This unique feature of human communication differentiates man from animal and becomes the foundation for civilization.information Seeking new

Storage of information is the stepping stone towards excellence. It prevents `reinvention of wheels’ and churns the key for further development. Human energy, cognition and time are utilized towards the goal of betterment with the help of stored information. The information has to be properly stored in such a way that it shall be retrieved easily. Improvement of educational standards and enhancement of quality of research relies upon such storage and retrieval systems. Information exists in many forms such as data, facts, colors, gestures, facial expressions, and body movements and this has to be passed on to the succeeding generations as the legacy of the present society and then to be a heritage, from the past generations to the future generations.

Raval (2013) clearly spelled out all the challenges that we face while we acquire, organize, retrieve and preserve the data. The greater sources of information are the libraries, its main objective is to acquire, store, retrieve, and disseminate information. The challenges faced by the library are information explosion and the ever-changing format of resources. Scientific and technological information produced in the world is multiplying every year. The rate of growth of information and knowledge is faster than ever before and is still accelerating. Tidline (2005) pointed out that the total volume of information generated worldwide annually is approximately 2 exabyte (2,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).

It is also heartening to know that the amazing growth of data and fresh gadgets in information and communication technology helps the clientele to receive more information fast. The development of digital technology and its applications in the library bring changes in information management. The credit goes to Bullis and Smith (2011) for coming out with the positive vision of library collections in the future by moving resolutely into the digital age.

The information flow on all sides brought changes in the users’ information needs and information-seeking behavior. Information needs are diverse and constantly changing (Haruna and Mabawonku, 2001) and this changing information needs of the user exert pressure in the information dissemination process. To provide high-quality library services and to avoid misallocating resources, it is necessary to have an understanding of the information needs of the user. Therefore, to keep pace with the changing information need, information centers have to use modern technologies and introduce newer information systems for the retrieval and dissemination process.

The significance of Information:

Information is recognized as a vital source indispensable for the development of an individual and society. The future of each nation as well as that of mankind is based now more than ever before on information and knowledge gained rather than on any other material or resources (Biradan, 2003). In this information age, all this is felt more by the user.

In our professional and personal lives, we are forever challenged to take stock of the information needed for all our activities. This is stated by Bruce (2005). Information facilitates the process of knowing and increases the level of understanding. It increases the cognitive process and intellectual capabilities. This, in turn, increases imaginative power and honing the thinking and understanding process. It perfects one’s abilities to use the new knowledge and apply one’s knowledge creatively.

Information is power and is the key to organized human life. It regulates creative thoughts and sharpens the outlook, making a man fit for survival in the world. It establishes a vital link between a living system and its environment and communication is the process that transforms information. Cawkell (2003) rightly said that information is the substance of cultural enrichment and amusement. Again Scammell, (2000) envisages information future, format, and access.

Researchers are in need of information to complete their investigation successfully. The creativity of the researcher is kindled by getting up-to-date and appropriate information. Information is equated today with a treasure trove (Sengupta, 1990). Information overflow and its availability in various channels and formats lead to the problem of retrieving for both the users and the library professionals.

Different ways of seeking Information:

A man is in need of information. Seeking information is a conscious effort to acquire information in response to a need or gap in knowledge. Yet it is very difficult to determine the needs, situations, and organizations of information needs of a particular group of users (Mahapatra and Panda, 2001).

Information seeking is related to library users, getting it in a variety of circumstances and from a variety of sources. One basic activity indulged in by everyone and manifested through specific actions is information seeking. Wilson (1997) stated that information-seeking behavior includes activities such as: identifying, searching, using and transferring information.

David Ellis (1993) designed a behavioral model with six activities:

  • Starting — begin the information search,
  • Chaining — backward or forwards – following references in initial information sources,
  • Browsing – semi-directed search,
  • Differentiating — filtering and selecting sources based on judgments of quality and relevance,
  • Monitoring — maintaining awareness of developments,
  • Extracting — systematic extraction of information from sources.

Apart from the above, two more activities have been added by Ellis in his later studies, verifying — checking accuracy and ending – a final search, checking all materials covered.

Problem Encountered in Seeking Information:

James and Pearce (2005) identified the barriers of information seeking as time, cost, skills, and format of resources. Lack of skills and experience in using various kinds of information systems, receipts of too much or repetitious information were the barriers recognized by Tidline (2002).

Harris and Dewdney (1994) acknowledged the barriers of information access as the users do not know their own need, availability of required information, lack of awareness of the sources of information, lack of communication skills, lack of self-confidence, ability to retrieve, delays encountered in information seeking, inaccurate or inappropriate information received and information scatter — all these make finding the required information rather complex. Dervin (2005) predicted five barriers to information-seeking behavior. They are as follows:

  • Societal: those which impede the availability of resources necessary to satisfy needs in the social system;
  • Institutional: those which arise from incapacity or unwillingness of an Institutional provider to deliver needed information to a certain type of information-seeker;
  • Psychological: when an individual is unable to perceive his or her needs as informational in nature, unable to obtain needed information from appropriate providers or accept (for psychological reasons) the possibility that an information gap can be overcome;
  • Physical: such as the absence of physical accessibility for a disabled person;
  • Intellectual: when an individual lacks the necessary training or expertise to obtain necessary information.

The information sources may not be readily available or easily accessible to the user due to poor shelving and lack of adequate guides in library arrangements. As sources are unavailable, frustration results among seekers (Ajayi and Akinniyi, 2004). The users encounter conceptual, linguistic, critical, bibliographic, and physical inaccessibility. There are both natural and artificial barriers that stalk free access to information (Olowu, 2004). This leads to the poor reputation of the library. At the University of Ibadan, Nigeria by undergoing training educational excellence could be achieved by serial publication (Iyoro, 2004). The indexing and cataloguing systems followed in the library bewilder the user instead of helping them to locate the documents. A disorganized circulation system and an insufficient number of books issued are the major problems faced by the user in the library. The services provided in the library are not user-friendly and not reachable. There is a lack of adequate hardware to access information sources. The pool of information found in the e-resources, too many search engines, lack of awareness in using e-resources, reliability of information found in the e-resources are some of the problems faced by the researcher while using e-resources.

For citing this article use:

  • Thilagavathi, T. (2016, August 3). Information seeking behaviour of Researchers and Faculty Members of Avinashilingam Deemed University for Women Coimbatore A Survey. Alagappa University, India. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10603/133326


Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at media24xnew@gmail.com

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