Assessing Information Needs (Aslib Know How Guides) by David Nicholas

By David Nicholas

Offers a scientific approach to picking, comparing and evaluating info wishes, in addition to a framework to permit info companies to assemble details from clients to help details approach layout, and computer screen the effectiveness of a data provider. Examines the function of the net in assembly details needs.The part on accumulating facts now comprises internet log research and concentration staff interviews. Introduces the idea that of the I-player, the electronic details consumer.

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Person who would argue against that. And how else do you get personal information other than from information needs assessments? The World Wide Web, with its enormous information reach, its ability to provide undreamed-of quantities of information with just a couple of clicks of the mouse, and the way it has made information science a concern of the general public, has surely demonstrated the value—and set the scene, for information needs analysis. Surely, also, it has demonstrated the limitations of information use measures (hits, visits etc) when used on their own —something we shall return to 18 WHY UNDERTAKE INFORMATION NEEDS ASSESSMENTS?

The problems encountered by both client and intermediary in translating the user’s 44 A FRAMEWORK FOR EVALUATING INFORMATION NEEDS keywords into those information systems. employed by the Generalising the subject request People, in their attempt to communicate to the intermediary the subject of their concern, frequently generalise the query. They do this for a number of reasons. The principal one is to allow the intermediary to enter the dialogue gently: to enable them to come in at the shallow end, to ease their way in to what the person considers to be a complicated and intractable problem that they have spent a long time considering, but to whom the intermediary comes cold.

What makes the whole matter rather tricky is the fact that most people’s jobs require them to have a detailed ASSESSING INFORMATION NEEDS 43 knowledge on some things and a broader understanding of many other things. Of course, they know which requires what treatment, but does the intermediary or system know? This has to be untangled at the outset. Take the example of a Library School lecturer. Their prime teaching interest—on which they spend most of their time, and have done so for many years—is on-line searching.

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