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The information-seeking behaviour of the virtual scholar: from use to users David Nicholas CIBER University College London

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Presentation on theme: "The information-seeking behaviour of the virtual scholar: from use to users David Nicholas CIBER University College London"— Presentation transcript:

1 The information-seeking behaviour of the virtual scholar: from use to users David Nicholas CIBER University College London

2 Risk of disconnection, yet great opportunity? Move from monitoring activity to monitoring users Important given composition of the virtual audience & its anonymity Too pre-occupied with resources/content when we offer a declining proportion Content was king, consumer now king Via information seeking reach high ground: establish satisfaction, scholarly outcomes and best practice Publishers/librarians know less about audience than others

3 The Virtual Scholar

4 No PowerPoint puff: evidence base 1.UK National E-Books Observatory. JISC, The Impact of Open Access Journal Publishing. OUP, Digital Lives. AHRC, Biomedical Information Marketplace. British Library, Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future (Google Generation). British Library and JISC, SuperBook. Emerald and Wiley Publishers, 2006–7 7.Authors as users: analysis of ScienceDirect. Elsevier, ; 8.New journal publishing models: the 2005 CIBER survey of journal author behaviour and attitudes. Publishers Association and STM, MaxData. US Institute of Museum & Library Services, Scholarly communication in the digital environment: what do authors want? Publishers Association, Digital journals – site licensing, library consortia deals and use. Ingenta Institute, 2002.

5 The technique: digital information footprints Information Seeking Characteristics Activity Metrics User Characteristics 1. Number of pages viewed 2. Number of full-text downloads 3. Number of sessions conducted 4. Site penetration 5. Time spent viewing a page 6. Time spent on a session 7. Number of searches undertaken in a session 8. Number of repeat visits made 9. Number of journals used 10. Number of views per journal 1. Subject/ discipline 2. Academic status 3. Geographical location 4. Institution 5. Type of organization used to access the service 6. User demographics A. Type of content viewed 1. Number of journals used in a session 2. Names of journals used 3. Subject of e-journal used 5. Age of journal used 6. Type of material viewed 7. Type of full-text view 8. Size of article used 9. Publication status of article B. Searching style 1.Search approach adopted 2. Number of searches conducted in a session 3. Number of search terms used in search 4. Form of navigation 28 Key Features

6 Profiling information seeking behaviour

7 Huge numbers of scholars and high demand for the scholarly product Access main driver. More people drawn into scholarly net (all scholars now!) & existing users can search more freely & flexibly. One site saw 6 million pages viewed in three months Database containing full-text of 6000 journals saw 5995 used in one month. One e-journal database attracted half a million users in a month Spiralling growth

8 Especially from overseas In case of UK Government funded scholarly websites less than a third of visits from UK scholars. In case of OUP journal, Glycobiology, less than 7% of visitors were from the UK. Overseas scholars taking more advantage of the scholarly resource?

9 Many of them are young Students constitute the biggest users in terms of visits and pages viewed, which is largely because they constitute the biggest scholarly community. Information seeking different Spend more time online Some people see them as ‘noise’!

10 Even more are robots Best kept secret Around half of all visitors to a scholarly site are robots. In a few cases account for 90% of views Mimic human information seeking to get entry To do this they need to ….

11 …be promiscuous Around 40% of people visiting do not come back, shop around Ascribed to: poor retrieval skills, leaving memories in cyberspace, massive choice, Google constantly refreshing the virtual landscape Young people are more promiscuous

12 …bounce Half of all visitors view 1-3 pages from thousands available. Bounce in again and then out again. Bounce because of search engines, massive choice and shortage of time. Overseas scholars bounce less and young people more (a story is unfolding!)

13 …flick Some bouncing can be attributed to flicking A kind of channel hopping, checking form of behaviour

14 …view Scholars conditioned by ing, executive summaries & text messaging Don’t view an article online for more than 2 minutes Spend more time ‘reading’ short articles online than long ones…quick wins If its long, either read the abstract or squirrel it away for a day when it will not be read

15 …power browse Hoover through titles, contents pages and abstracts at a huge rate of knots Books now opened –up, motorways driven through The horizontal replaces vertical

16 …navigate Navigating towards content in very large digital spaces a major activity. Spend half their time viewing content, rest of the time they are trying to find there way to it (or out of it). So many possible routes to content people get lost (excited) - leads to bouncing, encourages promiscuity

17 …they are not all the same National differences: Germans most ‘successful’ searchers and most active information seekers. Canadians & Australians most interested in older material Age differences: older users more likely to come back, and view abstracts. Elderly users had most problems searching – two thirds of searches obtained zero returns! Gender differences: women more likely to view articles in HTML and return to a site (less promiscuous!)

18 …brand, don’t go there, there are problems Difficult in cyberspace: responsibility/authority almost impossible in a digital environment – so many players Also what you think is brand is not what other people think And then there is cool.

19 …do not behave like a librarian (a real give- away) Adage we are all librarians now used to highlight the fact that, thanks to the Internet, everyone has access to vast stores of information and they would behave like one. It has not turned out like that...

20 … they became eShoppers Because of massive choice Using a common platform means habits rub off. Examples Two major influences on eShopping can claim an information pedigree: a) Amazon (site design & navigation), a site with origins in selling books, and Google, a search engine.

21 Impacts, outcomes etc In broad terms scholarly behaviour can be portrayed as being active, bouncing, navigating, checking and viewing. It is also promiscuous, diverse and volatile What does it all mean?

22 Dumbed down information seeking? Study confirms what many are beginning to suspect: that the web is having a profound impact on how we conceptualise, seek, evaluate and use information. What Marshall McLuhan called 'the Gutenberg galaxy' - that universe of linear exposition, quiet contemplation, disciplined reading and study - is imploding, and we don't know if what will replace it will be better or worse. But at least you can find the Wikipedia entry for 'Gutenberg galaxy' in 0.34 seconds

23 Access no longer the outcome Go beyond a warm feeling What do we think is good/bad information seeking? Are there obvious outcomes associated with it? Blind wine tasting RIN study Final thought: the Web year

24 If you are a (rare) reader not a viewer there is a book BOOK: Digital Consumers: Re-shaping the Information Professions Edited by: David Nicholas & Ian Rowlands, Facet Publishing, 2008 Key strategic areas covered include: theories and concepts surrounding digital information use the digital information marketplace and its economics the psychology of the digital information consumer the information-seeking behaviour of the virtual scholar searching behaviour of the digital consumer authority and trust in the digital environment the young digital information consumer lessons from the e-shopper

25 Slides to view later

26 Ranking by ScienceDirect use University Times RankingRelative Usage University of Oxford 5100 University of Manchester (Victoria) Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine 1499 Cambridge University 699 University of Nottingham University College London (UCL) 3487 King's College London (KCL) 9681 University of Leeds The University of Edinburgh 4869 University of Birmingham 12664

27 Metrics Research intensive Masters1 (medium) Research extensive Masters2 (small) Student numbers600023,00010, Full-time faculty Pages viewed847,969110,3271,225,40066,500 % of pages that were articles28%25%28%19% % of pages that were abstracts13%17%11%17% Main subject by reading areaScienceSocial Science Medical & Science Social Science Top journal viewedPolymer Education and Urban Society The LancetOecologia Article view time (seconds) Abstract view time (seconds) % of article/abstract viewed in the current year18%17%19%12% % of article/abstract views that were 7 years old or more15%18%12%20% Number of sessions conducted117,33211,552203,3766,781 Duration of sessions (seconds)6351, % of sessions recording over 10 views in a session18%24%14%26% % of sessions using menus44%30%58%29% % of sessions using search engine32%55%25%60% % of search sessions using advanced search option25%26%56%28% % of session viewing 2 or more journal titles50%60%42%59%


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