Faculty Use of the World Wide Web: Modeling Information Seeking Behavior in a Digital Environment Page: 27
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Problem-oriented needs have the following features: the boundaries were not defined; the
request did not always reflect the true meaning of the needs; any one system did not have
all of the necessary documents to answer the need; and even when relevant documents
were retrieved, the problem-oriented information needs may change boundaries and
continue (p. 90).
As Reneker (1993) noted, there is a considerable body of literature concerning
information needs and uses and the behavioral characteristics of information seekers. She
estimated that in the decade between 1983 and 1993 more than one thousand research
studies were conducted on these topics. The significant change occurred with the
publication of the review article by Dervin and Nilan (1986). Their article identified the
research shift from studying the system to focusing on the information user and their
searching behavior. To learn more about individual information seeking behavior, Dervin
and Nilan also called for supplementing quantitative research methods with qualitative
Prior research that focused only on the system viewed the user as a "passive"
operator and thus system design did not include consideration of the user. "Past
assumptions place the user in the passive position of having to adapt to the information-
provision mechanism rather than the mechanism's adapting to the user's particular
characteristics" (Hewins, 1990, p. 147). Coupled with this change in research focus to the
user was the technological changes and developments that enabled the information seeker
to be an end-user and no longer dependent on an intermediary for operating the
information retrieval system (pp. 146-147).
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Fortin, Maurice G. Faculty Use of the World Wide Web: Modeling Information Seeking Behavior in a Digital Environment, dissertation, December 2000; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2723/m1/34/: accessed March 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .