Faculty Use of the World Wide Web: Modeling Information Seeking Behavior in a Digital Environment Page: 33
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To develop a research idea or trace a new thought, the faculty member typically followed
a "citation trail" through the footnotes within articles and/or monographs. Because of
their subject expertise and extensive graduate course work, most faculty members prided
themselves on being "independent library users." Because academic librarians usually did
not possess the same level of subject expertise, many faculty members viewed their
assistance as unneeded or of little value. Unfortunately, many faculty members assumed
all levels of students (graduate and undergraduate) possessed this same familiarity with
the subject literature in the field and/or skill in finding information. The frustration level
for both librarians, undergraduates, and even for beginning graduate students grew as
they painfully spent hours searching and learning how to become information literate in
yet another research assignment.
Leckie, Pettigrew, and Sylvain (1996) researched the information seeking
activities of engineers, health care professionals, and attorneys. Their model involved
analyzing "the [work] roles and related tasks undertaken by professionals in the course of
daily practice [that] prompt particular information needs, which in turn give rise to an
information seeking process" (p. 180). These work roles and tasks generated information
needs. The characteristics of the information needs coupled with an individual's personal
awareness of information (both direct and indirect) and familiarity with information
resources (print, electronic, and human) available in the field of interest influenced the
search paths for information. As with most models, the outcome of the search process
provided feedback and this feedback could re-trigger or refine the search process until the
individual satisfied the information need. Within these three professions, Leckie and her
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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/m1/40/: accessed March 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .