Faculty Use of the World Wide Web: Modeling Information Seeking Behavior in a Digital Environment Page: 39
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related to faculty members, she did offer insights on what factors an individual used to
determine the relevancy of information retrieved on a particular topic. She conducted
extensive interviews with her subjects. From these interviews, she concluded there were
four major themes pertaining to why they sought information: "information and
knowledge sources, uncertainties, endurance and coordination, and relationships"
(p. 127). For these new students seeking information on their programs, relevance was
most influenced by "situational differences, individual expectations, the perceived
credibility of information sources, and the timing of the presentation of particular kinds
of information" (p. 128). Although Thomas was not studying information retrieval in an
on-line environment, the last two factors ("the perceived credibility of information
sources, and the timing of the presentation of particular kinds of information")
influencing relevance could easily be applied to information found on the Intemrnet.
Walster (1994) studied the adaptability of the Fishbein and Ajzen model of
attitude-behavior consistency to library and information science research topics. The
Fishbein and Ajzen model tried to provide a framework to develop a connection between
"beliefs," "attitudes," "subjective norms," "intentions," and "actual behaviors." The
model depicted a linear progression from an individual's beliefs as modified and
weighted by the individual's attitudes and the perceived influences of others ("subjective
norms") on the intentions and behavior or actions.
In essence, the model attempted to provide an explanation of how an individual
could hold certain beliefs; but, their actions/behaviors did not necessarily reflect those
beliefs. Specifically, the model studied how one's attitudes (strength of likes and
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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/m1/46/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .