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Faculty Use of the World Wide Web: Modeling Information Seeking Behavior in a Digital Environment

Description: There has been a long history of studying library users and their information seeking behaviors and activities. Researchers developed models to better understand these information seeking behaviors and activities of users. Most of these models were developed before the onset of the Internet. This research project studied faculty members' use of and their information seeking behaviors and activities on the Internet at Angelo State University, a Master's I institution. Using both a quantitative and qualitative methodology, differences were found between tenured and tenure-track faculty members on the perceived value of the Internet to meet their research and classroom information needs. Similar differences were also found among faculty members in the broad discipline areas of the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Tenure-track faculty members reported a higher average Internet use per week than tenured faculty members. Based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with seven tenured and seven tenure-track faculty members, an Internet Information Seeking Activities Model was developed to describe the information seeking activities on the Internet by faculty members at Angelo State University. The model consisted of four basic stages of activities: "Gathering," "Validating," "Linking" with a sub-stage of "Re-validating," and "Monitoring." There were two parallel stages included in the model. These parallel stages were "Communicating" and "Mentoring." The Internet Information Seeking Activities Model was compared to the behavioral model of information seeking by faculty members developed by Ellis. The Internet Model placed a greater emphasis on validating information retrieved from the Internet. Otherwise there were no other substantive changes to Ellis' model.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Fortin, Maurice G.
Partner: UNT Libraries