ERIC Number: ED309775
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Apr-11
Reference Count: N/A
User Persistence in Scanning LCS Postings: A Report to the Council on Library Resources.
Wiberley, Stephen E., Jr.; And Others
This study sought to determine the levels of persistence in scanning postings that are typical of users of one online public information system, LCS (Library Computer System), as it was configured in Illinois in 1987. The study involved observation of users doing searches in an academic library, questioning them about what they had done, and then analyzing the system transaction log of those searches. The users' reports about their searches were then compared with the machine-recorded transcriptions of those searches. Major findings of the study include: (1) users reporting overload also reported finding a significantly smaller number of postings than other users and were likely to have experienced overload in the past, suggesting that they have information processing capacities or search styles that inhibit their persistence; (2) the median number of postings considered to be "too many" by all of the users was 15; (3) more users whose searches retrieved between 15 and 30 postings displayed records of all postings than ceased searching without displaying any records; and (4) users' persistence falls off significantly when the number of postings exceeds more than 30. These findings suggest that surveying users about their preferences for the length of a list of references they are willing to scan on an online public information system will underestimate their persistence in actually scanning lists of references. They also suggest that system designers may defer providing help for users in coping with large number of postings until that number reaches 30. A copy of the user questionnaire is appended. (6 references) (BBM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Council on Library Resources, Inc., Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Chicago Univ., IL. Library.