ERIC Number: EJ1058189
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Question-Negotiation and Information Seeking in Libraries: A Timeless Topic in a Timeless Article
Tyckoson, David A.
College & Research Libraries, v76 n3 p247-250 Mar 2015
It has been almost 50 years since Robert Taylor published his classic 1968 article, "Question-Negotiation and Information Seeking in Libraries," in "College & Research Libraries"; yet much of what that article discussed is as fresh today as it was back then. It has been identified as a classic because it has enduring themes that have prevailed over time. Taylor was one of the first to systematically study how users formulate questions and how those questions get translated into the language of the information system. By studying users and the librarians who help them, he was able to identify his now-famous four levels of information need: visceral, conscious, formalized, and compromised. He also studied how librarians take these needs--especially the compromised need--and adapt them to the existing information systems. Throughout the article, Taylor talks about the interface between the human with an information need and the information system that is expected to fill that need. While today, of course, information is much more available and accessible than it was in Taylor's day, users still have problems finding information--and reference librarians still need to communicate with those users to figure out exactly what they want. The four levels of understanding of the information need that Taylor identified almost fifty years ago remain important factors in searching today. This is perhaps Taylor's greatest contribution--refocusing the conversation about information seeking away from the tools and the sources and toward the people who use them. It is Taylor's human focus that has made this paper a classic--and that will probably continue to define it as a classic well into the future.
Descriptors: Information Seeking, Information Needs, Academic Libraries, Questioning Techniques, Journal Articles, Research Methodology, Reference Services, Library Science
Association of College and Research Libraries. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://crl.acrl.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A