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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: How, What, and Why Science Faculty Read

Authors
item Miller, Helen
item King, Donald - KING RESEARCH

Submitted to: Science and Technology Libraries
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 20, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: A large survey was conducted at the libraries of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to examine user needs. We used a portion of that survey to provide a profile of reading behaviors that are associated with science faculty at a large university. A comparison group of non-science faculty was also provided by the survey. The behaviors involved in reading ga document were categorized into steps of Finding, Getting, Reading, and Using a document. Examples of results in two of the categories are 1) Finding: Documents were most likely found by browsing and 2) Getting: Documents were generally obtained from a personalized subscription. The science faculty behaviors were similar to those of the non-science faculty. This profile could be valuable to scientists and to the professions that support scientists. Science faculty can use the profile to benchmark their activities and ensure that they are meeting or exceeding the average reading levels while librarians, publishers, administrators, etc. can better understand and thereby support scientific information needs.

Technical Abstract: One part of a library use survey administered to the users of the libraries of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville was analyzed to provide a profile of the reading behaviors of science faculty. The survey questions were grouped into the four steps of reading a document: finding, getting, reading, and using a document. The science faculty tended to find their document by browsing. The document was generally obtained from a personalized subscription. Science faculty predominately read journals and books and read almost 50 articles a year from the journal they obtained their last read document from. The science faculty were mostly likely to use their reading for research. Science faculty appreciated the capabilities of electronic document transmission, but had a marked preference for paper transmission. Few differences were found between science and non-science faculty, mostly in their specific concerns for electronic or print transmission and in the uses of their readings.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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