Information seeking behavior of academic scientists



The information seeking behavior of academic scientists is being transformed by the availability of electronic resources for searching, retrieving, and reading scholarly materials. A census survey was conducted of academic science researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to capture their current information seeking behavior. Nine hundred two subjects (26%) completed responses to a 15-minute Web-based survey. The survey questions were designed to quantify the transition to electronic communications and how this affects different aspects of information seeking. Significant changes in information seeking behavior were found, including increased reliance on web based resources, fewer visits to the library, and almost entirely electronic communication of information. The results can guide libraries and other information service organizations as they adapt to meet the needs of today's information searchers. Simple descriptive statistics are reported for the individual questions. Additionally, analysis of results is broken out by basic science and medical science departments. The survey tool and protocol used in this study have been adopted for use in a nationwide survey of the information seeking behavior of academic scientists.