User Needs Assessment of Information Seeking Activities of MIT Students - Spring 2006
Author(s)Hennig, Nicole; Gabridge, Tracy; Gaskell, Millicent; Bartley, Maggie; Duke, Darcy; Quirion, Christine; Skuce, Stephen; Stout, Amy; Duranceau, Ellen Finnie; ... Show more Show less
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The SFX/Verde Group was authorized to complete a user needs assessment in the form of a Photo Diary Study with MIT students in the spring of 2006. The goal of the study was to inform the MIT Libraries of online tool improvements that should be implemented to meet our most pressing user needs. Sixteen graduate students and sixteen undergraduate students participated in offering a fascinating glimpse into the information-seeking aspects of their academic lives. The team categorized user behaviors into goals and tasks and then analyzed the 277 goals and tasks and the 507 methods shared with us by the students in the study. The study yielded the following priorities for the Libraries' online tools: Make discovery easier and more effective. Incorporate trusted networks in finding tools. Continue to put links to the Libraries' services and resources where the users are. The study also showed that the students used a variety of highly successful strategies for performing quick lookups of information and finding specific known items. Finally, while the assessment focused on aspects of the students' work related to online tools, it also yielded rich information that could be useful in improving other aspects of the Libraries' services.
user needs, usability, information seeking, MIT students, search, discovery
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