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Lecture 7

INST 352 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Henry Giroux, Jacques DerridaExam

Information Studies
Course Code
INST 352

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INST352 Lecture 7: User Scenario
Still carrying her initial three selections, Leslie goes back to the E shelves and an hour later has
examined 15 other books, selecting just two highly relevant ones to check out from the library and
leaving behind all three of the first books she chose. She knows that the bibliography in the Z
shelves would help her determine whether she has missed anything this library does not own
everything but the bibliography is two floors above her and she is tired. “This is enough to finish
my paper,” Leslie says to herself as she heads to the circulation desk.
In this scenario, several lessons about information seeking can be observed. Although perhaps two-
thirds of adults in the United States and Canada make some use of libraries in a given year,
relatively few (mostly students and faculty in universities) search library collections in any degree of
depth. Leslie is an atypical user in that she knows how to use a librarian and a catalog; the
reluctance of even regular users of libraries to consult these resources is well documented
(consider, e.g., the commentary by Borgman, 1996). For many people, accessing Google on their
home or work computer has reduced their use of the physical library. Although Leslie may need to
rely on physical books for her project, which requires a trip to the campus library, people are
increasingly turning only to online sources to fulfill their information needs (see, e.g., Connaway,
Dickey, & Radford, 2011; Lee, Paik, & Joo, 2012).
Leslie is, however, typical in her nonlinear search pattern; her search is not a neat one that moves
swiftly from catalog to shelf to circulation desk; rather, there is a back-and-forth movement between
the catalog and the shelf, with considerable time taken to examine works and reconsider her query.
Typical of library users, Leslie takes some shortcuts (choosing to consider only books, not journal
articles), reverses some of her early decisions (leaving behind the initial choices of books), and
ultimately ends the search process prematurely by not fetching the bibliography and checking that
(presumably comprehensive) guide against her search results. Should you be involved in academic
libraries, you might peruse Section 10.2.6. The studies by Connaway et al. (2011), Given (2002a,
2002b), and Whitmire (2003) are the ones that touch upon some of the behaviors exhibited in this
Buschman and Leckies (2007) book The Library as Place also explores the complex behaviors of
individuals as they use libraries. The library can also be seen as a place of empowerment, as
explored through the theory of Henry Giroux (see Eryaman, 2010), while
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