Information seeking behavior of astronomers
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Laboratory on Digital Libraries and Electronic Publishing Archive and Library Sciences Department, Ionian University. Information seeking behavior of astronomers. Hara Brindesi, Head librarian, Eugenides Foundation Library Sarantos Kapidakis, Professor of Ionian University.

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Information seeking behavior of astronomers

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Information seeking behavior of astronomers

Laboratory on Digital Libraries and Electronic PublishingArchive and Library Sciences Department, Ionian University

Information seeking behavior of astronomers

Hara Brindesi, Head librarian, Eugenides Foundation Library

Sarantos Kapidakis, Professor of Ionian University


Aims of the study

Aims of the study

  • Study of the astronomy knowledge-domain (domain-analytic paradigm)

    • restriction of our research focus on Greek astronomers, for in-depth domain study

  • Maximization of the efficiency of information services provided

  • Introduction of instruction programs in information literacy, designed specifically for astronomers


Objectives of the study

Objectives of the study

  • Investigation of similarities and differences in the information seeking behavior among astronomers with different characteristics, including academic status, age, or affiliated institution.

  • Investigation of similarities and differences in the information seeking behavior among astronomers with different information needs.

  • Investigation of the ways astronomers use the digital library of ADS in general and the arXiv (the e-print division of ADS) in particular.

  • Identification of the barriers and difficulties confronted.


Population

Population

  • 151 astronomers in the area of Athens

    • the scholars of the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Athens

    • the PhD and MSc students of the University of Athens

    • the researchers of the Academy of Athens

    • the researchers of the Athens National Observatory


Methodology

Methodology

  • 13 face-to-face semi-structured interviews

  • analysis of the interviews

  • online questionnaire, which was filled in by 71 recipients (response rate 47%)

    • The questionnaire was divided into 8 sections and consisted of 29 questions

    • Main topics of the questionnaire: (1) Information needs, (2) Methods of research and use of sources in the online environment, (3) Astrophysics Data System (ADS, the most well-known database for astronomers), (4) Problems, (5) Working in groups, (6) Publishing behavior, (7) Students and their information needs, (8) Demographics


Main results

Main results


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

Greek astronomers spend a lot of time in electronic environment


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

Time in electronic environment according to status


Question how many hours a week do you spend for the following

Question: How many hours a week do you spend for the following?

  • Observations: The majority of astronomers replied 0 hours.

  • Research: about 24 hours a week

  • Keeping up-to-date with current developments: mean =7,20

  • Writing: mean =9

  • Personal information: mean =4,78


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

Keeping up-to-date with the latest papersis absolutely important for the majority of the astronomers


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

The importance of keeping up-to-date is strong mostly among the professors and researchers, less among the PHD students and even less among the MSc students.


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

The more important astronomers feel it is to keep up to date, the more hours they spend for research.


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

Methods considered important for keeping up-to-date


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

According to choice 5=daily


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

Greek astronomers deposit most of their papers in e-print archives like arXiv.org, particularly after the paper has been accepted by the journal


Information seeking behavior of astronomers

What contributes most to the effectiveness of online searching?

Factors contributing to the effectiveness of online searching


Main problems

Main Problems

  • The majority of our respondents said that a serious problem for them is when they don’t have online access to scientific journals, for example when subscriptions have not been paid.

  • Serious problems are also caused

    • When backfiles and older issues of journals are not available online

    • When there is difficulty of accessing digital resources from home.


Professors and students

Professors and students

  • The 57,1% of the respondents answered “no” to the question: “Have your students the necessary knowledge to seek information correctly?” The 42,9% answered “yes” to the same question.

  • The 94,3% of the respondents help their students in their effort of seeking information, mainly by giving them instructions of how to use ADS, specific websites, specific articles and keywords. Less emphasis is given to specific book titles and criteria for evaluation of websites.


Some thoughts for further investigation

Some thoughts for further investigation

  • Do professors that assume their students can search efficiently, make much searching themselves?

  • What do professors teach their students in relation to searching?

  • What is the basic background needed to search the usual databases?


Thanks a lot

Thanks a lot


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