- The Information Needs and Uses of Scholars in the Humanities ---A Reviewing of Studies in the Humanities---
- No.21, p.29-48
User studies in science and technology have been being conducted for about thirty years, and user studies in the social sciences also have been growing during the last decade. However, the humanities have largely been overlooked. Why is this?
Schuller suggests that if information is classified along a linear spectrum from discreate “units of informatio” to ideology in humanities most information is grouped in the middle of the spectrum round “argument and interpretatio”. It has also been suggested that scholars in the humanities have research methods and information needs which are entirely different from those of their counterparts in the sciences and social sciences. To what extent are these suggestions true? Do we really know, other than by impressions built up over a period of years, what's the needs of scholars in the humanities are and what information system might be most useful for such scholars?
There have been a few studies made in the humanities. The purpose of this paper is to review these studies made in the humanities and to determine whether they might be used to aid in the development and improvement of library service and information systems scholars in the humanities.
These studies include citation studies and use studies. Citation studies have covered a limited number of subject over a brief period of the time and with a small sample. User studies are also limited, but some reveal information about the character of humanities literature and the information needs and habits of humanites scholars.
This paper reports the results of these studies and compares them and survey and with some assumptions. I think it is time these assumptions were tested according to humanists scholars's information needs. In addition, it is important to review the results of previous studies made in the humanities.