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三田図書館・情報学会誌論文(論文ID LIS049001)

Browsing Behavior in Information Seeking Process: On the Basis of Observation of Information-seeking Behavior in Libraries and Bookstores
No.49, p.1-32

Although researchers have discussed several aspects of so called browsing, such discussions remained mere armchair ones and were unable to prove whether their claims correctly described actual browsing behavior.

This research examined the actual behavior of the subjects in bookstores and libraries in order to clarify the concept of ‘browsing’.

Research took place in 2 bookstores and 2 libraries, where 40 subjects were observed from their entrance to their exit. As a result, the following actions were observed: Checking the shelves one by one; re-checking the shelves while a different book is already in hand; picking up the same book as one the subject had just put back; stopping to check the books stacked flat on display; returning the book to shelf unopened; turning pages unnaturally fast; and opening pages at random.

In addition, it was found that different ways exist to perceive different types of sources, and that the subjects judge the sources according to certain standards.

In conclusion, browsing was classified into 5 types, and was defined as follows: browsing is a means of selecting necessary material among many, according to certain standards, while employing every sense available in order to satisfy a certain requirement for information, and whose target remains vague at the outset.

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