The information-gathering phase of this activity is now complete. The findings and major outputs remain current.

In this activity, jointly sponsored with JISC, OCLC Research analyzed twelve final reports of library user studies issued between 2005 and 2009 by JISC, OCLC, and RIN. Findings are presented in a report that summarizes each of the selected studies, identifies common findings, and draws implications for libraries.


This report is not intended to be the definitive work on user behavior studies, but rather to make it easier for information professionals to better understand the information-seeking behaviors of libraries' intended users and to review the issues associated with the development of information services and systems that will best meet these users' needs.

There are many more published user behavior studies than the twelve included in this synopsis and analysis. However, this activity was an attempt to review major studies that were funded by non-profit organizations and government agencies, published within the five years preceding this study, and that specifically addressed electronic content, users' perceptions of their information-seeking behaviors, and library catalogs.

This analysis provided an opportunity to identify common as well as contradictory findings reported in the studies. The contradictory findings, as well, may be attributed to the design of the twelve studies. The two types of research design provide a combination of large-scale quantitative studies as well as qualitative studies that provide rich portraits of specific user groups.

Many of the findings presented in this meta-analysis could be used as hypotheses for subsequent testing and generalization; therefore, the next logical step is to further explore and quantify these findings by conducting large, random-sample online and interview surveys.

The findings from the twelve studies indicate that users want access to even more full-text digital content. As Robert Darnton said, "the future is digital" and "digitize and democratize." Though they value the traditional library services and human sources of information, users are already adapting to new realities in the information world, and new opportunities in access to information resources.



Other Publications


  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. 2011. Changing Information Behaviours: Making Library Content Appeal to Digital Information Seekers (.ppt: 4.2 MB/22 slides). Presented at 100. Deutscher Bibliothekartag, 8 June 2011, Berlin, Germany.
  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, and Timothy J. Dickey. 2010. Bouncing, squirreling and other behaviors of digital information seekers.
    • Presented at the Charleston Conference, November 4, 2010, Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. 2010. 'Make it as easy as a Google Book Search.' Learning how to make the catalog usable.
    • Presented at the ALCTS Program on Cataloging and Beyond: Publishing for the Year of Cataloging and Metadata Research, ALA Annual Conference, June 24-29, 2010, Washington, D.C.
    • Presented at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, November 2, 2010, Charlotte, North Carolina.
    • Presented at the University of South Carolina, School of Library and Information Science, November 3, 2010, Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. 2010. Bouncing, chunking, and squirreling: Curious behaviours of digital information seekers.
    • Presented at Queen Mother Library, University of Aberdeen, September 9, 2010, Aberdeen, Scotland.
    • Presented at the JISC Library Management System Enhancement Programme Meeting, September 7, 2010, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. 2010. What's the buzz? An Overview of OCLC Research. Presented at EMEA Meeting, IFLA, August, 12, 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, and Timothy J. Dickey. 2010. 'I don't have to know, I go to one spot:' Convenience as critical factor in recent user studies of information behavior (.pptx: 1.58MB/29 slides). Presented at the Library Research Seminar V, University of Maryland, October 8, 2010, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. 2010. The researcher of the future. Presented at the 2010 Annual RLG Partnership Meeting and Symposium, June 9-11, 2010, Chicago, IL.
  • Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. 2010. Digital natives meet digital libraries: Discovering their behaviors and preferences for information seeking. Invited speaker at Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) 2010: Digital scholarship: Support by digital libraries & digital natives: Challenges & innovations in reaching out to digital born generations, May 24-28, 2010, Zadar, Croatia.

News releases


More Information

Related OCLC Research Project

External partners

  • JISC (Funding and publication support)

Related Web site



Most recent updates: Page content: 2011-06-17


Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Team Members

Timothy J. Dickey

Erin Hood

Download the report »
(.pdf: 2.25MB/61 pp.)