Convenience Is Crucial Factor in Information-seeking Behavior, according to New Digital Visitors and Residents Report

This paper, “Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment?”, which was presented at ISIC: The Information Behaviour Conference, held 4-7 September 2012 in Tokyo, reports on the three-year Digital Visitors and Residents project, a longitudinal study funded by JISC, OCLC, the University of Oxford, and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The project is an attempt to fill the gap in user behavior studies identified in the JISC Digital Information Seeker Report.

The authors are Lynn Silipigni Connaway, OCLC Senior Research Scientist; David White, Manager-Researcher at the University of Oxford Technology Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL) Program; Donna Lanclos, Associate Professor for Anthropological Research at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library; and Alison Le Cornu, an educational consultant based in Oxford, England.

In this ongoing project, the researchers are conducting semi-structured interviews with participants from four educational stages, supplemented by other methodologies, to explore engagement with the digital environment, including possible changes over time.

Initial results highlight the importance of convenience as a crucial factor in information-seeking behavior. There also are indications that as users progress through the educational stages, the digital literacies they employ do not necessarily become more sophisticated.

Although the project continues through 2014, the initial findings indicate that students in the emerging educational stage (late stage secondary school to first year undergraduate) use smart phones and laptop computers to access Wikipedia, Google, teachers or professors, friends and peers to get information for their academic studies.

Citation: Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, David White, Donna Lanclos, & Alison Le Cornu. 2013. “Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment?” Information Research, 18,1 (paper 556).


For more information

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
OCLC Research

Robert C. Bolander
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research