60 Years of Measuring the Use of Information and its Sources: From Consultation to Application by Donald O. Case University of Kentucky, USA LIDA 2014 • 3 Eras of User Studies • Observing Outcomes • Trends in Studying Use • Why Outcomes Matter History of Observing Use, Effects and Outcomes The 3 Eras The Collection The Document The Chunk Case LIDA Identifying Origins: Some General Comments Three Eras 1836-1935: Collections 1936-1958: The 3 Eras Documents 1959-Now: Chunks Case LIDA The Era of Collections • Long Essential to Library Management & Assessment • Breakdown of Collection Use • Collection/Services as Focus The Era of Documents • What Book/Magazine/ Paper do Users Prefer, & Why? • Rare: What Happens as a Result? Outcomes of Exposure • Shift to Qualitative Methods The Era of Chunks • Units of Information Smaller than a Document, e.g., an Answer • More Emphasis on Outcomes, e.g., Awareness or Tasks • Scientists, Engineers, Managers What is “Use”? • An Ambiguous Word Use and Outcome s What is “Use”? • An Ambiguous Word • Limited Observations Use and Outcome s What is “Use”? • An Ambiguous Word • Limited Observations • Effects or Applications Rarely Measured in Past Use and Outcome s What is “Use”? • An Ambiguous Word • Limited Observations • Effects or Application Rarely Measured in Past • But More Common Now Use and Outcome s QUANTITATIVE MEASURES, e.g., • Yes-No Responses to Items like “I learned something new” or “I was reassured.” • Scalar Responses to Statements like “I tried to relate what I read to my own experience.” QUALITATIVE QUOTATIONS, e.g., • “What she told me made me feel better.” RESEARCHER SUMMARIES, e.g., • “The student’s essay showed how she had paraphrased the material she read.” What We Looked For Years of Samples Number of Full Articles Number of Studies % Observed Outcomes 1950 - 1952 124 16 0 1964 - 1966 146 43 0 1979 - 1981 214 139 0 1995 - 1997 338 218 6.9 Study Results 2011 - 2012 569 499 8.2 Need Seeking Finding Use Potential Explanation s THEN: Need Seeking Finding Use NOW: Need Seeking Finding Use Outcome Potential Explanation s Observing Outcomes is Difficult Qualitative Methods are Better-Suited They were Not Popular Until the 1980s Potential Explanation s Another Potential Explanation: Pressure from External Environment • Parent/Funding Agencies of Libraries Want Better Results and Justifications Potential Explanation s Pressure from External Environment • Parent/Funding Agencies of Libraries Want Better Results and Justifications • LIS Scholars Face Similar Pressure, Plus Competition from Other Disciplines Potential Explanation s Conclusions • Assessing Outcomes is Important • May Require In-Depth Methods • Quantitative Measures Also Useful • Yet Such Measures also have Limits Final Point Thank You for Listening! Hvala! Coffee, Anyone?