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Reasons for the use and non‐use of electronic journals and databases: A domain analytic study in four scholarly disciplines

Sanna Talja (Department of Information Studies, University of Tampere, Finland)
Hanni Maula (Department of Information Studies, University of Tampere, Finland)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 December 2003

4768

Abstract

Previous research has shown that there are major differences in the search methods used in different disciplines, and that the use of electronic journals and databases likewise varies according to domain. Previous studies have not, however, explored whether, or how, this variation is possibly related to factors such as domain size, the degree of scatter in a domain or domain‐specific relevance criteria. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the development of a domain analytic approach for explaining the use and non‐use of e‐journals and databases. We identify and define factors to account for disciplinary differences in e‐journal use, outline hypotheses to be tested more rigorously in future research, and test them initially on a limited data set. The empirical data was gathered as a part of a wider qualitative study exploring scholars’ use of networked resources in four different disciplines: nursing science, literature/cultural studies, history and ecological environmental science. The findings suggest that e‐journals and databases are likely to be used most heavily in fields in which directed searching is the dominant search method and topical relevance the primary relevance type, and less in fields in which browsing and chaining are the dominant search methods and paradigmatic relevance the primary relevance type. The findings also support the Bates hypothesis that domain size has an important impact on the search methods used.

Keywords

Citation

Talja, S. and Maula, H. (2003), "Reasons for the use and non‐use of electronic journals and databases: A domain analytic study in four scholarly disciplines", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 59 No. 6, pp. 673-691. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220410310506312

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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