Users, user studies and human information behaviour

David Bawden (Department of Information Science, City University London, London, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 1 November 2006

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review Wilson's (1981) seminal article, “On user studies and information needs” (Journal of Documentation, 1981, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 3‐15) as part of a series celebrating the Journal's 60th anniversary.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a literature‐based conceptual analysis, taking Wilson's paper as the starting point, and evaluating the significance of, and later developments in, the issues dealt with in that article.

Findings

Wilson's article has had a significant effect on the development of information science. It dealt with several fundamental issues, including the nature of information itself and of information need, models of information seeking and information behaviour, particularly those based on phenomenological or “whole life” concepts, appropriate research methods for these areas, and the nature of information science as an academic discipline.

Originality/value

The paper provides a perspective on the development of information science over 30 years, with particular emphasis on the study of human information behaviour.

Keywords

Citation

Bawden, D. (2006), "Users, user studies and human information behaviour", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 62 No. 6, pp. 671-679. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220410610714903

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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