Application of diagnostic constructs to query negotiation in reference service

Michael Afolabi (Department of Library and Information Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 1 December 1996


Provides a review of diagnostic constructs propounded by psychologists. Concludes that Robinson’s construct is the most comprehensive. His construct classified the client’s needs into the following categories: personal maladjustment, conflict with significant others, lack of knowledge, immaturity and lack of skill. Applies these categories to classify the information seeker’s need. Describes an interview held with the reference librarian of Kashim Ibrahim Library, which revealed that the categories of Robinson’s construct applied to several information seekers who came to the reference division of the library with queries from 1987 to 1995. Information seekers’ pressing need was user education. Because the majority of students did not participate in the library orientation programme, they lacked the necessary skill in the use of the library. The construct can be usefully applied by reference librarians in classifying information seekers based on their needs through a process of diagnosis.



Afolabi, M. (1996), "Application of diagnostic constructs to query negotiation in reference service", Library Review, Vol. 45 No. 8, pp. 25-32.

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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