The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the law faculty members’ information needs and seeking behaviour to provide library resources and services in a better way. Libraries play a very important role in supporting legal education and legal research. The past decade has brought about a sea of change in the relationship between library and user. Information technology enabled new products and services, and the availability of online information resources has changed the provision of services in legal academic institutions. In this context, library professionals working in a legal academic library are required to have a sound knowledge of the information needs, perceptions and information-seeking behaviour of legal academicians and users to ensure solid collection development, to provide effective library services and to satisfy the needs of library users. Librarians are professionally committed to update a core, qualitative and need-based collection for the optimum utilization of the resources for the greater satisfaction of the user community.
This study used questionnaire-based survey methods. A questionnaire was designed and administered to the law faculty to investigate the information-seeking behaviour at the Institute of Law, Nirma University (ILNU). The study is limited to faculty members of ILNU. Data were collected through the surveys based on a well-structured questionnaire and personal interviews. An in-depth literature search on topics related to the research work was also carried out.
The results of this research showed that law faculty members used a range of information sources to pursue their teaching, research and academic work. When they use print resources, many respondents preferred books/reference books, law reports, statutes and journals. The study also revealed that a number of respondents preferred to use Information and Communication Technology-based library resources in comparison to print resources, with most of them stating that they have very good computing skills. This use may be due to availability, advancement and promotion of legal e-resources. HeinOnline is the most preferred online database, followed by Westlaw India and Manupatra. It is also noted that most of the faculty members have reported that Internet-based items are preferred over conventional documents for teaching and that the Internet has expedited the research process; thus, overall dependency on Internet access has increased.
The findings of the paper will help library and information science practitioners working in academic law libraries to address the key factors which influence users’ intention to seek information and to intensify their performance to meet user needs and perceptions. Results will also be useful to them in collection development.
The paper is relevant and useful to those who are interested to know the trends of information needs and determine the information-seeking behaviour and users’ perceptions for library resources of legal professionals. This study is also useful to librarians who are professionally committed to update a core, qualitative and need-based collection for the optimum utilization of the resources for the greater satisfaction of the user community.
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