Highlights the major trends in information needs and use in a survey of the literature from the later 1940s to the present time. The shortcomings of early studies, particularly questionnaire surveys, are found to be defective methodology and shallow conceptualization. More sophisticated and refined techniques were introduced in the mid 1960s leading to more empirical research and to the study of informal transmission systems. The 1970s still revealed a need for greater conceptualization. New paradigms and approaches emerged in the 1980s leading to considerations of the environment in which information is used and distinctions between the cognitive and social aspects of information.
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