The second half of a ‘before and after’ study to evaluate the impact of an online catalogue on subject searching behaviour is reported. A holistic approach is adopted encompassing both catalogue use and browsing at the shelves for catalogue users and non‐users. Verbal and non‐verbal data were elicited from searchers using a combined methodology including talk‐aloud technique, observation and a screen logging facility. An extensive qualitative analysis was carried out correlating expressed topics, search formulation strategies and documents retrieved at the shelves. The online catalogue environment does not appear to have increased the extent of subject searching nor the use of the bibliographic tool. The manual precis index supported a contextual approach for broad and more interactive search formulations whereas the opac encouraged a matching approach and narrow formulations with fewer but user generated formulations. The success rate of the online catalogue was slightly better than that of the manual tools but fewer items were retrieved at the shelves. Non‐users of the bibliographic tools seemed to be just as successful. To improve retrieval effectiveness it is suggested that online catalogues should cater for both matching and contextual approaches to searching. Recent research indicates that a more interactive process could be promoted by providing query expansion through a combination of searching aids for matching, for search formulation assistance and for structured contextual retrieval.
HANCOCK‐BEAULIEU, M. (1990), "EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF AN ONLINE LIBRARY CATALOGUE ON SUBJECT SEARCHING BEHAVIOUR AT THE CATALOGUE AND T THE SHELVES", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 318-338. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb026863Download as .RIS
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