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Early Integrators and the Passive Majority: An evaluation study of a large web-based bibliographic reference database

Ken Eason 1, Ross MacIntyre2, Ann Apps2 and Martin Ashby3

1The Bayswater Insitute, London, UK
2Manchester Computing, University of Manchester, UK
3Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, UK

Paper presented by Ken Eason at:
The 2003 Conference on Users in the Electronic Information Environments (UEIE2003 - Towards a User-Centered Approach to Digital Libraries), Espoo, Finland, 8-9 September 2003.

To be published in Information Research: an international electronic journal.

View paper (or in PDF format for printing).

An evaluation is reported of user responses to zetoc, a service that provides access to the British Library electronic table of contents database and an email alerting service. Two questionnaire surveys and an interview programme gave data on over 800 users. The results show that about 17% are active users who are achieving a personal information management routine by integrating zetoc with other services (the early integrators). The other 83%, the `passive majority', make limited use of zetoc and do not achieve integration with other services. The interviews reveal that some of this group have a stable but restricted usage routine that limits information overload. The usage by others is less controlled and they make little use of the information they receive. The paper examines the impact of enhancements to the zetoc service to support integration and it discusses the barriers that prevent many users exploiting the potential of services available to them.

12 December 2003

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