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Information Needs Analysis: Principles and practice in information organizations



If you want to provide an information service that truly fulfils your users' needs, this book is essential reading.
Analysing and assessing the information needs of clients is key to the provision of effective service and appropriate collections in both face-to-face and virtual library services. The importance of information needs analysis is widely recognized by information professionals, but currently there is little substantive, detailed work in the professional literature devoted to this important topic.
This new book is designed to fill that gap, by supporting practitioners in developing an information needs analysis strategy, and offering the necessary professional skills and techniques to do so. It will offer guidance to team leaders and senior managers in all areas of library work, especially those involved in collection management, service provision and web development, and is equally applicable to the needs of academic, public, government, commercial and other more specialized library and information services. The text adopts a hands-on, jargon-free approach, and includes relevant examples, case studies, reader activities and sources of further reading. Key areas covered include:

  • what is information needs analysis?
  • how is needs analysis conducted?
  • what are the varieties of needs analysis?
  • how are analyses evaluated and reported?

Readership: The book will be essential reading for library and information practitioners, team leaders and senior managers. It will also be a core text on course reading lists in departments of library and information studies.

1. Background to needs analysis for information managers

  • Introduction
  • Information needs analysis rather than information needs assessment
  • Understanding the concept of need
  • Defining 'needs' in relation to 'wants' and 'demands'
  • Defining information needs analysis
  • Types of information needs
  • Reasons for conducting an information needs analysis
  • Review of Chapter 1
  • Further reading
  • References

2. The importance of context in information needs analysis

  • Introduction
  • The cultural context
  • Information needs awareness in context
  • Purpose and perceived importance
  • Determining the communities
  • Making use of existing data
  • Review of Chapter 2
  • Further reading
  • References

3. Models and types of information needs analysis

  • Introduction
  • The literature
  • The system approach
  • The target group approach
  • The contexts of needs assessments
  • Comparing the perspectives
  • Information needs analyses in information management contexts
  • Review of Chapter 3
  • Further reading
  • References

4. The stages of information needs analysis

  • Introduction
  • Four stages of needs analysis
  • The recursive nature of INA research
  • Qualitative and quantitative frameworks for data analysis
  • The stages of ex post intervention
  • Review of Chapter 4
  • Further reading
  • References
  • Appendix 4.1: Gantt chart

5. Gathering data for information needs analyses

  • Introduction
  • How we have reached this juncture
  • The primary research question
  • The research population
  • The data-gathering method
  • Data analysis
  • Validity and reliability
  • Ethical considerations
  • Practical issues to consider when choosing a method
  • The main data-gathering methods
  • Examples of data-gathering methods selected in INAs
  • Review of Chapter 5
  • Further reading
  • References

6. Gathering data from existing sources

  • Introduction
  • The data
  • External data
  • Internally created data
  • The methods
  • Conclusion
  • Review of Chapter 6
  • Further reading
  • References

7. Gathering data through surveys

  • Introduction
  • What is a survey?
  • Planning for a survey
  • Conducting a survey
  • Preparing for data analysis
  • Review of Chapter 7
  • Further reading
  • References

8. Gathering data through interviews

  • Introduction
  • Thoughts on managing qualitative data collection
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Observation
  • Other qualitative methods
  • Review of Chapter 8
  • Further reading
  • References

9. Analysing and integrating information needs analysis data

  • Introduction
  • Analysing and integrating information
  • The information analysis stage in the INA process
  • Qualitative data
  • Quantitative data
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Inferential statistics
  • Review of Chapter 9
  • Further reading
  • References

10. Reporting on an information needs analysis

  • Introduction
  • The audience and its impact on the final report
  • Validity and reliability
  • The writing process
  • The structure of an INA report
  • The use of graphics
  • Other means of communicating the results
  • Review of Chapter 10
  • Further reading
  • References

Daniel G. Dorner is Senior Lecturer, G E Gorman is Professor of Library and Information Management and Philip J Calvert is Senior Lecturer at the School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

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