Scholarly Work in the Humanities and the Evolving Information Environment

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Digital Library Federation, Council on Library and Information Resources, 2001 - Digital libraries - 38 pages
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This study explored the perspectives and information behaviors of scholars in the humanities. The following general questions were examined: How do humanities scholars think about, organize, and perform their research? How are information sources used throughout the research process? And, how do electronic information sources affect work practices? In addition, the research also looked at two specific questions related to research library collections and services: What functions and characteristics make one resource better than another? And, how can the traditional role of the library as a repository for printed works be reconciled with the provision of virtual, unallocated resources? Participants were 33 humanities scholars from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago. Data were collected by project-based semi-structured interviews, selected case studies, and follow-up semi-structured interviews. Findings are reported in the following areas: (1) ways of reading, including chaining to enable reading; (2) collaborative networking; (3) researching and searching, including collections as capital, many states of primary materials, multitude of sources, access tools for speed and scope, diverse skills and strategies, generic searching problems, and browsing across collections and tools; and (4) ways of writing, including information management, accretion, and refinement, as well as oscillating and overlapping synthesis work. One of the last sections is "Trends: The Evolving Information Environment for Humanists." Methods are appended. (Contains 29 references.) (MES)

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