Humanities Scholar Information-Seeking Behavior: Quantitative Approach

  • Mohammad Khaled Al ShboulEmail author
  • Othman A. Obeidat
  • Natarajan Sundar
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)


This study aims to investigate the humanities scholars’ information needs and behavior in an ICT environment as a case study at Yarmouk University, Jordan. Earlier researches showed that humanities scholars have an incompatible relationship with ICT use even despite their significant use of library facilities compared to other scholars. Not to mention, the lack of up-to-date studies, which considers the significant acceleration in ICT infrastructure and the emerging digital environment. However, the main objectives are to (a) understand humanities scholar’s behavior and their information need in an ICT environment (b) identify the barriers they encountered, the study employed survey questionnaire method. 280 Academic staff from four faculties of humanities were sampled and selected. Responses were received from 161 academician’s staff members. The finding indicated that the humanities scholars possessed various level of awareness in the availability of sources and services of information in their field of subject interest. Besides, they showed different motivations in in-formation-seeking which were influenced by the usage of appropriate format and preference languages. It was also discovered that barriers in information-seeking such as limited of library resources, inconvenient of university environment and personal incompetency had affect their information-seeking satisfaction. They overcame the barriers through personal experience and technological literacy. Lastly, the findings can greatly assist the library in facilitating the needed re-sources and services which could ease the information-seeking behavior. It also can increase the level of satisfaction among the library users particularly the electronic resources and services.


Information-Seeking behavior Information needs Humanities scholars ICT environment Jordan 


  1. 1.
    Urquhart, D.J.: The distribution and use of scientific and technical information. In: The Royal Society Scientific Information Conference, pp. 408–419 (1948)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bernal, J.D.: Scientific information and users. In: Aslib Proceedings, vol. 12, Issue 12, pp. 423, 438 (1960)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wilson, T.D.: Models in information behavior research. J. Documentation 55(3), 249–270 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tahir, M., Mahmood, K., Shafique, F.: Use of electronic information resources and facilities by humanities scholars. The Electron. Libr. 28(1), 122–136. (2010). Last accessed 11 Oct 2012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Quan-Haase, A., Martin, K.: Digital humanities: the continuing role of serendipity in historical research. In: Proceedings of the 2012 i-Conference, February 7–10, 2012, Toronto, ON, ACM, New York, NY, pp. 456–458 (2012)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Al-Suqri, M.N.: Information Needs and Seeking Behavior of Social Science Scholars at Sultan Qabous University in Oman: Mixed-Method Approach. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Emporia State University, Kansas, United States of America (2007)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bhatti, R.: Information Needs and Information-Seeking Behavior of Faculty Members at the Islamic University of Bahawalpur. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), Paper 314 (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kumar, A.: Assessing the information need and information seeking behavior of research scholars of M.B.P.G. College: a case study. Int. J. Digital Libr. Serv. 3(3), 1–12 (2013)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Msagati, N.: Awareness and use of scholarly electronic journals by members of academic staff: a case study of Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE). Libr. Philos. Pract. (e-journal), 1–25 (2014)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rafiq, M., Ammeen, K.: Information seeking behavior and user satisfaction of university instructors: a case study. Libr. Philos. Pract. (e-journal) (2009)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jamali, H., Asadi, S.: Google and the scholar: the role of google in scientists’ information-seeking behavior. Online Inf. Rev. 34(2), 282–294 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Norbert, G.L., Lwoga, E.T.: Information seeking behavior of physicians in Tanzania. Inf. Dev. 29(2), 172–182 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nor Liyana, M.S., Noorhidawati, A.: Ascertain the information seeking behavior of computer science students. In: 3rd International Conference on Libraries, Information and Society, pp. 1–13 (ICoLIS) at the University of Malaya, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (2014)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sarkhel, J., Khan, Md: Information needs and information seeking behavior of faculty members of a agricultural universities in Bangladesh: a study. Int. J. Soc. Sci. 24(1), 23–36 (2014)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Baruchson-Arbib, S., Bronstein, J.: Humanists as information users in the digital age: the case of Jewish studies scholars in Israel. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci. Technol. 58(14), 2269–2279 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Delgadillo, R., Lynch, B.P.: Future historians: their quest for information. Coll. Res. Librar. 60(3), 245–259 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Barrett, A.: The information-seeking habits of graduate student researchers in the humanities. J. Acad. Librarianship 31(4), 324–331 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Massey-Burzio, V.: The rush to technology: a view from the humanists. Libr. Trends 47(4), 620–639 (1999)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bates, M.J.: The Getty end-user online searching project in the humanities: Report No 6: overview and conclusions. Coll. Res. Libraries 57(6) (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Talja, S., Maula, H.: Reasons for the use and non-use of electronic journals and databases: a domain analytic study in four scholarly disciplines. J. Documentation 59(6), 673–691 (2003)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ansari, M.N.: Information seeking behavior models: a review. Pak. Libr. Inf. Sci. J. 39(4), 3–16 (2008)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Devadason, F.J., Lingman, P.P.: A methodology for the identification of information needs of users. IFLA J. 23(1), 41–51 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ucak, N.O., Kurbanoglu, S.S.: Information need and information seeking behavior of scholars at a Turkish University. Proceedings Paper. In the 64th IFLA General Conference, 16–21 Aug 1998, Amsterdam.
  24. 24.
    Leckie, G.J., Pettigrew, K.E., Sylvain, C.: Modeling the information seeking of professionals: a general model derived from research on engineers, health care professionals, and lawyers. Libr. Q. Inf. Community Policy 66(2), 161–193 (1996)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hsieh-Yee, I.: Effects of search experience and subject knowledge on the search tactics of novice and experienced searchers. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci. 44(3), 161–174 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Wilson, T.D.: On user studies and information needs. J. Documentation 37(1), 3–15 (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Stone, S.: Humanities scholars: information needs and uses. J. Documentation 38, 292–313 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sievert, D., Sievert, M.E.: Humanists and technologists: the case of philosophers. In: Borgman, C.L., Edward, Y.H. (eds.) Information Technology, Planning for the Next Fifty Years. Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science, vol. 25, pp. 94–99. Medford, New Jersey (1988)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wiberley, S.E., Jones, W.G.: Patterns of information seeking in the humanities. Coll. Res. Libr. 50, 638–645 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gould, C.C., Pearce, K.: Information Needs in the Sciences: An Assessment. Research Libraries Group, Mountain View, CA (1991)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tahir, M., Mahmood, K., Shafique, F.: Information needs and information-seeking behavior of arts and humanities teachers: a survey of the University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. In: Library Philosophy and Practice, Paper 227 (2008)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mostofa, S.M.: A study of information needs and seeking behavior of faculty members of Darul Ihsan University in Bangladesh. Libr. Philos. Pract. (e journal). Last accessed 05 Dec 2013 (2013)
  33. 33.
    Watson-Boone, R.: The information needs and habits of humanities scholars. RQ 34(2), 203–216 (1994)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Brockman, W.S., Neumann, L., Palmer, C.L., Tidline, T.J.: Scholarly Work in the Humanities and the Evolving Information Environment. Digital Library Federation and the Council on Library and Information Resources. Washington, D.C. Last accessed 12 Sept 2014
  35. 35.
    Ileperuma, S.: Information gathering behavior of arts scholars in Sri Lankan universities: a critical evaluation. Collect. Build. 21(1), 22–31 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ellis, D., Oldman, H.: The english literature researcher in the age of the internet. J. Inf. Sci. 31(1), 29–36 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    de Romanos de Tiratel, S.: Accessing information use by humanists and social scientist: a study at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. J. Acad. Librarianship 26(5), 346–354 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Suriya, M., Sangeetha, G., Nambi, M.A.: Information-seeking behavior of faculty members from Government Arts Colleges in Cuddalore District. In: Kaul, H.K., Patil, S.K. (eds.) Library and Information Networking (NACLIN 2004), pp. 285–292. New Delhi (2004)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Patitungkho, K., Deshpande, N.J.: Information seeking behavior of faculty members of Rajabhat Universities in Bangkok. Webology 2(4). (2005)
  40. 40.
    Wenderoth, C.: Research behaviors of theological educators and students: the known and the unknown. In: American Theological Library Association Summary of Proceedings 61, 180.200 (2007)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Sukovic, S.: Convergent flows: humanities scholars and their interactions with electronic texts. Libr. Q. 78(3), 263–284 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Xuemei, G.: Information-seeking behavior in the digital age: a multidisciplinary study of academic researchers. Coll. Res. Libr. 71(5), 435–455 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Rowlands, I., Jamali, H.R.: Researchers’-journal use and information seeking behavior. J. Inf. Sci. 36(4) (2010)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Tibbo, H.R.: Primarily history in America: how U.S. historians search for primary materials at the dawn of the digital age. Am. Archivist 66(1), 9–50 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Meho, L.I., Haas, S.W.: Information-seeking behavior and use of social science faculty studying stateless nations: a case study. Libr. Inf. Sci. Res. 23(1), 5–25 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Buchanan, G., Cunningham, S.J., Blandford, A., Rimmer, J., Warwick, C.: Information seeking by humanities scholars. Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 3652, 218–229 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Adeniran, P.: User satisfaction with academic libraries services: academic staff and student’s perspectives. Int. J. Libr. Inf. Sci. 3(10), 209–216 (2011)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Quigley, J., Peck, D.R., Rutter, S., Williams, E.: Making choices: factors in the selection of information resources among science faculty at the University of Michigan. In: Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. (2002)
  49. 49.
    Adams, J.A., Bonk, S.C.: Electronic information technologies and resources: use by university faculty and faculty preferences for related library services. Coll. Res. Libr. 56(2), 119–131 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Starkweather, W.M., Wallin, C.: Faculty response to library technology: insights on attitudes. Libr. Trends 47(4), 640–812 (1999)Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Ibrahim, A.E.: Use and user perception of electronic resources in the Arab Emirates University (UAEU). Libri 54, 18–29 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Xuemei, G.: Information-seeking behaviour in the digital age: a multidisciplinary study of academic researchers. Coll. Res. Libr. 71(5), 435–455 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Frankfort-Nachmias, C., Nachmias, D.: Research Methods in the Social Sciences, 5th edn. Edward Arnold, London (1996)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Oppenheim, A.N.: Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement. Biddles Ltd, Great Britain (2000)Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Krejcie, R.V., Morgan, D.W.: Determining sample size for research activities. Educ. Psychol. Meas. 30(3), 607–610 (1970)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    World Economic forum. The global competiveness report 2010–2011. Available at: (2010)
  57. 57.
    Heterick, B.: E-content: faculty attitudes toward electronic resources. Educause Rev. 37(4), 10–11 (2002)Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Genoni, P., Merrick, H., Willson, M.: Scholarly communities, e-research literacy and the academic librarian. Electron. Libr. 24(6), 734–746 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University in the EmiratesDubaiUAE
  2. 2.Al-Balqa Applied UniversitySaltJordan

Personalised recommendations