Bibliotekariers manuella sökstrategier: en undersökning från 1994-95 på två folkbibliotek
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this Master’s thesis is to investigate how librarians solve difficult reference questions. The aim is to discuss the nature of reference work – do librarians make conscious decisions regarding search strategies or do they rely principally on their instincts, or simply chance. The thesis is a qualitative study. The main material consists of 36 actual reference transactions that were gathered using the observation method during a five week period at two public libraries in 1994-95. Since the study was undertaken before “the Internet revolution” its main focus is on manual searches. To gain a deeper understanding of the reference process and the librarians’ views on search strategies five interviews with a selection of the observed librarians were also performed. This empirical material was then used to compare with the reference process as described in theory by – mainly – William A. Katz, Denis Grogan and Marcia J. Bates. The study shows that answering difficult reference questions can be a highly creative task and that the approach favoured by Grogan and Bates, which consists of search strategies and tactics rather than detailed charts, is the most consistent with actual practice. The study further shows that librarians’ views on whether or not they consciously use search strategies vary greatly and that either way they have a difficult time expressing these strategies.
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