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Information-Seeking Behavior of Social Sciences and Humanities Researchers in the Internet Age

Author: 
Ge Xuemei
Major Professor: 
Peiling Wang
Date: 
May 2005

Abstract: This study focuses on how Internet technology influences and contributes to the information-seeking process in the social sciences and humanities. The study examines the information-seeking behavior of faculty and doctoral students in these fields and observes and extends Ellis’s model of information-seeking behavior for social scientists which includes six characteristics: starting, chaining, browsing, differentiating, monitoring, and extracting. The study was conducted at Tennessee State University. Thirty active social sciences and humanities faculty and doctoral students were interviewed about their use of Internet resources, their perception of electronic and print materials, and their opinions concerning the Ellis model and how it might be applicable to them. The research confirmed all the continuing relevance of all characteristics of the Ellis model, and theorized that an extended model could potentially include two additional characteristics: preparation and planning and information management. Based on the interview results, the researcher provides suggestions on how current information services and products can be improved to better serve social sciences and humanities researchers, discusses the implications of these new characteristics for information-searching needs, and makes recommendations for improving library services and technologies that will meet the needs of future social sciences and humanities scholars.

Determining the Data Needs of Decision Making in Public Libraries

Author: 
Thena Slape Jones
Major Professor: 
Peiling Wang
Date: 
May 2004

Abstract: Library decision makers evaluate community needs and library capabilities in order to select the appropriate services offered by their particular institution. Evaluations of the programs and services may indicate that some are ineffective or inefficient, or that formerly popular services are no longer needed. The internal and external conditions used for decision- making change. Monitoring these conditions and evaluations allows the library to make new decisions that maintain its relevance to the community. Administrators must have ready access to appropriate data that will give them the information they need for library decision-making. Today’s computer-based libraries accumulate electronic data in their integrated library systems (ILS) and other operational databases; however, these systems do not provide tools for examining the data to reveal trends and patterns, nor do they have any means of integrating important information from other programs and files where the data are stored in incompatible formats. These restrictions are over some by use of a data warehouse and a set of analytical software tools, forming a decision support system. The data warehouse must be tailored to specific needs and users to succeed. Libraries that wish to pursue support can begin by performing a needs analysis to determine the most important use of the proposed warehouse and to identify the data elements needed to support this use. The purpose of this study is to complete the needs analysis phase for a data warehouse for a certain public library that is interested in using its electronic data for data mining and other analytical processes. This study is applied research. Data on users’ needs were collected through two rounds of face-to-face interviews. Participants were selected purposively.

Bibliotherapy Using Selected Young Adult Novels: A Model for Assessing Characterization and Content

Author: 
Carol J. Condie
Major Professor: 
Jinx Stapleton Watson
Date: 
May 2003

Abstract: This study examined Young Adult novels with depressed protagonists to determine how realistically the disorder was portrayed. In addition, the novels with realistic characterizations were evaluated for their appropriateness as bibliotherapy tools. The Gottschalk-Gleser content analysis method was utilized and book samples were submitted to a psychiatric content analysis software (PCAD2000) package. It was found that 56% of the novels accurately portrayed depression and most of these ended with the protagonists showing evidence of improvement. Beneficial content areas were synthesized from the bibliotherapy literature and these criteria were used to further evaluate the novels with accurate depictions. Most books reflected positive changes in one or more, but not all, content areas. Further research within this theoretical framework is recommended.

Appalachian Special Collections and Appalachian Studies: The Relationship Between Collection Development and Curricula in Interdisciplinary Regional Studies Programs

Author: 
William Eugene Hyde
Major Professor: 
Douglas Raber
Date: 
May 2003

Abstract: Appalachian colleges libraries have assembled special collections of Appalachian resources since the early twentieth century, and interdisciplinary academic programs in Appalachian Studies have emerged in a number of colleges and universities in the Appalachian region since the late 1970s. This study examines the relationship between collection development in Appalachian Special Collections and curricula in Appalachian Studies programs at seven colleges and universities in Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. It examines the curricula of each Appalachian Studies program, the kinds of primary and secondary resources collected in each Appalachian Special Collection, the collection development policies at each collection, and the nature of the professional relationship between collection development administrators and Appalachian Studies faculty administrators.

Internet Addiction: Professional Discourse and User Attitudes

Author: 
Tina M. Metzger
Major Professor: 
Gretchen Whitney
Date: 
May 2003

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to assess the attitudes toward the concept of Internet addiction among college students and practicing psychology professionals in the community of Lynchburg, Virginia. 136 undergraduate college students and 28 clinicians paticipated in this study.

Contradicting the initial prediction that there would not be a majority who either accepted or rejected Internet addiction as a real phenomenon, the majority of survey respondents stated they believed Internet addiction is real. 83.8% of students had heard of Internet addiction, 78.1% believed it is real, and 54% believed it could be enough of a problem to require professional treatment. All therapists in the study had heard of Internet addiction, but while all but one said Internet addiction could require professional treatment, 46.4% said they felt it does not belong in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a clinical disorder. 89.3% of the therapists had seen clients in their practices who exhibited patterns of Internet use that could be considered Internet addiction. Students offered descriptions of those they knew who showed signs of problematic Internet use, and nearly all practitioners indicated they had seen at least one client who could be considered addicted to the Internet.

This study has shown Internet addiction is considered a real phenomenon among the population surveyed. Further research should be conducted to address and possibly treat this phenomenon that has been recognized by users, clinicians and scholars. 

A Crusade for Morality: Status Politics and Internet Filtering Legislation

Author: 
Sueanne M. Plaksin
Major Professor: 
Douglas Raber
Date: 
May 2002

Abstract: This thesis demonstrates that particular interest groups supporting the limiting and restricting of patron access on Internet terminals in public libraries is motivated by a desire to maintain their dominant cultural hegemony. These groups, identified in this work as "Crusaders" are seeking to pass federal legislation that would require that public libraries install Internet filtering software on public terminals or forfeit federal funding provided through the e-rate subsidy. The importance of such a law is not its intrumental value, but its symbolic value.

The sociological theory known as status politics supplies the theoretical basis for this thesis. Briefly, status politics argues that laws serve a symbolic function in society. The laws of a society not only apply order to human behavior, but also reflect the values and beliefs of societal culture. Those who have the powere to establish laws also have the power to impose their ideological beliefs and values on the general public. Those who have legislative power see their status and prestige reflected in the laws they establish.

By applying Kenneth Burke's five elements of dramaturgical analysis to Crusader testimony given in the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the Child Online Protection Act of 1998, and the Children's Internet Protection Act of 1999, the strategies employed on the part of Crusaders to pass such legislation are revealed. This analysis shows the techniques employed by the Crusaders to convince their audience that Internet filtering laws must be established. This thesis shows that Crusader attempts to pass Internet filtering legislation is an example of status politics. 

"A ship leading itself..." : a study of two methods to teach the public speaking course

Author: 
Rodney K. Marshall
Major Professor: 
Michelle T. Violanti
Date: 
August 2001

Abstract: With the advent of the Internet, more and more classes are being moved to that medium. This study looks at using that medium to assist classroom instruction. Teaching the Public Speaking class with online-assistance requires placing a majority of the content online and using classroom instruction for individual conferences between the students and instructor to prepare for presentations. This study investigated the outcomes of this method of instruction and compared them to the traditional lecture/discussion method of teaching the class.

The outcomes investigated concerned student perceptions of course satisfaction and preparedness for speeches, their willingness to communicate, and their immediacy with the instructor (verbal, nonverbal, and total immediacy). An instrument was developed and used in this study to measure skills needed to become information competent. A Post Hoc analysis examined student perceptions of learning the course concepts, instruction in the course, and communication with the instructor. 

Developing Comparative Bibliometric Indicators for Evaluating the Research Performance of Four Academic Nutrition Departments, 1992-1996: An Exploratory Study

Author: 
Eric Ackermann
Major Professor: 
Elizabeth S. Aversa
Date: 
May 2001

Abstract: The goal of this study is to develop a set of empirically and theoretically sound citation-based bibliometric indicators of scientific research performance and apply them in an exploratory comparative study of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Nutrition Department with three its peer programs at the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University over a five-year period  (1992-1996). A search of the bibliometric literature revealed much criticism of the use of citation analysis, little consensus about the solutions, and even less empirical data applicable to departmental level studies. Therefore for the purpose of this study, self-citations were not excluded from the data, equal publication credit was given for multi-authored papers, and the two-year citation window was used in calculation of bibliometric indicators and impact measures. The overall conceptual approach used was a limited version of Martin and Irvine's (1981, 1983) methodology of multiple converging indicators of scientific performance, using only bibliometric indicators, drawing on the citation data from the Institute for Scientific Informataion's Science Citation Index- Expanded, and the Journal Citation Reports. A set of eight empirically sound and theoretically justifiable indicators was developed and applied in this study. Of the four peer Nutrition programs evaluated, the UTK Nutrition Department ranked second in both the overall rankings and in the Actual Impact Group of indicators, and ranked third in the Publication Output and Benchmark Groups of indicators.

End-Users’ Perceptions: An Exploration on the Study of Electronic Sources

Author: 
Deborah Michelle Powell
Major Professor: 
Carol Tenopir
Date: 
August 2000

Abstract: The introduction of technology into the quest for information stimulates a need to educate, instruct, and guide end-users in their ability to effectively manipulate various electronic resources (i.e., online public access catalogs (OPAC), CD-ROM databases, and the Internet). A study from the end-user's perspective was conducted at Emmanuel School of Religion, a graduate seminary, located in Johnson City, Tennessee to illustrate the need for end-user education. Over 80% of the end-users surveyed indicate a greater use of the Internet than to the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) and CD-ROM databases (American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and Religious and Theological Abstracs (RTA)).

Respondents, in spite of the age of technology, continue to find human interaction, i.e., personal assistance from a librarian or another student to be a useful part of the insruction process. This study also reveals that many of the respondents do not use available help screens even though there is an active use of the electronic resource. Suggestions to the information professional as to how they can develop programs geared toward end-user instruction are made based on the responses generated from the end-user's perspective. 

Counting Published Public Library Research: An Exploratory Study Using Content Analysis

Author: 
Margaret Grant Goodbody
Major Professor: 
Douglas Raber
Date: 
August 2000

Abstract: Studies published in a selected set of 20 scholarly library and information science journals were examined to determine the amount of research conducted about or in public libraries compared with academic, school, and special libraries. Only refereed journals published in the U.S. and targeted for a general audience of librarians were included in the set. Of the 241 articles included, 77% were about academic libraries and 23% were about public libraries (30 of the articles (12%) considered more than one library type). Academic librarians published 51% and academic researchers published 38% of the studies. Authorship, author occupation, and subjects studied within the subset of public-librar-related articles, academic researchers authored 59%, academic librarians wrote 19%, and public librarians wrote 9% (several of the multi-author articles included more than one occupation in the author list, indicating collaboration among occupations). Possible consequences of a comparatively low number of published studies on the effectiveness of public libraries and practitioners are considered, including a lack of innovation in public libraries, reduced or limited status of public librarians within the profession, and poor representation of public library problems in the overall knowledge base. Participation of public librarians in formal research is also discussed, especially in the context of a practice-theory communication gap in library and information science. Future research topics are suggested.

Changing Students’ Perceptions about Research: Can Thirty Minutes Make a Difference?

Author: 
Jacqueline Lou Kracker
Major Professor: 
Peiling Wang
Date: 
August 2000

Abstract: The ability to gather data and synthesize information is a valuable skill for students, an important life skill, and for many, an important job skill. Yet, confusion, fear, anxiety, and doubt are often associated with research assignments; these feelings can interfere with learning. Carol Kuhlthau showed that these emotions are a normal part of the research process for novice researchers and give way, in time, to increased interest and confidence as the work progresses. She demonstracted that awareness of the Information Search Process (ISP) model improves sutdent's ability to tolerate the uncertainty inherent in the early stages of the process and increases their satisfaction. Because Kuhlthau showed that her model holds across a wide array of user needs and a wide range of ages, sharing the model with students about to begin a research assignment may serve their immediate needs and their needs well into the future.

At many educational institutions, contact time between information professionals and students is limited. Library instruction often consists of one fifty-minute bibliographic session designed to teach the organization of the library and library tool use. If it is possible to teach the model in a short thirty-minute presentation with positive results, educators may be able to reach more students without implementing major program changes. 

Residents’ Full-Text Database Usage and Satisfaction in an Academic Medical Library Setting

Author: 
Amy C. Gideon
Major Professor: 
Carol Tenopir
Date: 
May 2000

Abstract: A survey was distributed to medical residents to determine factors affecting usage of and satisfaction with a full-text database, MD Consult. Using Fisher's Exact Test, there was no statistical evidence that facotrs such as personal computer ownership, frequency of computer usage, and frequency of MD Consult had any impact on usage frequency and satisfaction. These findings confirm prior studies that also found no association between these factors. Analyses of Variance (ANOVA) did illustrate statistically significant findings between database components (ease of navigation, search capability, and program design) and overall satisfaction with MD Consult. However, none of the 73 respondents gave a "general opinion of MD Consult" of less than "3" (neutral). Possible reasons for this positive response could include users' opinion that any electronic data retrieval is "good," users' positive attitude toward the library, and the credibility of the sources included in MD Consult.

The Books-and-Reading Convention in PEN/Faulkner Award-Winning Novels

Author: 
Bonnie Boulton Hanks
Major Professor: 
Jinx Stapleton Watson
Date: 
May 2000

Abstract: This study sought to determine if late twentieth century novelists continue the use of the books-and-reading convention developed in the nineteenth century. The PEN/Faulkner Award novels published between 1981 and 1998 provided the selection for study. A grounded theory of qualitative analysis of the sixteen existing PEN/Faulkner Award novels revealed seventeen categories of the books-and-reading convention. All sixteen novels use at least one instance of the convention. Ten novels use more than half of the categories. The frequent use of books and reading to define characters, further plot, and point up theme attests to tis continued use in the twentieth century in the PEN/Faulkner Award novels.

The Behavior of Scientists in Seeking and Using Documents

Author: 
Helen L. Miller
Major Professor: 
Douglas Raber
Date: 
May 2000

Abstract: Scientists deal in the commodities of knowedge and information. Much of the information they produce is disseminated and acquired from publications, hence the interest in examining how different reading behaviors are associated with their profession. Another goal of this thesis is to examine the reading behaviors of scientists and to discover relationships between these behaviors and the scientists' measures of professional success. To do this, the results from a library needs assessment were used to obtain information on user needs, wants, and desires. The assessment was done in 1993-1994 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). The survey was large, covering many apsects of present and future needs in services and facilities, and so was split into 17 parts, with each part answered by a different set of university-associated respondents. The part used in this thesis focused on the reading behaviors of the faculty level users. The data were analyzed to obtain information on the reading behaviors of scientests and nonscientists and information on the correlations of rewards (publication level, honors) with reading behaviors.

Reading behaviors of the science and non-science faculty were generally similar. Notable exceptions were their different emphases on document types and their specific concerns for electronic and print publications. The differences between the reading behaviors of successful scientists and not-as-successful scientists were generally sligh though fairly consistent among the success measures. The largest differences were seen in the amount of readings and the use of personal funds to buy subscriptions. 

Electronic publishing and university presses: the impact of physical and fiscal size and factors that influenced development of electronic publishing programs

Author: 
Jennifer McGhee Siler
Major Professor: 
Carol Tenopir
Date: 
December 1999

Abstract: This study establishes a baseline of the current status of university presses and their development of electronic publishing programs. A survey was sent to ninety-five university presses that are members of the Association of American University Presses and are located in the United States and Canada. The results analyze the physical size of a press--number of staff members and number of books published--and fiscal size--operating budget and net sales--and whether or not a press publishes journals to determine the influence these variables have on whether or not a university press has an electronic publishing program. 

Respondents identified their electronic publishing activities, characterized appropriate projects for electronic publication, and listed factors that have influenced the development of electronic publishing programs. Presses that did not have an electronic publishing program listed a variety of reasons why they have not entered this model of publishing. 

Personal information systems: journals and diaries as product and process

Author: 
Valerie Janese Frey
Major Professor: 
Douglas Raber
Date: 
May 1999

Abstract: In this study, literature from the discipline of Information Science was woven together first using literature on journals and diaries from the fields of Communications, Education, Literature, Psychology, and Philosophy, and then using field interviews with experienced diarists. The research explores the role of journals and diaries as personal information tools and personal information systems, providing examples of the varied forms, structures, and uses of these documents. Journals and diaries are involved in dual informational roles. First, as information products, these documents provide information storage and retrieval. Second, as information processing tools, these documents provide a means of sorting and organizing information. Journals and diaries are highly individualized and help the diarist resolve anomalies within their internal state of knowledge, allowing them to engage in cyclical processing of information to construct a more coherent and expansive knowledge base. The information recorded and processed in journals and diaries can be new or old, objective or subjective in nature, and cover the external or internal, the vocational or avocational. 

Visualizing Web Usage

Author: 
Murray Browne
Major Professor: 
David Penniman
Date: 
August 1998

Abstract: As the World Wide Web continues to grow in popularity, better tools of understanding, web usage are needed. One popular system of measurement is tracking the number of "hits" (or files transferred) to each page of a particular web site. In addition to the web industry's misgivings about using "hits" as units of measurements, most reportage of web statistics is done as a series of bare and pie graphs or large printouts of tabular data, which fail to account for a site's structure or the link-relationship between the pages. Conversely, academic researchers have concentrated on the structure of sites, but have not added in the usage factor. 

In order to improve web statistics reportage, a three-dimensional web visualization graphic was developed using an off-the-shelf, PC based, software package. The Human Genome Management Information System at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee provided the usage data from their webs site for the month of January, 1998. Included in the graphic were cubes representing pages (URLs) and the relationship of the links, which was built based on a link matrix designed by Botafogo, Rivlin and Shneiderman. The graphic followed the principles of good data visualization by taking into account the aspects of correct size and proportionality, effective use of color and accurate portrayal of relationships.

Autism etiologies as an information mapping problem

Author: 
Jeffrey Brian Romanczuk
Major Professor: 
William C. Robinson
Date: 
May 1998

Abstract: Autism is an internationally-occurring, life-long developmental disability for which there is no known cure. There are various treatments for the symptoms of autism, but progress on a cure has been hampered by a lack of consensus on what causes the disability. This thesis uses bibliometric tools of information science to investigate the carious etiologies being researched by country, by author, and by publication source from when the term "autism" was first coined in 1943 through sources published in 1996. 

There are at least six categories of etiology into which autism causation literature can be arranged: allergy/auto-immunologically induced, biologically based, environmentally caused, genetically determined, neurologically based, or psychological in origin. These six causations were tracked over the 53 years of autism etiology literature published. Abstracts in the following online databases (as well as their print counterparts) were the primary source of data collection: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO. 

On-line searching aids : automatically growing thesaurus as a tool for discovering semantic preferences of intranet users

Author: 
David Zlotchenko
Major Professor: 
David Penniman
Date: 
May 1998

Abstract: As more organizations start relying on users to find information from their own desktops, accumulation of good searching practices decreases and a sense of disparity grows. Major efforts are usually required to build aid tools such as classification schemes and thesauri to organize and expedite retrieval of frequently-requested information. However, vocabulary, domain knowledge, and research interests grow much faster than these aids are updated. A tool for collection, analysis, and exploration of vocabulary used by the users on a day-to-day basis in information retrieval sessions is proposed in this study. It implements a thesaurus with only one type of relationship: Related Terms. Each relationship has an associated weight. As terms are used by the searchers, retrieval effectiveness is analyzed in order to make inferences about associations among the query terms. An algorithm is proposed to quantify this analysis. As a result, relationships are established and weights are updated. 

Technostress In The Reference Environment: A Survey Of U.S. Association Of Research Libraries Academic Reference Librarians

Author: 
Lisa A. Ennis
Date: 
December 1997

Abstract: This study uses a Likert type scale to examine Technostress and the attitudes of academic ARL reference librarians. A Likert survey with twenty items allowing the participants to respond, strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree was sent to 97 ARL academic libraries in the United States. The librarians could either return the survey through the postal service or via e-mail. The total population consisted of all academic ARL reference librarians in the United States, about 2,000 librarians total. Of the 2,000 librarians 158 responded. The results demonstrate that even though technology creates a large amount of stress, librarians are excited and enthusiastic about the resources technology have made available.

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