Saturday, November 29, 2014

Analysis of users’ need and customization of information in special and research library.

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -

Analysis of users’ need and customization of information in special and research library.  


After reading this module, you will be able to the following.
  To analyse users’ need.
  To understand the meaning of analysis, need, user, information and customization in the context of operations of special and research libraries.
  To identify how to conduct user’s need analysis.  
  To explain the recent trends in the field of customization of library services.


In the history of human civilization, education and research have been integral part of the socio-economic development processes. Special and research institutions have been engaged in research and dissemination of knowledge. In present knowledge or learning societies education and research are the basic components of societal processes. Library and information centres are the backbone of any special and research setup. For generating new information and knowledge first of all one needs to know what is already known. Library and information centres acquire process, retrieve and disseminate the explicit knowledge in many ways. They not only provide needed information, but also facilitate in anticipation. In the present world, it is a never ending process to fulfil users’ need. If libraries and information centres do not analyse the needs of the user, they will not be able to cope up with the present complex, multifaceted and ever growing needs.  

Information plays an important role in every walk of life. This is proven by day to day occurrences and anyone’s life experiences. Information can make people more responsible and powers that be (political or economic) more value oriented and accountable to society.  

Meaning of Key Terms

Page Contents

The definitions of key or important   terms are given below: 
Information: A user needs information for satisfying the desires or demands.   Shannon and Weaver say that “information is any stimulus that reduces uncertainty.”  The Right to Information Act, 2005 defines information as “any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.”(><)  Information is very wide term and context specific.

Analysis:  Analysis is a wide term, which involves the in-depth examination into phenomenon or problem. In research, various aspects of variables are studied and a researcher tries to study a problem in all its dimensions, so generalization can be drawn on the basis of inductive and/or deductive logic.

User: User is a person, who needs information for some purpose. He or she may be a scientist, technocrat, researcher or teacher, who consumes or uses the information products and services. Consumer, client, patron, end user, customer and purchaser are synonyms words for user or are closely associated to this term. These all terms used in specific context or with specific purpose. But in the context of special and research libraries the term ‘user’ is widely used and accepted.

Category of Users:
  • Scientists
  • Technocrats
  • Teachers
  • Researchers
  • Project Investigators
  • Students
  • Clients

Need : Need is a complex term. According to Wikipedia “A need is something that is necessary for organism to live a healthy life”(><). There are various terms used for indicating need in libraries. These are following. Want: It means wish for something. Demand: a strong request for something. (Oxford English-English-Hindi Dictionary). Require: Require is a more formal term compare to need. (Oxford English-English-Hindi Dictionary). Ask: “say something in order to obtain an answer or information” (Concise Oxford English Dictionary). Call for: A demand.

A person needs information for satisfying some goal/s. All categories of users of academic field need lot of specific and pinpointed information for completing their tasks and objectives. The library and information professionals must be aware of their information need and searching patterns. Library and information centers keep changing and shifting their information products and services as per the need and future demands of users. Library professionals continuously strategize to fulfill the information needs of the academia.

Customization: In electronic environment, customization reflects the user’s ability to modify or change the resources or services as per their need or preferences.

Research libraries: Research libraries exist in learning and research institutions, such as colleges, universities, laboratories and research institutions. They support parent institution to achieve their desired goals and mission. Research libraries collect, organize and disseminate information resources and services to the members of the institutions.

Special libraries: Libraries established and funded by any individual, institution, corporate, commercial firm government, non-government organizations and agencies to support their tasks and fulfill special needs regarding information resources.  These libraries and information centers collect, organize, retrieve and provide information sources and services to their special clients. 

Steps in the Analysis of User’s Need Process

There are several steps in the analysis process for meeting the need of users. These are as follow.

1.      Analysis of user’s need
The first step of the user’s need process is to determine the needs of the users. This can be simple requirement analysis. The main purpose of assessment of the need of users as is obvious is to fulfill their requirements. Need is a complex phenomenon which varies person to person, with organization and situation. Need is always subjective, so generalization cannot be made or expressed. Need is a two way process in which user and library professionals are involved simultaneously.

Analysis of need may be multidisciplinary in nature, especially in research and special libraries. Users or scholars conduct studies and research on various issues or problems. These problems are multidisciplinary in nature. Therefore, analysis of need must be done very carefully. Library professionals can take help of experts to understand the scope of such multidisciplinary projects.                                          

For a comprehensive understanding of users’ need one needs to ask questions continuously. Repeatedly asking questions expands the scope of the field and hence facilitate a better understanding of the problems.

2      Understand User’s Perspectives
User’s perspective regarding information need can be understood by maintaining objectivity. User’s view or a particular way to get information, (may be called tacit knowledge) must be understood or noticed by library professionals. Every user follows a particular way to get desired information. As a human being library professionals, may have their own approaches and attitude or particular way to do something but keeping in mind user’s perspective is more important. A professional must always maintain objectivity, while dealing such kind of situation.

3      Develop strategy
After fully understanding user’s need and perspective, a strategy is needed to be drawn. Strategy can help in effectively achieving the desired goals. For this purpose, library professional should devote full time and efforts. Different strategies and plans may be drawn for dealing with different situations. In addition, researcher should design plan and strategies based on short and long-term basis.

4      Searching      
As per   the strategy or plan, search may be conducted from print, non-print and electronic sources. Database search can be done by using advanced search tools.  Cover all categories of information resources to find appropriate answers to the query. Retrieve information as per need of the user.

5       Analyzing
It means, review the retrieved information from various sources regarding its completeness, consistency and usefulness.

6       Delivery
After analyzing the information, it is to be delivered as per the  demand of the user. The user may ask for the information in print or in electronic format or in translated form.

7       Feedback
Always take feedback from the user and maintain user profile. Every user has his or her personality traits and special way of working or use pattern. Feedback system will be helpful in the   value addition to the system and in designing new user centric products and services. 

How is User’s Need Analysis Conducted?

Special and Research libraries have to conduct research studies to find the users need and changing patterns of users. This kind of study needs special attention and maintaining objectivity. Objectivity and application of logic always leads to finding the truth and reaching at generalizations. These generalizations will provide guidance to design a specific and general plan to provide information sources and services to the users.  Following steps are to be followed for conducting a study on user’s need analysis.

1       Objectives of the Study
The major objective of the study is to fulfil the needs of the users and help library authorities to plan and design  library products and services efficiently and effectively .Other objectives are:
  • To examine information needs  of the users, such as : nature and type of information required, sources of information ( print and electronic ) used,  time, efforts and money spent in information gathering, most authentic sources of information,  informal communication network, use of libraries / information centres  and others sources).
  • To determine the user’s satisfaction with library resources and services.
  • To find out how users’ minds work?
  • To find out the ways for promoting active participation of users.
  • To ascertain the future demands of the user.

2       Methodology
In social sciences, especially for conducting a study on user’s need, survey research method is widely used and accepted as a method to find out the problems associated with the human interaction with society and machines. Questioning, observation and interview techniques are  used as a method for gathering data.  These techniques are designed properly to examine the problem in better way. Before using them to collect actual data, these need to be tested thoroughly.

3       Universe of the Study
The universe of study will be the users and library and information centres concerned to the problem.

4       Sampling Frame
The present study as an evaluating study, it will be both descriptive and analytical in nature. A proportionate sampling framework will be adopted.

5       Sample Size and Unit of Observation  
Users (or non-users) and library and information centres will be the unit of observation.

6       Data Collection
Both primary as well as secondary sources of data will be used to conduct the proposed study. The primary data will be collected with the help of questionnaire, observation (participative or non participative) and unstructured interviews. The secondary data will be based on earlier studies, data from agencies and libraries, etc.
7       Data Analysis (Statistical Techniques)
On the basis of the collected data on various variables the codebooks will be prepared. The entire questionnaire will be coded accordingly. The coded questionnaire will be entered in the machine. The data will be analysed and interpreted by using SPSS statistical packages.  

8     Timeline and Targets to be achieved
It incorporates the time limit for completion of the work.

Total time duration                    :         12months
Duration                                   :         January to March
Targets to be achieved
  1. Literature Review.
  2. Design of Study.
Duration                                   :         April to May
Targets to be achieve
  1. Primary data collection
  2. Secondary data collection.
Duration                                   :         June to September
Targets to be achieve
1.  Data analysis
2.  Report Writing
Duration                                  :          September to October
Targets to be achieve
  1. Report submission
Duration                                 :           October to December
Targets to be achieve

  1. Article Writing
  2. Article publication
  3. Efforts in the direction of implementation.

What is Customization?

American Marketing Association Dictionary defines Customization as a “tailoring the product to the special and unique needs of the customer. Each buyer is a potentially a unique segment” >< Users can design the present products and services as per the need, thus can customize their way of using the services. Various open source softwares permit to change the source code. They are customizable and user or library can enhance the options to fulfill their needs. Customization process can be done at data migration and post migration level.

1      Customization in Research and Special Libraries
In customized approach, a user can view and arrange fields of any open source software or database as per own convenience. Modifications and changes can be made in programmes. User can include or remove contents or programmes. He can also adjust the functions and can change settings.  Various research academic and special libraries provide customized databases and other services to their users.
  • OCLC provides customized  options to users. ><
  • CDL (California Digital Library) also engaged in database customization.><
Area of customization:
Open Source software
Database, etc.

Recent Trends

Library and information information centres are engaged in providing customized information resources and service to their users. Users’ satisfection is the motto of libraries. Users’ satisfaction is more complex phenonmenon specially in the electronic environment. Today users have various alternative ways to get desired information, such as internet, websites, blogs, wikis etc. therefore, library and information centres have to think for  designing new informatin products and services, which have value addition, user centric approach, use of cutting edge technologies, best practices etc.

Now-a-days library and information professionals have designed and opted  new products and services for their users. These are : 
  • OPAC/ WebPAC
  • FAQ
  • Ask your librarian
  • Inter library loan
  • Digital repositories
  • Online database
  • Cancellation and reservation of reading material
  • New arrivals
  • Virtual union catalogue
  • Real time reference service
  • Ask an expert service
  • Online/ digital document delivery services
  • Virtual reference service
  • Information alerting services
  • Electronic document delivery services
  • Library websites

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