Information Seeking Behavior of Visually Impaired Students in Maulana Azad Library, AMU: A Survey.

Author:Fatima, Nishat
  1. Introduction

    Information seeking behavior is a complex activity and refers to strategies for locating the information. Mainly it has three elements: People, information and systems. Mick (1980) stated that the information producing and information seeking behavior are closely linked and are the reasons why most information systems are not better accepted as they fail to provide linkage between the two activities.

    In Any library or information system, the user study plays a vital role in planning, designing and introducing new information services to assess the quality of services and their utilities. In last 20 years most of the studies involved the information seeking behavior of researchers and scientists. Information seeking has only been studied in the general population and a crucial population was always left behind, i.e. visually impaired persons. Information seeking behavior differs among every user groups. Libraries must understand the information needs of its every user group in order to address those needs. The main reason for choosing this population is because these scholars have never been investigated before as a separate group of users. Visually impaired users required to more attention, more facilities and better services for getting information.

  2. Profile of the Library

    Maulana Azad Library is the Central Library of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and one of the largest university library having about 18,00,000 documents including books, periodicals, newspapers, theses, dissertations, CDs, databases, talking books, etc. It comprises 110 sister libraries (college/departmental).The Library has different divisions like acquisition section, circulation division, reference division, oriental division, manuscript division, Braille section, etc and provide a number of services to its users such as circulation service, reference service, bibliographic services, inter library loan, reprographic service, press clipping, print and photography service, etc.

  3. Review Literature

    Sahib (n.d.) investigated the information seeking behavior of blind searchers on the web. The author carried out a comparative analysis of information seeking behavior between 15 blind and 15 sighted searchers while they completed complex search tasks online. For this a search interface was also designed and implemented that was accessible as well as usable for visually impaired users and identified significant differences at various stages of the information seeking process like query formulation, results exploration etc.

    Williamson, Schauder and Bow (2000) conducted a study to know the information seeking behavior of blind and sighted impaired persons in using internet in their personal as well as in social lives. In their study they addressed the information sources, the issues of information needs and the role of the internet in meeting the information needs of blind and sighted persons and also the obstacles to using the internet.

    Charles (2005) suggested disabilities training for library staff to serve the better library services to disabled users. Because there is a need for staff to know how to fulfill the information needs and requirements of disabled users who want different resources, services and most important assistive technologies.

    Beverley. Bath and Barber (2007) analyzed which two existing models of information behavior could explain the information behavior of visually impaired people for seeking health and social care information. For this the authors studied two established models i.e. Moore's model of social information need and Wilson's model of information behavior.

    Kouroupetroglou, Salampasis and Manitsaris (2008) analyzed the navigation behavior of blind users by providing them Browsing Shortcuts (BSs) mechanism. The study showed that the mechanism significantly affected blind users' behavior when they used the BSs feature. Because in new BSs there were certain rudiments in every web page and every web page was different in purpose and content and offer shortcuts of list regularly.

    Kwak and Bae (2009) carried out a case study to test the usability of information for develop the accessibility of information for the blind which was provided by LG Digital Talking Book (LG DTB) Library. The services are provided by LG DTB anytime, anywhere to blinds users using mobile phones with the automated library access process. The authors found that blind users faced many problems like late updates of new publications, unbalanced subject areas, and lack of educational contents.

    Van Puffelen (2009) examined the ICT related skills and needs of blind and visually impaired people. The target groups of the study are young from 10-14 years and elderly 55 and above people. The study showed that young visually impaired users need ICT skills for communicate with others and also for their educational opportunities. For elderly visually disabled persons ICT skills are important to get and stay in touch with peer groups, government institutions, and with services related to their disabilities.

    Power and Lebeau (2009) conducted a study to know how well academic libraries usually serve the visually impaired users through their websites, because the websites of libraries are the digital way to identify the library services. For this type of information available to visually impaired persons, how much information available and how it is represented on libraries websites were observed.

    Bishop and Rhind (2011) discovered the factors which characterize the...

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