Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The present research project focuses on the user/system interface of on-line bibliographic search services and more specifically on the role of the human intermediary in the context of on-line searching. A quasi-experimental study was designed with 34 end-users and 22 intermediaries who performed 102 online searches in 6 different organizations (3 academic and 3 special libraries). Each end-user was given a one-day training session and then prepared three different search questions. An on-line search was performed for each question: one direct search (the end-user alone), one delegated search (the intermediary alone) and one combined search (the end-user and intermediary together).;Numerous characteristics of end-users, intermediaries and search questions were assessed. Nine outcome measures were recorded from evaluation questionnaires, printouts and output citations assessed for relevance. Results can be summarized as follows: The direct mode was found superior for total search time, overall user satisfaction and three specific satisfaction measures (number of citations, search mode, search utility), search efficiency, cost effectiveness, cost efficiency and search effort. The delegated mode showed best results on total search cost, connect time, connect cost, search effectiveness and searching efficiency. Finally, the combined mode was best for user satisfaction with the relevance of citations retrieved, and search utility.;Discriminant functions were computed to predict the search mode which would optimize each of the nine performance measures. The best predictor variables were: end-user's age, one specific search purpose (e.g. preparing a class project or term paper), the previous use of secondary journals (indexes or abstracts) by end-users, the previous use of the search service center by end-users, and end-users' experience (level) with online searching.
Deschatelets, Gilles H., "Towards An Optimal Level Of Participation Of The Intermediary In The User-system Interface Of Bibliographic Online Search Services" (1983). Digitized Theses. 1227.