Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Librarians have used 'use' and 'user' studies as management techniques for improving and ensuring effective provision of information to the users. Many of these studies equate circulation statistics with the use of documents. The book-charge data are merely a representative of finding something of interest in the documents, and may not constitute 'use'. The primary focus of this research study is to investigate and measure the use of the documents by a specific group of users. Users are defined as the undergraduate students in two academic institutions and documents are the books that are borrowed by the students from the library systems.;Meier's item-use-day, Hamburg's exposure time, and Kantor's contact time were utilized to operationalize and measure 'use'. Two types of data were used: diachronous data were gathered by the diary method and synchronous data were collected by the telephone interviews. The results of the study show that: (1) The cumulative distribution of book-use is of a linear-log type, similar in shape to a Bradford type distribution. (2) The distribution of contact times over retention period is stationary. (3) The contact time frequency distribution belongs to a double parameter gamma distribution. (4) The average contact time from a diachronous sample may be approximately estimated from the average contact time from a synchronous sample. The average total contact time per book is about twice the average daily contact time per book for the undergraduate students of the same university. (5) Contact time does not depend on the students' major area of study. (6) The average or median total contact times per student per twenty-four hour period are not significantly different between two academic institutions. (7) Contact times are independent from the subject concentration of the books, or the purposes for which they are borrowed.;Some of the implications of this research study for the library managers have been discussed.



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