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Have Information Services Been Successful? A Critique

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Title: Have Information Services Been Successful? A Critique
Author(s): Lancaster, F.W.
Subject(s): Reference services (Libraries) --Automation Database searching Online bibliographic searching Information retrieval Mooers's Law Information Services
Abstract: This paper is somewhat different from those presented earlier. The others have dealt with experiences in the provision of information services through the use of machine-readable data bases. By and large, they reported successes. The present paper is more a series of observations and impressions on the achievements of the field of information service in the past twenty years. In particular, it is my intention: (1) to point out certain failures, or at least limitations, of existing information services, (2) to mention some findings on use and users of information services that seem to be of special signifi- cance, and (3) to suggest some directions for future work. I intend here to raise questions rather than to answer them. In parts, at least, the paper is deliberately provocative and should be viewed in this light. "An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it." This statement was made in 1960 by Calvin Mooers 1 and is frequently referred to as "Mooers's Law." It is perhaps the single most important quotation in the entire literature on the provision of information service. 1. Mooers, Calvin N. "Mooers' Law, or Why Some Retrieval Systems Are Used and Others Are Not," American Documentation 1 l:ii, July 1960.
Issue Date: 1975
Publisher: Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info: In The use of computers in literature searching and related reference activities in libraries : papers presented at the 1975 Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing, April 27-30, 1975, ed. F.W. Lancaster. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 145-156.
Series/Report: Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing (12th : 1975)
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
Language: English
ISBN: 0-87845-043-2
ISSN: 0069-4789
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Date Available in IDEALS: 2007-06-13

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