Module Identifier DS31520  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Ms Anoush Simon  
Semester Available all semesters  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Report on a user group study of up to 3,00 words - weighted 60%. 
Semester Assessment Critical evaluation review of a specific electronic source - weighted 40%. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

Brief description

People are surrounded by information, which they receive and disseminate constantly. Users, either individually or as members of a group, obtain information from a bewildering variety of places, using a constantly changing range of sources, including formal and informal, published and unpublished, print and electronic, which ideally should reflect the particular information need being met. This module aims to examine what information sources are used by various users, for what purposes and to meet what needs. it will examine how to investigate the information needs and use of particular user groups, what information tools provided access to formal/informal sources, including various bibliographies, abstracting and indexing services, and Internet search engines, and what the particular information functions are of certain information sources. Given the increasing facility with which users can undertake their own searching in the expanding electronic information environment, this module will also examine how users might evaluate the information sources they use.


The module adopts a user-centred approach to the study of information use and information sources. It examines what sources are used by particular user groups and why. Practical experience is provided in using various information tools, such as the Internet and other electronic information resources, bibliographies and bibliographic utilities, which provide users with access to the information they require, either directly or indirectly. As more users are now involved in searching for their own information, the module will also examine how to evaluate sources of information, especially those available on the world wide web.
The areas covered in this module will include:
-Definitions of information, the range of information sources: formal and informal sources of information;
-Online subject bibliographies and databases;
-The Internet as a source of information; other electronic resources;
-The information needs of various user groups/individuals;
-Evaluating information sources;
-The role of the information professional as trainer

Reading Lists

** Recommended Background
Bradley, Phil The advanced internet searchers handbook 2nd. London: LA publishing
Case, Donald (2002) Looking for information: a survey of research on information seeking, needs and behaviour New York: Academic Press
Chowdhury, G.G. and Sudatta Chowdhury (2001) Information sources and searching on the world wide web London: LA Publishing
Cooke, Alison (2001) A guide to finding quality information on the Internet: selection and evaluation strategies 2nd. London: LA Publishing
Nicholas, David (2000) Assessing information needs: tools, techniques and concepts for the internet age 2nd. London: Aslib-IMI
Raddon, Rosemary and Christine Smith (1998) Information needs of refugee groups Boston Spa, BLRandLC
Sauers, Michael P (2001) Using the Internet as a reference tool: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians London: LA Publishing
Williams, Peter and David Nicholas (2001) The Internet and the changing information environment London: Aslib-IMI

Wilson, Tom (1981) On user studies and information needs Journal of Documentation 37, pp3-15
Wilson, Tom (2000) Recent rends in user studies: action research and qualitative methods Information Research 5.3. Online. Available:

Web Page/Sites
Resource Discovery Network (30/10/2002) Resource Discovery Network, HP. 1999 Online JISC. Available at:
University of Wales, Aberystwyth (30/10/2002) Electronic Information Resources. Hp. February 2002 Online. University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Available:


This module is at CQFW Level 6