Objectives: This study examined the information-seeking behaviors of basic science researchers to inform the development of customized library services.

Methods: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted on a sample of basic science researchers employed at a university medical school.

Results: The basic science researchers used a variety of information resources ranging from popular Internet search engines to highly technical databases. They generally relied on basic keyword searching, using the simplest interface of a database or search engine. They were highly collegial, interacting primarily with coworkers in their laboratories and colleagues employed at other institutions. They made little use of traditional library services and instead performed many traditional library functions internally.

Conclusions: Although the basic science researchers expressed a positive attitude toward the library, they did not view its resources or services as integral to their work. To maximize their use by researchers, library resources must be accessible via departmental websites. Use of library services may be increased by cultivating relationships with key departmental administrative personnel. Despite their self-sufficiency, subjects expressed a desire for centralized information about ongoing research on campus and shared resources, suggesting a role for the library in creating and managing an institutional repository.


information-seeking behavior, basic sciences researchers

Document Type


Publication Date


Rights Information

Copyright 2010, the authors