Research Output

Genres in support of collaborative information retrieval in the virtual library.

  The advent of the digital -- or virtual -- library is usually presented as a positive
development for library users. Much of the research and development work being
carried out in this field tends to reinforce the perception of the use of information
resources as a predominantly solitary activity, however. We argue that this narrow
view of the virtual library may be counterproductive to its aims. Recent studies have
emphasised that information retrieval (IR) in the conventional library is often a highly
collaborative activity, involving library users’ peers and experts in IR such as
librarians. Failure to take this into account in the move to digitally-based resource
discovery and access may result in users of the virtual library being disadvantaged
through lack of timely and effective access to sources of assistance.
Our focus here is on the ways in which, in the conventional library setting,
users consult with reference librarians for the resolution of their IR problems. We
describe an investigation of consultation and collaboration issues as seen from the
perspective of librarians’ and users’ contexts and analysed within the framework of
genre. Drawing upon this analysis, we then describe the design of a prototype
network, multimedia-based system which is intended to support collaboration
between librarians and IR system users in the virtual library

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 1997

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  • Publisher


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    Z665 Library Science. Information Science


Procter, R., Goldenberg, A., Davenport, E. & McKinlay, A. (1997). Genres in support of collaborative information retrieval in the virtual library. Interacting with Computers. 10, 157-175. doi:10.1016/S0953-5438(97)00021-0. ISSN 0953-5438



collaboration; genre; information retrieval; virtual library;

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