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Web searching behavior: A case study among the library users of Silchar Medical College

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In the developing world time is a crucial factor and availability of timely information is the necessity for success of any programme. Web has been emerged as the most powerful tool for the instant access of millions of information resources. This paper highlighted the result of a survey of web searching behaviour among the library users of Silchar medical college. The present study attempts to examined web searching behavior of library users, in terms of user's demographic background, capability with web, purpose of use, searching skills, search techniques, frequency of use, favorite search engine, level of satisfaction, Impact on academic excellence etc. For the present study the researchers adopted survey method and questionnaire as a data collection tool. A questionnaire comprising of 13 questions have been distributed among randomly selected 300 library users which comprised of students only from various branches of Silchar medical college. Out of the distributed 300 questionnaire a total of 260 filled in questionnaire have been received by the investigator. The result of the study shows that majority of the user were using this technology for updating their knowledge, preparing class note and course related study.
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Full Length Research
Web searching behavior: A case study among the
library users of Silchar Medical College
Nilratan Bhattacharjee
Project Fellow
UGC Major Research Project, Department of Library and Information Science, Assam University, Silchar, Assam, India.
E-mail: nilratan.4u@gmail.com
Accepted 8 April 2014
In the developing world time is a crucial factor and availability of timely information is the necessity for
success of any programme. Web has been emerged as the most powerful tool for the instant access of
millions of information resources. This paper highlighted the result of a survey of web searching
behaviour among the library users of Silchar medical college. The present study attempts to examined
web searching behavior of library users, in terms of user's demographic background, capability with
web, purpose of use, searching skills, search techniques, frequency of use, favorite search engine,
level of satisfaction, Impact on academic excellence etc. For the present study the researchers adopted
survey method and questionnaire as a data collection tool. A questionnaire comprising of 13 questions
have been distributed among randomly selected 300 library users which comprised of students only
from various branches of Silchar medical college. Out of the distributed 300 questionnaire a total of 260
filled in questionnaire have been received by the investigator. The result of the study shows that
majority of the user were using this technology for updating their knowledge, preparing class note and
course related study.
Key words: World Wide Web, Internet, Information and Communication Technology, HTTP protocol, Medical
College.
INTRODUCTION
WWW or Web is a significant educational tool and has
become a vital instrument for teaching, learning and
research purpose. Initially the Web was developed at
CERN (Geneva) by Tim Berners-Lee and became almost
a synonym for Internet itself (Poulter, 2003). In fact, the
two terms are not synonymous; both are separate but
related things. The Internet is a massive network of
networks, while the web is a way of accessing
information over the medium of the Internet by using the
HTTP protocol. Impact of web has been felt in
everywhere; libraries are also using this technology in
their day to day work for proving various services to the
user community. Feeling the wonderful avenues of web
the library users are also depending more and more on
the facilities of Web for their professional as well as
personal requirement. The main objective of thisstudy is
to analyse the web searching behaviour of the library
users of Silchar medical college (SMC). There are some
other objectices also like;
To know the demographic profile of the
respondents;
To know the purposes of using the web;
To find the frequency and experience of web
searching;
To know how far web is supporting the library
International Journal of Academic
Library and Information Science
Vol. 2(3), pp. 27-35, April 2014
DOI: 10.14662/IJALIS2014.010
Copy © right 2014
Author(s) retain the copyright of this article
ISSN: 2360-7858 © 2014 Academic Research Journals
http://www.academicresearchjournals.org/IJALIS/Index.htm
28 Inter. J. Acad. Lib. Info. Sci.
user in growing their knowledge.
To know the favorite search engine among the
respondents;
To assertain the impact of web on the library
user.
To know the level of satisfaction among the
respondents;
To trace out the problems faced by the
respondents while using the Web.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The present study covers only the web searching
behaviour of the library users of the Silchar Medical
College (SMC), Silchar. The teacher and the staffs of the
SMC are excluded from the present study as they visited
the library very less for searching the relevant
information. The limitation of the study lies in the fact that
it covers only the library users of the SMC, Silchar and
the generalization beyond this population is limited.
METHODOLOGY
The research methodology is a science that studying how
research is done scientifically. It is a way to
systematically solve the research problem by logically
adopting various steps. For the present study entitled
Web searching behaviour: a case study among the
library users of Silchar medical college “survey method
has been adopted. For collecting data related to the
present study questionnaire has been taken as a
research tool. A self-designed questionnaire comprising
of 13 questions have been prepared based on the
objectives of the study by the researcher himself and has
been circulated personally to each and every respondent
through simple random sampling technique. A total of
300 questionnaires have been distributed among the
library users of SMC and out of which 260 questionnaires
was returned back by the respondents which exhibited a
response rate of 86.67%. The data which were collected
through the questionnaire were tabulated and analyzed
by simple statistical techniques in this paper.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Selected important literatures found relevant to the
present study are given as follows.
An informative review of web searching studies by
Jansen and Pooch (2001) compares the searching
characteristics of web users with those of users of
traditional IR systems. They found differences in the
behavior of the two categories of searchers in using
terms per query, searching session length and use of
Boolean operators or advance search features. Ebersole
(2005) reviews the research conducted in 1998-99
examining students' perceptions and uses of the Web for
academic purposes. The results of the content analysis of
sites visited by students suggest that students believe the
Web to be an important and valuable resource. Kumar
(2010) did a study and study result revealed that more
than three quarters of respondents finds important sites
in the subject areas are not known by them, and more
than half indicated that they faced the problem of finding
relevant information. Thanuskodi (2011) in his study
found that the researchers in the sciences (100%) have a
positive attitude toward the Internet and they feel
comfortable gaining information through it for academic
and personal purposes. Above mentioned studies
indicated that a good number of literatures have focused
on how users search the web and discussed on several
factors related to web search behavior but not a single
study has been done on web searching behaviour of
medical learners, so these study will surely help to
understand their web searching behaviour.
SILCHAR MEDICAL COLLEGE (SMC), SILCHAR: AN
OVERVIEW
Silchar Medical College (SMC) started its journey in
1968. It is a government runs medical college cum
hospital located at Silchar in the southern Assam. It is the
only referral hospital in the southern part of Assam, also
referred to as the Barak Valley. Being situated in a
strategic geographic location, it also renders its services
to the ailing community of the neighboring states like
Mizoram, North Tripura, West Manipur and South
Meghalaya. Silchar medical college gets the recognition
of MBBS course by MCI in 1976. A total of 100 students
are admitted in SMC, Silchar for Degree courses and 45
students for P.G courses annually. From 2010 onwards
SMC, Silchar comes under the affiliation of Srimanta
Sankaradeva University of Health Sciences.
CENTRAL LIBRARY SMC, SILCHAR
The Central Library of SMC, Silchar is housed in the first
floor of the Administrative Block. It is a well-equipped
library, centrally located with easy access to the students,
faculty members and other users. The college has been
provided with the facility of connection to the National
Medical Library with access to more than a thousand of
Online Medical Journals. The Library is kept open from
8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on all working days except on
Saturday. On every Saturday the Library is kept open
from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The library is having a number
of computers with multimedia facility. Internet Services
have been provided by the NIC through the National
Bhattacharjee 29
Table 1. Response Rate
No. of
Questionnaire
Distributed
No. of
Questionnaire
Received
No. of
Questionnaire
not Received
Percentage (%)
of Response
300
260
40
86.67
Table 2. Gender wise distribution of respondents
Frequency
Percentage (%)
154
60
106
40
Table 3. Experience as a Web user
Experience of web searching
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Less than one 1year
9
3.46
1 - 2 years
17
6.54
2 - 3 years
25
9.62
3 - 4 years
78
30.00
More than 4 years
131
50.38
Total
260
100
Knowledge Network. Keeping in view with the latest
development of information technology, CDS/ISIS, an
integrated software management package have been
installed to cover all the functions of library.
DATA ANALYSIS
RESPONSE RATE
The self-designed questionnaire prepared by the
researcher himself has been distributed among the
randomly selected 300 numbers of library users of SMC,
Silchar. Out of the 300 questionnaires distributed, 260
respondents have returned back the filled in
questionnaire with a satisfactory response rate of
86.67%. (Table 1)
GENDER RATIO OF THE RESPONDENTS
Out of the 260 respondents of the present study 154
respondents were male whereas 106 respondents were
female. The ratio of the male and female respondents
was 60:40 (Table 2, Figure 1).
WEB SEARCHING CHARACTERISTIC OF
RESPONDENTS
WEB SEARCHING EXPERIENCE
The respondents were asked to mention about the
period, since they had been using the Web. Table 3
shows that a majority of the respondents that is 131
(50.38%) have been an experience of web searching for
more than 4 years, 78 (30.00%) of them 3 to 4 years, 25
(9.62%) of them 2 to 3 years, 17 (6.54%) of them 1 to 2
years and 9 (3.46%) respondents respond that they have
been using Web for less than 1 year. This indicates that
library users of Silchar medical college have a long
experience of using the Web.
LOCATION OF WEB USE
The largest group of the respondents 251 i.e. 96.53%
reported that their favourite place for accessing the web
was Home/Hostel, followed by 186 (71.53%) respondents
searched at their department itself, 140 (53.85%)
respondents at central library, 45 (17.30%) respondents
at cybercafé and only 12 respondents opined that they
accessed at other places (Table 4).
30 Inter. J. Acad. Lib. Info. Sci.
Figure 1. Gender Ration of Respondent
Table 4. Location for using web
Location
Frequency
Percentage (%)
At Central Library
140
53.85
At Department
186
71.53
At Home/Hostel
251
96.53
At Cybercafé
45
17.30
Other Place
12
4.61
WEB SEARCHING GEARS
The respondents were asked to mention their gears or
gadgets, which they used for web searching. Table 5
revealed that 71.92% library user used smart phone for
web searching which is the highest. The below table
show the full picture of the data collected.
FREQUENCY OF WEB SEARCH
The respondents were asked to mention how often they
used the Web. The results indicate that 98 (37.69%)
respondents search the web on ‘daily’ basis which
followed by 60 (23.07%) ‘at least once a week’ basis
whereas only 48 (18.47%) responded that they search
the web for At least once a fortnight basis. It is
understood from the analysis that Web has a great
impact on their life and they prefer to use the Web on
daily basis (Table 6).
PURPOSE OF WEB SEARCHING
The main objective of this question was to find out the
purpose of searching the web. Analysis shows that
highest number of respondents 55.72% searches the
web for class assignments, 45.38% for communications,
39.61% for downloading multimedia i.e. video, audio,
software etc., 42.67% for social networking, 35.76% for
doing research work, 32.30% for online shopping and
27.30% for online ticket booking. The finding indicates an
Bhattacharjee 31
Table 5. Use of Gears
Gears
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Laptop
141
54.23
Desktop
91
35.0
Smart Phone
187
71.92
GSM mobile
54
20.76
Other
12
4.61
Table 6. Frequency of Web Search
Frequency of Web Search
Frequency
Percentage
Daily
98
37.69
At least once a week
60
23.07
At least once a fortnight
48
18.47
At least once a month
39
15.00
Rarely
15
5.77
Total
260
100
Table 7. Purpose of Web searching
Web Searching Purpose
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Class assignment
145
55.72
Research work
93
35.76
Communications
118
45.38
Accessing news and
current affairs
79
30.38
Social networking
111
42.67
Online ticket booking
71
27.30
Online shopping
84
32.30
Downloading Multimedia
103
39.61
Other
9
3.46
emergent dependence of the respondents on Web-based
information resources for education purposes. The
finding confirms that web is an important communication
means where students can maintain and expand
interactions among colleagues, families and other groups
with common interests (Table 7, Figure 2).
SEARCHING TECNIQUE
Table 8 shows that almost all the respondents prefer to
use search engine for searching information on the web.
96.53% of the respondents use search engines and only
3.46% respondents type the web address directly, which
shows that majority of the respondents is not aware
about the web addresses of the particular website of their
need.
FAVORITE SEARCH ENGINE
Table 9 revealed that most of the respondents that is
80.38% use Google search engine for finding their
required information from the web which trailed by Yahoo
11.53%, MSN 2.69, others 1.15 and Alta Vista 0.76. It
reveals from the analysis that most Google is the most
32 Inter. J. Acad. Lib. Info. Sci.
Table 8. Ways to search information on the web
Ways to search
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Type the Web address
directly
9
3.46
Use search engines
251
96.53
Any other
0
0.00%
Table 9. Use of web search engines
Search Engines
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Google
209
80.38
Yahoo
30
11.53
Excite
0
0.00
MSN
7
2.69
Alta Vista
2
0.76
Lycos
0
0.00
Guruji
0
0.00
Others
3
1.15
Total
251
100.00
Figure 2. Purpose of web searching
favorite search engine.
BROWSING HITS
Below table revealed that most of the respondents prefer
to visit only the results of the first page of search engine
for a particular query. A majority of the respondents 187
are satisfied that initial ten (10) results are good enough
to answer their information needs. 41 respondents
marked the 2nd option that is 20 hits (Table 10)
0
50
100
150
145
93
118
79
111
71
84
103
9
Bhattacharjee 33
Table 10. Browsing Hits
Hits
Frequency
Percentage (%)
10
187
71.92
20
41
15.76
30
18
6.92
40
07
2.70
50
04
1.53
More than 50
03
1.15
Total
260
100
Table 11. Method of learning web searching skill
Methods
Frequency
Percentage (%)
By trial and error method
138
53.07
By friends help
59
22.69
By professional courses
41
15.67
By help from college staffs
18
6.92
Other
04
1.53
Total
260
100
Table 12. Problems in web searching
Problems
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Low bandwidth
89
34.23
Difficulty in retrieving relevant information
46
17.69
Irrelevant information
37
14.23
Cost problem
25
9.61
Privacy problem
9
3.46
Unaware of the important sites in specific field
34
13.07
It takes too long to view/download pages
18
6.92
Other
0
0.00
Total
260
100.00
METHOD OF LEARNING WEB SEARCHING SKILL
Table 11 shows that Trial and error method was the
commonly used method for learning web searching skills,
a total of 138 respondent’s i. e.53.07% used this followed
by 59 (22.69%), 41 (15.76), 18 (6.92%) and 04 (1.53%)
numbers of respondents opined that they acquired web
searching skills by friends help, by professionals courses,
by help from college staffs and others methods
respectively.
PROBLEMS IN WEB SEARCHING
Web searching is not at all free from problems. This study
also reveals the same. The respondents of the present
study were asked about their problems in searching the
information on web. The Below Table 13 shows that a
large number of the respondents 34.23% face the
problem of low bandwidth followed by 17.69% difficulty in
retrieving relevant information, 14.23% of irrelevant
information, 13.07% of unaware of the important sites in
specific field, 9.61% of cost problem, 6.92% it takes too
long to view/download pages, and lastly 3.46% for
privacy problem (Table 12)
LEVEL OF SATISFACTION
The respondents were asked to mention about their level
34 Inter. J. Acad. Lib. Info. Sci.
Table 13. Level of satisfaction
Level of satisfaction
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Satisfied
101
38.84
Partially satisfied
64
24.61
Fully Satisfied
84
32.30
Not satisfied
09
3.46
Partially not satisfied
0
0.00
Fully not satisfied
0
0.00
Don’t know
02
0.76
Total
260
100
of satisfaction with the information retrieved through the
web.38.84% of the respondents opined that they were
satisfied, 32.30% fully satisfied, 24.61% partially satisfied
whereas 3.46% opined that they were not satisfied with
the retried information through the web. The study result
also shows that two respondents do not have any idea
regarding their level of satisfaction. No one has marked
partially not satisfied and fully not satisfied (Table 13).
DISSCUSSIONS
Bhatti and et.al (2011) conducted a survey on the use of
Internet by social scientist at BZ University, Multan. 38%
respondent pointed out that lack of knowledge and
training about Internet information retrieving techniques is
a major problem for Internet access whereas in the
present study 34.23% respondent opined that low
bandwidth was the major problem in accessing the web
which was similar with the study of Kaur (2000), where
76.5% of the respondents facing the problem of slow
internet speed. This problem needs to be solved in
priority basis to promote easy and fast access of web. To
solve these problems authority should have to ensure
regularly the better performance of the servers,
computers and others hardware and software, have to
allocate and spend adequate fund for building proper ICT
infrastructure in college campus. Result of the present
study also shows that Google is the most favourite
search engine among the respondents, 80.38% used it
for searching on the web which was consistent with the
findings from Sinha (2010) study. The study result
revealed that 96.53% of the respondent’s accessed web
either from their home or hostel which is may be because
71.92% of the respondents have smart phone, 54.23%
laptops and 35% have desktop of their own.
Present study found that a total of 71.39% of
respondent were satisfied with the initial ten (10) results
retrieved by the search engine for any query term and
they believed that this results were good enough to
answer their information needs which is similar to the
study result of Malik and Mahmood (2009).A study
conducted by Chandran (2000) on use of Internet
resources and services in S. V. University, Tirupathi
environment indicated that more than 25% of the
respondents used the Internet for 2-3 times a week but in
present study 37.69% respondents searching the web on
daily basis which shows that the respondents of the
present study were regular web user and prefer web as
an informative media for meeting their peculiar
information needs.
CONCLUSION
World Wide Web (WWW) has emerged as the single
most powerful vehicle for providing access to unlimited
information. Web is an inseparable part of today’s higher
educational system. The present study reveals web
searching pattern of the library users of Silchar medical
college. From the present study it has been cleared that
the library users of Silchar medical college finds web as a
powerful tool for meeting their information needs. Web
facility has enabled the library user to enhance their
academic excellence by providing them the latest
information and access to worldwide information. The
dependency on the web and its services is increasing day
by day and the respondents of the present study are also
feeling the same. They depend more and more on the
web for their various educational purposes. With other
studies conducted in India and abroad about web
searching behaviour, this study also witnessed that web
plays a great role among the students. There are some
inherited problems associated with the proper use of web
services. The above suggestions will surely help the
college authority to overcome the constraints and provide
better facilities to the users. There is a massive scope for
future research in web searching behaviour and
comparison of web search behaviour among the library
users of different medical colleges of Assam.
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... The web impact has become so obvious that its presence can be felt everywhere. Libraries have shown that this technology is applied in their daily work in order to prove that they have various services to offer to their users (Bhattacharjee, 2014). ...
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This article reviews research conducted in 1998–99 examining students’ perceptions and uses of the World Wide Web for academic purposes. Recent developments in the Web that may be of particular interest to educators and parents of students are considered. Since the mid-1990s the Internet, and more specifically the World Wide Web, has been eagerly adopted by school districts, administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Recent data from the National Center for Educational Statistics indicates that, in the fall of 2002, 99 percent of public schools and 92 percent of instructional classrooms were wired for Internet access (Kleiner, Lewis, & Greene, 2003). This is even more impressive when you compare 1994 figures, which estimated that 35 percent of schools and 3 percent of classrooms had Internet access. The latest in a long line of technological solutions to our educational woes, the Web, and its evangelists, promise no less than a radical restructuring of the way that students access and acquire information. However, some have raised concerns about the value of the Web as an educational resource. Historians have noted that the use of the Web in a public school setting marks the first time that the end user controls the process of choosing the content to be consumed. published or submitted for publication
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Research on Web searching is at an incipient stage. This aspect provides a unique opportunity to review the current state of research in the field, identify common trends, develop a methodological framework, and define terminology for future Web searching studies. In this article, the results from published studies of Web searching are reviewed to present the current state of research. The analysis of the limited Web searching studies available indicates that research methods and terminology are already diverging. A framework is proposed for future studies that will facilitate comparison of results. The advantages of such a framework are presented, and the implications for the design of Web information retrieval systems studies are discussed. Additionally, the searching characteristics of Web users are compared and contrasted with users of traditional information retrieval and online public access systems to discover if there is a need for more studies that focus predominantly or exclusively on Web searching. The comparison indicates that Web searching differs from searching in other environments.
Use of Internet resources and services in S. V. University, Tirupathi environment
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Scenario of ICT Awareness and Internet Usage Pattern Amongst Science Faculty Research Scholars and Teachers of Assam University, Silchar: An Empirical Study
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