Information Environment of a Military University Campus: An Exploratory Study
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The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is a military university educating officers from the United States and 40 foreign countries. To investigate the NPS information environment a large study obtained data on the range of information needs and behaviors of NPS personnel. The specific aim of the study was to supply organizational units with qualitative data specific to their client base, enabling them to improve campus systems and information services. Facilitators from the NPS Organizational Support Division conducted eighteen (18) focus groups during Spring Quarter 1998. Transcribed focus group sessions were analyzed using NUDIST software to identify key issues and results emerging from the data set. Categories of participants' information needs were identified, including an analysis of key information issues across the NPS campus. Use of Internet resources, other trusted individuals, and electronic indexes and abstracts ranked high among information sources used by NPS personnel. A picture emerges of a campus information environment poorly understood by the academic community. The three groups (students, staff and faculty) articulated different concerns and look to different sources to satisfy their information needs. Participants' information seeking problems centered on: (1) housing, registration and scheduling, computing and the quality of information available on the campus computer network, (2) an inability to easily disseminate information quickly to an appropriate campus audience, and (3) training in new information access technologies, and (4) the general lack of awareness of library resources and services. The paper discusses a method for more effectively disseminating information throughout the campus. Implications for the development of information seeking models and a model of the NPS information environment are discussed.
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