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Title: A survey of the information needs of visually impaired library users
Author: LI Wanbin ; LI Yanna
Source: Chinese Journal of Library and Information Science
Issued Date: 2014-03-25
Volume: 7, Issue:1, Pages:57-68
Keyword: Public library ; Visually impaired user ; Information need
Subject: 编辑出版
Corresponding Author: Li Wanbin (E-mail: wanbin@szlib.gov.cn)
Abstract:
Purpose: The research aims to investigate the information needs of visually impaired library users in China in order to increase our understanding of these users and help the Chinese public libraries improve their services for them.

Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire survey was used to study the library users' information needs. Eleven large public libraries in different areas of China, which were pioneers in implementing services for visually impaired people, were chosen to conduct the survey. Data analysis was based on 97 valid questionnaires retrieved.

Findings: Radio and television were still the preferred sources of information for visually impaired users. In information seeking, they had a strong preference for obtaining information in the most convenient way, and accessing a vast amount of information, which was updated quickly. They paid more attention to the information closely related to their work and life. Their purposes of seeking information were mainly for learning, relaxation and intercommunication. Visually impaired users felt some barriers in their access to library services such as a lack of time or a sighted companion who can come along for the trip to the library. Moreover, it was difficult for them to use the Internet to search for information, because many websites do not support the auxiliary software designed especially for visually impaired users or the websites offer only a paid subscriber service.

Research limitations: A majority of the respondents were young and middle-aged people and engaged in work. The sample size needs to be enlarged, and different groups of users such as old people and students should be included to yield more useful results.

Practical implications: The survey results provide insights into the information needs of the Chinese visually impaired library users. Meanwhile, the research can serve as a reference source for the future studies of the service for visually impaired library users.

Originality/value: So far, few studies were conducted to investigate the information needs of visually impaired library users in China.
English Abstract:
Purpose: The research aims to investigate the information needs of visually impaired library users in China in order to increase our understanding of these users and help the Chinese public libraries improve their services for them.

Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire survey was used to study the library users' information needs. Eleven large public libraries in different areas of China, which were pioneers in implementing services for visually impaired people, were chosen to conduct the survey. Data analysis was based on 97 valid questionnaires retrieved.

Findings: Radio and television were still the preferred sources of information for visually impaired users. In information seeking, they had a strong preference for obtaining information in the most convenient way, and accessing a vast amount of information, which was updated quickly. They paid more attention to the information closely related to their work and life. Their purposes of seeking information were mainly for learning, relaxation and intercommunication. Visually impaired users felt some barriers in their access to library services such as a lack of time or a sighted companion who can come along for the trip to the library. Moreover, it was difficult for them to use the Internet to search for information, because many websites do not support the auxiliary software designed especially for visually impaired users or the websites offer only a paid subscriber service.

Research limitations: A majority of the respondents were young and middle-aged people and engaged in work. The sample size needs to be enlarged, and different groups of users such as old people and students should be included to yield more useful results.

Practical implications: The survey results provide insights into the information needs of the Chinese visually impaired library users. Meanwhile, the research can serve as a reference source for the future studies of the service for visually impaired library users.

Originality/value: So far, few studies were conducted to investigate the information needs of visually impaired library users in China.
Related URLs: 查看原文
Content Type: 期刊论文
URI: http://ir.las.ac.cn/handle/12502/6820
Appears in Collections:Chinese Journal of Library and Information Science-2014_期刊论文

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Recommended Citation:
LI Wanbin,LI Yanna. A survey of the information needs of visually impaired library users[J]. Chinese Journal of Library and Information Science,2014,7(1):57-68.
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