The Convenience Factor in Information Seeking

  • Badke W
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A comment about the importance of convenience in academic research has been troubling columnist William Badke for almost a year. He first read about findings from the Visitors and Residents Project (V&R project). The V&R project, a collaboration between OCLC and the University of Oxford in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, was set up to identify how and why individuals engage with technology when seeking information. What really struck me, though, was the emphasis of study respondents on the convenience factor. He is concerned, because, if he has anything resembling an information literacy philosophy, it is this: Dumbing down the research process in the interest of convenience is almost always a poor choice, especially when we have the option of educating researchers to excel. Unless libraries are planning to set their sights lower and encourage students to use 'good enough' resources instead of reviewed writing, they are going to have to find a way to overcome a convenience factor that begins and ends with Google. Badke sees two paths forward here. First, we can simplify our tools without abandoning the features that make them better than Google. The other way is to put academic databases into the best placement possible within our library webpages, promoting those that provide the easiest search process with the least loss in sophistication. Adapted from the source document.




Badke, W. (2014). The Convenience Factor in Information Seeking. Online Searcher, 38(6), 68–70. Retrieved from

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