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User behaviour – what the librarian should know

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By Margaret Adolphus

Introduction

Ten years ago, the term "user behaviour" in a library context would have conjured up images of things forbidden by the library's code of conduct, such as talking and eating.

Now librarians are more concerned that their patrons should feel at home, and provide not only comfortable sofas and (in some cases) refreshments, but different areas dedicated to different types of study – such as quiet areas for individual study and more open, discussion areas for groups.

But for most librarians, the term "user behaviour" is most interestingly applied in the virtual area, particularly in how users seek, access, evaluate and use information.