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Information seeking behavior of chemists: a transaction log analysis of referral URLs

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Abstract

This study reports an analysis of referral URL data by Cornell University IP address from the American Chemical Society servers. The goal of this work is to better understand the tools used and pathways taken when scientists connect to electronic journals. While various methods of referral were identified in this study, most individuals were referred infrequently and followed few and consistent pathways each time they connected. The relationship between the number and types of referrals followed an inverse-square law. Whereas the majority of referrals came from established finding tools (library catalog, library e-journal list, and bibliographic databases), a substantial number of referrals originated from generic web searches. Scientists are also relying on local alternatives or substitutes such as departmental or personal web pages with lists of linked publications. The use of electronic mail as a method to refer scientists directly to online articles may be greatly underestimated. Implications for the development of redundant library services like e-journal lists, and the practice of publishers to allow linking from other resources are discussed.

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2004-02-15

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Wiley

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e-journals; referral URL; American Chemical Society

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JASIST, (55):4, 2004, p326-332

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article

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