Online Catalogs from the Users’ Perspective: The Use of Focus Group Interviews

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Debra Wilcox Johnson, Susan E Searing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an attempt to elicit information from the users of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s online catalog, Network Library System (NLS), the General Library System (GLS), conducted focus group interviews with undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. Undergraduate students tend to utilize subject searching capabilities. Graduate students and faculty utilize subject searching only as a last resort; they typically search by known author or title. A significant number of the participants reported experience with library online catalogs other than NLS, although the majority of faculty reported very little experience with other online catalogs. All the focus group participants, but particularly the undergraduate students, evidenced confusion between keyword searching and searching using controlled vocabulary. Inclusion of circulation status in the bibliographic record was identified as an important feature of the catalog.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-420
JournalCollege and Research Libraries
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1997


Dive into the research topics of 'Online Catalogs from the Users’ Perspective: The Use of Focus Group Interviews'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this