The Information Needs of Local Union Officials

Margaret A Chaplan, Edward J Hertenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A Questionnaire was Distributed to local union officials in a Midwestern state in order to determine the information needs of local union officials and how they go about satisfying those needs. It was hypothesized that the institutional roles (such as negotiator, grievance handler, administrator, organizer, educator, and political worker) or individual roles (such as educational certification, personal problem-solving, writing, and communication) inhabited by these officials would determine the information sources used, whether formal (such as libraries, union research departments, union publications, and databases) or informal (such as personal networks, telephone inquiries, and local office files). It was also hypothesized that training in how to do research would affect the number and diversity of information sources used. Partial support was found for all these hypotheses. While many of the union roles showed similar rates of needs, there were enough differences to support the hypothesis that union role determines information needs. The data also show that the type of information need helps predict the information sources used and thus that union role predicts information source used. Finally, training has a positive effect on the number of information sources used and on the number of formal sources used. Comparisons to previous research are made and suggestions for further research are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-69
Number of pages20
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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