06 October 2006

NAL user needs assessment

Earlier this year the US National Agricultural Library carried out a needs assessment to identify the library’s current and potential customers; to determine those customers’ information needs, sources, and behaviors; and to assess their view of NAL’s existing and potential services.

Key findings include:
  • The AGRICOLA database and DigiTop, the Digital Desktop Library for USDA, are NAL's strongest brands
  • While most respondents (81%) rely heavily upon the Web as a source for information, traditional sources are still important with books (63%), academic journals (62%), scientific and technical information (54%), and conference proceedings and papers (50%) rounding out the top five spots for all respondents.
  • When specifically seeking agricultural information, 54 percent find it through a search engine, with Google the search engine of choice (81%).
While NAL has the opportunity to become "the number one resource for all things related to food, agriculture, and forestry" the "quality information that NAL collects and distributes remains under-utilized" and "NAL needs to invest its energy in the Web environment and fervently market its digital offerings."




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