Dimorphism as a Metaphor for Information-Seeking Behavior

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David Edward Schmersal


Our increasingly hybridized information environment, in which both print and electronic resources are available and offer certain advantages, may be described as “dimorphic,” alluding to the dual modes of sustenance evident among certain semi-nomadic peoples in the Ancient Near East. In this session, reference and digital services librarian David Schmersal will draw upon amateur interest in the Ancient Near East to explain how dimorphic social structure may provide a useful heuristic device or metaphor for understanding the information-seeking behavior of students, faculty, and other researchers. Such insight into user behavior may be applied to collection development, instruction sessions, reference interviews, and other crossroads between libraries and our patrons’ information needs.

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