It’s interesting to see how a plain idea grows to an innovative research plan. For example, a simple comparison between people’s shopping behaviour
in a huge supermarket like Tesco or Sainsbury and users’ information behaviour
in a digital library on the web. Some studies in marketing show that when people face a huge variety of goods with a little difference in price and quality, they just leave the items and don’t buy any of them. It happened several times to me that I went to Tesco to buy some, say e.g. cheese, but after I saw too many kinds of cheese with a bit difference in prices and I didn’t know about their properties enough, so I found it difficult to decide about which kind of cheese to buy and finally I just gave it up and came out of the shop without cheese. Is this happening in the digital information environments? Previously, users used to go to the library and check a limited number of journals; now they go to a digital journal library like Emerald, Elsevier and Blackwell and find hundreds of digital journals. Do they get what they want or spend a while browsing and searching and finally just leave it without what they looked for? Indeed the idea is that some experts think users’ information behaviour and customers’ shopping behaviour are becoming alike and actually information is being considered and treated as a good. That’s why now you may come across a term like “Information Consumer
” instead of “Information User
” in some literature.