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An analysis of enquiries asked at selected public and special libraries in the UK

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posted on 13.09.2012, 13:10 by Naomi J. Blake
This research set out to monitor the information activities of selected public and special libraries in the UK. An independent researcher collected enquiry data at seven different information services (two public reference libraries, two public lending libraries, a tourist information centre and two special libraries). This data was then categorised according to length of answer, mode of enquiring, type of enquiry and subject of enquiry. The sources used in answering and their formats were also examined. Results for each case study were considered separately. Across library comparisons could be made too, as the data was collected in a consistent manner. This is unlike the statistics kept by individual libraries. Findings were that the special libraries had longer enquiries and received more by telephone, fax and letter than the public libraries. Furthermore, they made the most use of computerised sources. Business and commerce enquiries were most frequently asked at the public reference libraries. Answering community information and children's enquiries were common tasks at the public lending libraries. Minimal overlap occurred in the provision of tourist information. Finally, it was observed that many directional and administrative enquiries were asked at the various cases studied.



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© N.J. Blake

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A Master's Dissertation, submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree of Loughborough University.



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