A national survey of the citizenship information needs of the general public.
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This paper reports the results of a survey of information needs and information seeking behaviour of a national sample of the UK population. The survey was the first stage of the Citizenship Information project, funded by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre. In total, 1294 responses were received giving a valid and demographically representative response rate of 45.7%. Major findings include: that the majority of respondents had sought information in the past (59.4%) and that an even greater number predicted a future need for information (78.4%). Over three quarters of respondents said that they would use public libraries and between half and three quarters would approach Citizens Advice Bureaux, post offices, government departments or family and friends. Face to face communications and reading a book were the most popular means of accessing information, but a wide variety of other preferred options were cited. Only a small proportion expressed a preference for using a computer to seek information, and there was a clear emphasis on public libraries as an appropriate location for accessing electronic information. A highly significant majority (79.2%) believed that access to information was very important for exercising their rights as a citizen.