The information needs and the information seeking behaviour of a national sample of the population in the United Kingdom, with special reference to needs related to citizenship.
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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 project was funded by the BLR&IC and comprised a survey by questionnaire covering all regions of the United Kingdom. 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 CABx, 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 computerised information. A highly significant majority (79.2%) believed that access to information was very important for exercising their rights as a citizen. Many significant variables, in terms of age, gender, status and region were found. In particular it was felt significant that young people were less sure of the importance of being able to access information.