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Surveying user needs in an international context: A qualitative case study from the ILO, Geneva

The International Information & Library Review
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.iilr.2007.12.002


Summary User satisfaction and optimization of resources have become important areas for libraries to maintain awareness of. Since the International Labour Office (ILO) Library had previously conducted quantitative studies, a qualitative user needs survey was carried out in order to gather more in-depth information regarding the attitudes of staff towards the services and products offered. This study looked primarily at a selection of key issues considered to be of particular importance. The semi-structured face-to-face interview was the selected instrument and open-ended questions were employed to best allow users to express their opinions (the main goal of the study). One goal was to get a balanced cross-section of the ILO community from the various departments at the Geneva (Switzerland) headquarters. Another goal was to create a French version of the interview schedule in order to offer participants a choice of which language they were most comfortable using. In total, 50 ILO officials were interviewed in both English and French. The written notes taken during each interview were content analyzed, revealing several trends and issues as a result. By using information gained through this user survey to better meet the needs of its community, the ILO Library demonstrates just how valuable a tool such a study can be for any organization focused on continually improving its role for all users.

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