Understanding the information-seeking behavior of pharmacy college faculty, staff, and students: implications for improving embedded librarian services





information-seeking behavior, embedded librarian, pharmacy education


Objective: Research was conducted on the embedded librarian program at The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and the Health Sciences Library to understand how this service is relevant to users and identify the potential for further improvement. This study examined users’ information-seeking behaviors and considered the implications for the effectiveness of the embedded librarian service.

Methods: The authors conducted 18 semi-structured interviews of faculty, researchers, and students at the College of Pharmacy to obtain descriptive accounts of how they seek information, manage information, and use the library and library services. The authors examined the interview transcripts through qualitative descriptive analysis.

Results: The interview responses confirm that users seek information outside of the physical library and tend to ask their peers for information or assistance in obtaining information. They mostly feel comfortable in searching, but some of them may lack sufficient search skills and tend to use a few known databases. While those who are familiar with the librarian seek the librarian’s assistance more often, others tend not to seek the librarian’s assistance. The ways they manage information vary, which requires customized assistance.

Conclusions: The close proximity of a physically embedded librarian is beneficial to users and positions the librarian to provide proactive assistance in the existing user information-seeking behavior environment. While some users do not seek assistance, the embedded librarian can provide proactive assistance in such areas as making users aware of other database options and helping them choose relevant databases and effectively manage information.

Author Biographies

Hitoshi Kamada, Kyoto Notre Dame University

Associate Professor

Department of Japanese and Global Cultures

Jennifer R. Martin, The University of Arizona

Associate Librarian, Research & Learning

Arizona Health Sciences Library

Clinical Instructor, Pharmacy Practice and Science

College of Pharmacy

The University of Arizona

Marion K. Slack, The University of Arizona

Professor, Pharmacy Practice and Science

College of Pharmacy

Sandra S. Kramer, The University of Arizona

Associate Librarian, (Retired), Research & Learning

Arizona Health Sciences Librarty


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Original Investigation