These studies about the online searching behavior of humanities scholars versus science scholars are important information that I need to take into account when designing my database. The notes and bibliographic entries to this article are fabulous signposts to other work about the digital behavior of humanities scholar.
As one who has taught science and engineering literature and has some sense of the culture and values of the sciences, I was struck by the distinctive characteristics of the humanities’ culture, values, and expectations, as against those of the sciences, as they appeared in our study.
I comment on these differences in Reports #1, 4, and 5, in particular. Much of the database world has been developed on the science model. In Report #4, I drew implications from the study for the design of databases and other information resources for humanities scholars. Librarians may find the points in Report #4 of value for their future collection development in reference departments or main collections.
In general, these data show:
The logical, engineering-oriented design of online systems is generally not well matched with the talents of the humanities scholar.
The character of humanities search terms varies considerably from that of the sciences. Humanities thesauri should probably be designed on different principles from conventional thesauri, and humanities search interfaces should be designed differently as well.