Digital Reference Services for Engineers

Definition of an Engineer
Types of Information Sources
Accessibility / Ease of Use
Technical Quality
Stages of Information Seeking
The Reference Interview
Digital Reference
References (pdf)
Appendix (pdf)

Stages of Information Seeking

Cheuk (1998) suggests engineers encounter seven different types of information seeking and using strategies in the workplace: task initiating, focus formulating, idea assuming, idea confirming, idea rejecting, idea formalizing, and passing-on ideas. These strategies are not followed in a specific order. In some cases, not all steps will be followed (e.g. if an idea is rejected then the idea formalizing step will never occur). Information seeking is an iterative process and there is no right path to seek information. The sources consulted will be different for each stage. Generally, informal sources are consulted during the task initiating, focus formulating, idea assuming, and idea formalizing stages. Formal and informal sources will be consulted during the idea confirming and idea rejecting phases. Passing-on ideas is the documentation phase of the project and does not usually involve consulting either formal or informal sources.