Photo-Diary study results: information-seeking needs of MIT students

student using the MIT Libraries

In the spring of 2006 we conducted a study of the information-seeking habits of MIT students. Known as the “Photo-Diary” study, it consisted of asking a group of graduate and undergraduate students to keep a diary and take photos and screen shots of their information seeking activiites for the course of a week.

The students were then interviewed in depth by members of the MIT Libraries staff, using the photo diaries to assist in telling the detailed story of their week.

The study was designed to help spark new ways to understand the information needs of our users, by allowing us to see the full breadth of their information seeking behavior. This will help us improve our online tools and other library services.

Some of the priorities that were identified from this study were:
– Make discovery easier and more effective.
– Incorporate trusted networks in finding tools.
– Continue to put links to the Libraries’ services and resources where the users are (such as in Google Scholar).

The complete report (PDF) is available here:

Project web site:

For questions or more information about the study, contact Nicole Hennig (