Seeking Meaning
A Process Approach to Library and Information Services, 2nd Edition
by Carol Collier Kuhlthau
October 2003, 264pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Hardcover: 978-1-59158-094-2
$45, £34, 38€, A65
First published in 1993, this book presents a new process approach to library and information services.

First published in 1993, this book presents a new process approach to library and information services. It gives a detailed description of the model of the information search process (ISP) and a framework for a process approach to library and information services. The author has completed substantial new work that expands the concepts and applications of the user-centered process approach presented in the first edition.

Seeking Meaning was first published in 1993. It has since become a widely used professional resource and required reading in library and information science schools in the United States and abroad. This book offers essential knowledge for anyone providing library and information services. Library and information services for intellectual access—the interpretation of information and ideas within sources—and the process of seeking meaning are detailed. Presented is a theoretical framework for a process approach to library and information services, which was developed in a series of studies of the Information Search Process of users. The framework has helped to illuminate the user’s perspective of information seeking, and has offered insights into pressing problems of seeking meaning in an overabundance of information.

This second edition incorporates the original research and series of studies that underlie the model of the Information Search Process, including the articulation of an uncertainty principle for library and information services and the concept of a zone of intervention for implementing a process approach. New chapters reflect the authors’ studies and ideas in the ten years since the previous publication. Also described are recent studies on the implementation of a process approach to library and information services in education; an investigation of these concepts in the workplace; and a treatment of systems and systems design. A summary of the conceptual perspective and the development of process-oriented services and systems that enable the constructive process of users seeking meaning, with recommendations for further research, make this important contribution an essential text to understand the seeking of meaning through information.


"Kuhlthau's Seeking Meaning is a classic text that is recognized worldwide in library and information science. ...significant in the field of library and information science and especially for our understanding of user information seeking behavior."—Library & Information Science Research, January 1, 2005

"[L]ibrary and information science departments should adopt Seeking Meaning (2nd edition) as a textbook for educating a new generation of reference librarians. Experienced reference librarians should read it for their professional development. Owners of the first edition should consider purchasing the second for its expanded elaboration of the information search model. Librarians who teach bibliographic instruction and/or research methods should incorporate its findings into their curriculum."—The Australian Library Journal, November 1, 2004

"If anything the Information Search Process [ISP] model is gaining more currency, making this second edition a timely updating. . . . It is certain that the second edition is replacing the first edition on the shelves of universities and colleges. For the practitioner who may have missed Seeking Meaning the first time round, it is not the intimidating read you might expect. Clearly written, well crafted and, given the nature of the book, free for the most part of jargon."—The Electronic Library, August 13, 2009
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