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Suggested Citation:"Users of Biological Information." National Research Council. 1970. The Life Sciences: Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs The World of Biological Research Requirements for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9575.
Page 408

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408 THE ~ ,IFE SCIENCES generally content with broad reviews and secondary information services to guide him within the remaining primary literature. USERS OF BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION Information system designers must found their blueprints on a clear under standing of the needs of their clients. Those who use biological or other types of scientific information can be placed, generally, in one of five categories: 1. The biologist-scholar, an investigator or university teacher who re quires original articles or scholarly reviews and who should have access to such papers almost as soon as they are published. 2. The practitioner, who needs information pertinent to his particular ways of applying biological knowledge. For his purposes, digests of the results of research, rather than all the details of the process, usually suffice; although he needs these data with minimal delay, only in an unusual emer gency does he demand rapid retrieval. 3. The elementary or secondary school teacher, who makes use of con solidated texts and teacher aids and can tolerate considerable delay. 4. The policy-maker or administrator, who requires generalized infor mation about biology, rather than specific biological facts, from concise analyses such as those published in such general-essay magazines as Science, Nature, Endeavour, Scientific American, and the New Scientist. 5. The citizen, who needs information pertinent to major subjects, in cluding conservation, pollution, population, and public health, and for such pragmatic matters as evaluation of advertising claims for new drugs. The citizen, like the teacher and policy-maker, seldom needs biological infor mation urgently, though for him also extremely long delays are undesirable. The requirements of those who write for the citizen in the mass media should be assessed as carefully as those who write for the professional, and a high standard of accuracy in channels of mass communication should be assured. INFORMAL INFORMATION TRANSFER Those who would plan information systems for use by working scientists and practitioners should be aware of the myriad informal channels of information exchange.

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