Document Type



How and why images are used have important implications for the information systems, services and professionals involved in supporting image users. Images, like text, can be used for a number of reasons and these differences will influence fundamental aspects of the information transaction, such as what content is needed, where and how the information is sought, and the specific characteristics of the information that may be required. While research has begun to clarify image retrieval processes, basic issues surrounding how and why visual information is used have gone largely unstudied. This gap in the research led to the current study, which identifies, describes and explains the use of visual material among several professional image user groups. The findings of this study are presented as a theoretical framework within which future research into image use can be conducted.


Library and Information Science


This is a formatted pre-print of an article subsequently published in The Journal of Documentation, 70(1) 119-147, doi: 10.1108/JD-12-2012-0157