He was a pioneer in user studies. He was interested in scientific communication. A brief obituary in the NY Times had the following information:
Dr. Menzel joined the staff of N.Y.U. in 1965, after teaching at Columbia and Carleton Colleges. He was co-author, in 1966, of ”Medical Innovation – a Diffusion Study.”
He was born in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, and came to the United States in 1939. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1947 and received a doctorate there in 1959. He also held a master’s degree from Indiana University.
An article in Wikipedia on “information needs” has this brief summary of his work:
Herbert Menzel preferred demand studies to preference studies. Requests for information or documents that were actually made by scientists in the course of their activities form the data for demand studies. Data may be in the form of records of orders placed for bibliographics, calls for books from an interlibrary loan system, or inquires addressed to an information center or service. Menzel also investigated user study and defined information seeking behaviour from three angles:
- When approached from the point of view of the scientist or technologists, these are studies of scientists’ communication behaviour;
- When approached from the point of view of any communication medium, they are use studies;
- When approached from the science communication system, they are studies in the flow of information among scientists and technologists.