[Siguse-l] Message 2: The Literature - ELIS

Jenna Hartel jenna.hartel at utoronto.ca
Tue Aug 9 07:41:08 EDT 2011

Dear SIG-USEers,

If you missed my recent introductory posting about this new SIG-USE 
mailing list initiative, you can check it out on my website 
<http://jennahartel.weebly.com/index.html>[see Projects > Information 
Behavio(u)r Blog].

The first theme is "The Literature" of information behavior and today's 
message focuses on a great resource, the /Encyclopedia of Library and 
Information Sciences/, 3^rd edition (Bates & Maack, 2010), known for 
short as /ELIS/. [This /ELIS/ is not to be confused with another beloved 
information behavior ELIS, "_e_veryday _l_ife _i_nformation _s_eeking" 
coined by Reijo Savolainen <http://www.uta.fi/%7Eliresa/index.html>(1995)].

Encyclopedias are designed as gateways to topics and literatures. I have 
personally slogged through many research projects only to learn later of 
a succinct and authoritative encyclopedia article that would have 
expedited my progress significantly. We are fortunate that one of the 
/ELIS/ editors, Marcia J. Bates <http://gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/>, 
was a pioneer of information behavior (teaching the first class on the 
subject at Berkeley in the 1970s); she has given information behavior 
generous treatment in /ELIS/. Dozens of leading information behavior 
scholars have made excellent contributions to this encyclopedia.

The articles in the /ELIS/ print and online versions are arranged in 
alphabetical order by title, a traditional access strategy that scatters 
related topics. Fortunately, there is a separate "Topical Table of 
Contents" (TTOC) that restores the conceptual relationships between the 
articles (available as a PDF <http://www.weebly.com/weebly/main.php>on 
Bates' website and also available in both the print and online versions 
of /ELIS/). One can use the TTOC as a navigational device to the 
information sciences and information behavior, specifically. It would be 
time well spent for any newcomer to information behavior to peruse the 
/ELIS/ TTOC just as one examines a road map to begin a journey. Here, 
using the /ELIS/ TTOC, we will consider: /Within the library and 
information sciences, where or how does information behavior fit?/

Stepping back, the encyclopedia is structured around 11 topical 
categories: 1.) Information Disciplines and Professions, 2.) Concepts, 
Theories, Ideas, 3.) Research Areas, 4.) Institutions, 5.) Systems and 
Networks, 6.) Literatures, Genres, and Documents, 7.) Professional 
Services and Activities, 8.) People Using Cultural Resources, 9.) 
Organizations, 10.) National Cultural Institutions and Resources, and 
11.) History.

There are 4 places where information behavior scholarship is concentrated:

Topical category 1, Information Disciplines and Professions, has a 
section on Information Science. There, Information Behavior is one of 6 
major constituents of information science (alongside Information 
Architecture, Information Management, Information Retrieval 
Experimentation, Informetrics, and User Centered Design of Information 
Systems). This is where you can read the article Information Behavior 
(Bates) and related but narrower articles on Information Behavior Models 
(Wilson), Information Needs (Naumer & Fisher) and Information Practice 
(Fulton & Henefer). That should get you warmed up!

Topical category 2, Concepts, Theories, and Ideas, is the home of 
several major concerns and discoveries of information behavior research. 
Here you will find statements on the Information Search Process (ISP) 
Model (Kuhlthau), Information Overload (Tidline), Library Anxiety 
(Mizrachi), and Sense-Making (Dervin & Naumer), among others. Tip: read 
these before attempting to reconnoitre the subjects on your own.

In topical category 3, Research Specialties, a sub-section entitled 
Information Behavior and Searching serves as a banner over several 
research tributaries associated with information behavior, namely, 
Information Searching and Search Models (Xie), Information Use for 
Decision Making (Cokely, Schooler & Gigerenzer), Personal Information 
Management (Jones), and Reading and Reading Acquisition (Byrne), among 
others. There is also a well-stocked section on Information Retrieval, 
which is closely related to information behavior.

Finally, topical category 8, People Using Cultural Resources, showcases 
the prevalent socio-cultural approach to information behavior, also 
known as "information (seeking/use/behavior/practice) /in context/." 
Here you can enjoy broad articles on the Internet and Public Library Use 
(Jorgensen) and Reading Interests (Sheldrick Ross). Narrower articles 
treat social worlds such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender 
Information Needs (Keilty), Older Adults' Information Needs and Behavior 
(Williamson & Asla), Students' Information Needs and Behavior (Julien), 
and Youth Information Needs and Behavior (Gross), among others. There 
are also articles that address information behavior in various subject 
areas such as Area and Interdisciplinary Studies...(Westbrook), 
Arts...(Zack), Biological Information...(Shankar), Business 
Information...(Abels) and many more. [Doctoral students: set your sights 
on becoming an authority in an undocumented social world and then write 
the article for the next (4^th ) edition of /ELIS/.]

To close, within the library and information sciences /ELIS/ casts 
information behavior as:

    * one of six major areas within the discipline of information science
    * a unifying banner over a number of important concepts, models, and
    * a research specialty and site of several active research tributaries
    * an organizing lens on information phenomena in social worlds

A /tension/ underlies these multiple perspectives on information 
behavior within /ELIS/. Some represent the nomothetic (scientific) 
tradition that seeks abstractions and generalities, and others reflect 
an idiographic (humanistic) tradition that privileges texture and 
distinctions. Reading these articles altogether requires a nimble mind 
that can leap across the metatheories (or "isms 
<http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1465009>") of the 
information sciences.

All SIG-USErs: Your general comments on /ELIS/ or this posting are 

ELIS is just one way to see the literature of information behavior; 
complementary views will be presented in forthcoming posts. Up next: 
/ARIS&T/ (/Annual Review of Information Science & Technology/) chapters 
on information behavior.

Jenna Hartel


Bates, M. J. and Maack, M.N. (Eds.) (2010). /Encyclopedia of Library and 
Information Sciences, 3rd Ed./ New York: CRC Press. (Also available in 
online form.) See also Introduction to ELIS 
Topical Table of Contents 
(penultimate version), and Alphabetical Table of Contents 

Savolainen, R. (1995). Everyday life information seeking: approaching 
information seeking in the context of way of life. /Library & 
Information Science Research, 17/(3), 259-294.

Jenna Hartel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Faculty of Information 
University of Toronto 140 St. George Street Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G6 
website: http://jennahartel.weebly.com/index.html
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mail.asis.org/pipermail/siguse-l/attachments/20110809/4e1771e5/attachment.html 

More information about the Siguse-l mailing list