[Siguse-l] Siguse-l Digest, Vol 79, Issue 4

Ramdeen, Sarah ramdeen at email.unc.edu
Mon Aug 15 18:26:08 EDT 2011

Lynn wrote:
" Thinking of information-behavior/interaction as a map, where are the broad distinctions (land/water), the socially/culturally grouped concepts (nations), and the underlying dynamics (plate tectonics)?"

As a former geologists I really enjoyed this suggestion that information behavior is like a map or plate tectonics.  One thing I found interesting about plate tectonics is that it is not just the individual plates moving around/under each other.  The plates are also buoyant, sort of like icebergs.  One plate can have different areas which are thicker or thinner and different densities as well.   This makes me think of an information need and how the seeker might only be able to articulate what is seen above the surface and there may or may not be more to the issue below the surface.  As the information seeker solves these needs - either through their own behavior or through the aid of an IS professional, the balance of need can change and become more or less buoyant (needs are fulfilled or more needs are developed).  This can be compounded by a number of other factors - how many information needs they have and what priority exists between them.  Add to that the "nations and land/water" and things can became pretty complicated!

Sarah Ramdeen PhD Student
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina
ramdeen at email.unc.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: siguse-l-bounces at asis.org [mailto:siguse-l-bounces at asis.org] On Behalf Of Lynn Westbrook
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 4:41 PM
To: siguse-l at asis.org
Subject: Re: [Siguse-l] Siguse-l Digest, Vol 79, Issue 4

Jenna ~~

That tension between nomothetic and idiographic perspectives on information behavior that you mention could be catalyst for further movement towards mid-range theory development.  Is the tension a nomothetic scaffold or an idiographic yeast?  Scalpel or filter?  The metaphors for that tension tend to reflect the dichotomy which is, in and of itself, a conversation worth having.  Thanks very much for this intro to ELIS -- an apartment complex, if not a home of many rooms, for that conversation.   

Thinking of information-behavior/interaction as a map, where are the broad distinctions (land/water), the socially/culturally grouped concepts (nations), and the underlying dynamics (plate tectonics)?



Lynn Westbrook, Associate Professor
lynnwest at ischool.utexas.edu

On Aug 11, 2011, at 7:05 AM, siguse-l-request at asis.org wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>   1. Message 2: The Literature - ELIS (Jenna Hartel)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2011 07:41:08 -0400
> From: Jenna Hartel <jenna.hartel at utoronto.ca>
> Subject: [Siguse-l] Message 2: The Literature - ELIS
> To: siguse-l at asis.org
> Message-ID: <4E411CD4.5050806 at utoronto.ca>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> 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
>      ideas
>    * 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 
> welcomed.
> 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
> References
> 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 
> <http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/articles/pdf/Introduction.pdf
> >,
> Topical Table of Contents
> <http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/articles/pdf/topical-toc.pdf>
> (penultimate version), and Alphabetical Table of Contents 
> <http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/articles/pdf/TOC.pdf>.
> 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
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