Module 3: Information Seeking and Information Communities

Module 3 Sound StageA

Information Seeking and Information Communities: A Study in Diversity

In module three, we move from last week’s focus on information-seeking behavior theory to consider how the concept applies to different information communities.  The audio lecture by Aaron Schmidt considers some of the major theories developed to understand the information behavior of various groups, specifically “information seeking in context,” “life in the round,” everyday life information seeking” (ELIS), and “cultural competence.”   The lecture also emphasizes diversity to show the profession’s interest in nonelites and marginalized communities.

The lecture mentions a variety of information-seeking studies to illustrate the vast range of information communities that LIS scholars have studied.  As you learn about these studies, consider which information community you might examine for your assignments in this class.

Things to Read: 

This week’s required readings deal with the three major theories: life in the round, everyday life information seeking, and cultural competence.  These articles are not the original studies but, rather, provide a discussion of the importance of these theories in the LIS field.

Things to View:

Here’s a table that lists different types of information communities.  Its goal is to help you think about the different types of information communities and stimulate ideas as to which community you might study.  The table also contains examples of theoretical articles on the information-seeking behavior of different groups and applied articles in which information professionals use the theoretical research to develop collections and services for specific communities.  The difference between theoretical and applied literature will be discussed in more depth next week.

Things to Explore:

Here is a list of LIS associations organized by specialization or interest.  As you look at this list, consider which LIS associations might work with the information community you plan to study.  Often their websites will include information and resources relating to the communities they support.


References from the Lecture:

Braquet, D. M. (2010). Library experiences of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans flood survivors. LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research20(1).

Chatman, E. A, (1992). The Information World of Retired Women. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Katopol, P. (2012). “My boss sent me: Imposed queries in the workplace. Information Outlook,16(4), 19-21. 

Sue, D. W. & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.