Assignment Synthesis – Zinesters

The assignments in INFO 200 are meant to build on student knowledge of a community’s information behavior, understanding of peer-reviewed research articles and community-created resources related to the group, and a synthesis of our course content with findings about the community. Blogging and the other major assignments should provide content and insights for the successful competition of the research paper. Content can be remixed and re-used.

For example, this student work focused on Zinesters  as an information community illustrating the path from blogging, through the assignments, to a successful paper.

Thanks to SJSU student Marc Mazique for providing these assignments!

Community Description:

Blog Post #2: Describe the Information Community you are choosing to explore for the course and the research paper:

The information community I have chosen to focus on are “zinesters,” meaning primarily those who produce the self-published cultural objects known as “zines.” These works — which include text and images, both original and sometimes appropriated — encompass an incredibly diverse, several-decades-old grassroots literature that is generally considered to have emerged out of science fiction fandom in the 1930s (“Zine”, n.d., para. 1). In the intervening decades, the scope of this literature now includes a multitude of topics and genres, such as political treatises, creative writing, comics, music criticism and reviews, memoir, different types of fandom, and many others.

Zines are information artifacts produced by a vibrant participatory cultural community that spans the globe, distributed via both formal and informal networks, in-person and online. Recognition of their cultural significance as information objects and resources has led to their inclusion in the collections of academic and public libraries, community archives, and other similar information organizations, such as informal zine libraries. Zine creators are thus increasingly being understood as participants in social conversations across multiple domains, alongside other producers/communicators of information.

The low-barrier practice of zine creation (one can be made with relatively inexpensive materials such as paper, tape, glue, pen or typewriter) has led to a community of creators who come from a wide range of backgrounds, and including many perspectives and voices frequently marginalized within larger mainstream literary and creative cultural communities (people of color, queer folks, trans folks, political radicals, non-dominant language speakers in a given society, etc.). Producers of zines — both individuals and small collaborative groups — usually have fluid positions within the overall zine community; they are not just creators but can also be sharers/distributors of their own and others’ zines; consumers/readers of other creators’ zines; informal educators around how to produce these works; and collectors. Fisher and Bishop point to just such fluidity around information use as definitive of an information community, stating “Thus, an information community is a group of entities that blurs the boundaries between information seekers, users, and providers, recognizing that a single person or institution can embody multiple segments of the information life cycle” (Fisher et al., 2015, p. 22). In addition to the fluidity in role that participants of zine creative culture may experience, the information resources of this community are not just made up of the physical (though also sometimes digitized) zine objects and the content they convey, but also the information sharing practices and networks that connects creators and readers to new zines (whether through a website or word-of-mouth), and the productive practices of the creators themselves.

See PDF for full post.

References

Christensen, K. & Levinson, D. (2003) Introduction & Reader’s Guide. In Christensen, K. & Levinson, D. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World (pp. xxxi–xxiiii). Sage Reference.

Durrance, J. C. (2001). The vital role of librarians in creating information communities: strategies for success. Library Administration & Management, 15(3), 161–168.

Fisher, K. E., & Bishop, A. P. (2015). Information communities: Defining the focus of information service. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction (pp. 20-26).

Zine. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 10, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zine

Blog Posts:

Blog Post #3: Report on the information-seeking behavior and information needs of chosen community

Blog Post #4: Summarize one of the peer-reviewed articles relating to your information community you’ve found

Blog Post #5: Explore how libraries and information centers create learning and programming opportunities for your chosen community 

Blog Post #6: Report on the issues your community may face on an international scale

Blog Post #7: Report on your community’s use of emerging technologies

Assignments:

Context Book Review
Information Sources Survey
Literature Review Matrix
Research Paper