Module 5: Information Communities & Diverse Information Needs
In module five, we move from last week’s focus on information-seeking behavior to consider the diverse information needs of information communities. This lecture emphasizes the importance of diversity to show the profession’s interest in marginalized, underrepresented and diverse populations. The lecture by Dr. Villagran begins with a focus on what is “information need” and several approaches including contextualization, problem solving, foraging, and everyday life information seeking. According to Talja, Keso, & Pietliainen (1999), information needs are understood as “phenomena mediated by social and cultural meanings and values” (p. 751). Your selected information community may identify with diversity characteristics that are different or similar to other information communities. Given this, it is critical to explore implicit bias, cultural intelligence, cultural competence, and cultural blindness in order to further understand ourselves and our information community needs. In order to meet the information needs of the diverse society in which we live and work, information professionals need to be culturally competent. This means information professionals need to understand what the information needs of our communities are, and we need to be ready to work with information communities of all walks of life.
There are a variety of information-seeking studies to illustrate the vast range of information communities that LIS scholars have studied and the diverse needs of these unique communities. As you learn about concepts within this module, consider your information community. What unique characteristics do they bring to the table? What similar aspects do they hold with other information communities? How may their information needs be different or the same as yours? How does environment and context play a role in your information community? Are there deficits in our services to these information communities? There may be if we lack cultural awareness or don’t have enough knowledge about the information community in order to meet their information needs and to best serve them in the information environment.
Module 5 Lecture:
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