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Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
  Reports of the Demise of the "User" Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Reports of the Demise of the “User” Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Dervin’s Sense-Making and the Methodological Resuscitation of the User --  Looking Backwards, Looking Forward

Karen Fisher, When the user isn't really the user, nobody is yet using, and uses are multifold

The user isn’t always the user – they’re seeking information for someone else (they use the term proxy searcher) OR noone is yet using OR iceberg

New view of the sense-making metaphor – multiple interacting users, information incidents can be spontaneous/loose, plurality, holistic…

She talked really, really, really, fast…

Catherine Ross, Users as sense-makers: What are the entailments of taking this methodological approach to studying/ helping users?
She discusses how Dervin’s model has really changed how the users are treated.

Instead of bad guy users, Users are part of the transaction (they don’t just hand off) – they work together to solve the problem.  Librarian has strategies to end the transaction and the user fights back. (see Durrance’s measure of will they return to that librarian)

Studies of avid readers – not looking at the texts.  She talked to readers and asked them sense-making questions.  Found how pleasure reading helps in their lives.

It’s the good enough reference answer that helps the customer get through life or the good enough book – that helps the reader at that point in their life and gives them the experience they want at that point in their life.

Paul Solomon, Discovering information through Sense-Making (theory and method): Developing theory and methodology by understanding action
Sense making is not static.  

Michael Olsson, Using Sense-Making to Study Sense-Making
He did his dissertation on Brenda Dervin and how users construct her work.

Brenda Dervin, A beast with many arms: How and why Sense-Making Methodology grew and mutated
Too subjective, too sensational, too motivational, too ideological, too self-serving?  The user is dead?  Yes, can we find another word?  We’re still serving someone, human beings, what else to call them?

S-M Communicatings:  culture-personal, instrumental-humanistic, what is what might be, the inline and the out of line (lots more, she talked fast).  Sensemaking is the communicating that happens in those gaps.  Information behavior is communicating behavior.  Research is communicating.

“We were studying what is, not what might be” Listening to what people say, not what they might say if they trusted us.

What’s important to her:
Magic wand question
Power question

See:  http://communication.sbs.ohio-state.edu/sense-making/ for a lot more on sense making
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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