Christina's LIS Rant
Sunday, March 08, 2009
  Comps readings this week
Hara, N., Solomon, P., Kim, S., & Sonnenwald, D.H. (2003) An emerging view of scientific collaboration: Scientists’ perspectives on factors that impact collaboration. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54, 952-965.
They start by saying that "scientific collaboration may be different from other varieties of collaboration as it is shaped by social norms of practice, the structure of knowledge, and the technological infrastructure of the scientific discipline" (p. 952). Seems like all professional(or even hobby ones) are shaped by the social norms and structure of knowledge... hm. This paper isn't as good as I remembered, but I think those problems are with the lack of a clear conceptual framework to guide them going in and sort of a rambling presentation of the results... (sounds familiar)

(I'm now going to try to plow through all of the readings that happen to be stored in my binder from my 601 Class on Information Use - taught by Dr Barlow in the Spring of 2001)
Allen, B. (1996). An introduction to user-centered information-system design. Information tasks: toward a user-centered approach to information systems (pp. 24-51). San Diego: Academic Press.
This is really an excellent reading. His ARIST article from 1991 is great, too. He has five components in his model:
  1. needs analysis
  2. task analysis
  3. resource analysis
  4. user modeling
  5. designing for usability
Do note that this emphasizes the problem-solving approach which is just one reason people use information systems. Oh - resource analysis isn't what you think (like from recent readings I was thinking about information objects in the system) - it's a person's individual and social knowledge and abilities. Certainly the model would be incomplete without that, but the name is a bit misleading - and how's an information system to work if there' s no consideration of matching user and user input with representations the systems holdings? (oh, grr... course pack copy didn't photocopy all of the references).

Davenport, T. H., & Prusak, L. (1997). Information Behavior and Culture. Information Ecology: mastering the Information and Knowledge Environment (pp. 83-107). New York: Oxford University Press
Even though many management books are quickly irrelevant, this one still speaks to me. They talk about the value of information and information sharing in organizations and information behavior (sharing, hoarding, organizing) within organizations. They also cite (but of course the course pack didn't include the citations- argh!) lots of different studies showing how organizations that do better with information are more productive and successful. The other chapter in my course pack - but not read because not on my list - talks about the role of corporate libraries. In this section, too, they mention briefly what a big mistake it is to undervalue the library by cutting its budget and minimizing the contributions of librarians. sigh.

Dervin, B. (1992). From the mind’s eye of the user: the sense-making qualitative-quantitative methodology. In J. Glazier & R. R. Powell (Eds.), Qualitative research in information management (pp. 61-84). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited
She is really talking about a method, a methodology, a theory, and a paradigm here. If you approach certain problems by looking at the discontinuities and the helps that enabled people to bridge the gaps, you can really get some good information about information behavior and systems.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (1991). Inside the search process: Information seeking from the user's perspective. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42, 361-
I would be surprised if there's anyone who would bother reading my blog who isn't familiar with this one. Steps in the search process with affective, cognitive, physical parts...

Rogers, E. M., & Kincaid, D. L. (1981). The Convergence Model of Communication and Network Analysis. In E. M. Rogers, & D. L. Kincaid (Eds.), Communication networks: toward a new paradigm for research (pp. 31-78). New York: Free Press.
I like this one, too, because it disses the whole Shannon and Weaver thing (which I successfully kept OFF my list). Which reminds me about last year at the global STS grad student conference listening to someone spout the Shannon and Weaver version of information as the one true path (well maybe if you're an EE who is using information theoretic models for communication systems design). Anyway, the point of communication is to come to mutual understanding. Person A has their psychological reality, person b has theirs, and there's some physical reality. Information comes through all of these and through individual action to get to collection action, mutual agreement, mutual understanding, and then social reality shared by A and B.

Huh, wonder why it took so long for studies of scientific popularization or public understanding of science to take up the charge. If Schramm, Rogers, Kincaid ... all of that happened so long ago, and there seems to be consensus in communications about active audiences and the like... why did it basically take Wynne, Hilgartner, Meyers so long to get their point across... And actually, sometimes the scientists who are trying to do the communicating still don't know about all this (and how to apply it). hmmm.

Taylor, R. S. (1991). Information Use Environments. In B. Dervin (Ed.), Progress in Communication Sciences (pp. 217-255). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
I keep getting things that Taylor said and Allen said confused, and this article might be one reason why: Taylor cites T.J. Allen (1997) extensively. Taylor's point is that you can construct useful groupings of users based on their common problem dimensions, settings, and what constitutes resolution to their problems, among other things. This does not look at demographic or other variables, for engineers, but it could if that's how you're defining your grouping.

Williamson, K. (1998). Discovered by chance. The role of incidental information acquisition in an ecological model of information use. Library & Information Science Research, 20, 23-40.
I pulled this out a couple of years ago again when another student basically said no work had ever been done on older adults (big sigh). This article is a spin off of her dissertation. She studied how older adults (in Australia) encounter information through telephone calls and through monitoring the media. This is information that meets a need - whether specifically identified in advance or not - and that wasn't purposfully sought. Made me think of possible research on social bookmarking - not in the school of "how do people assign categories" but more along the personal information management line... but no time.

Wilson, T. D. (1997). Information behaviour: An interdisciplinary perspective. Information Processing & Management, 33(4), 551-572.
Seems like everybody in the social sciences somehow studies information seeking behavior. This article reports some of Wilson's work looking outside of information science. He emphasizes psychology and sociology articles. Good stuff here.

From my 650 (Reference, aka information access) binder - I thought there was more in this binder than this on my list

Barry, C. L., & Schamber, L. (1998). User's criteria for relevance evaluation: A cross-situational comparison. Information Processing & Management, 34(2/3), 219-236.
In this article they compare their previous work eliciting users' relevance criteria to find overlaps and unique items. There were a lot of things in common and the things that weren't were mostly due to the differences in the user groups and what information they were seeking.

and then this one, because it went with the others in this group and was short

Belkin, N. J. (1980). Anomalous states of knowledge as a basis for information retrieval. Canadian Journal of Information Science, 5, 133-143.
Builds on my favorite Taylor and the like and makes suggestions for design and evaluation of information retrieval systems.

EDIT: changed posting date - sorry!


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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

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