IS 246 Week 6 Class Notes

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Case Ch 12 Notes

Characteristics of information seekers

Demographics versus roles

socioeconomic status (SES) is a classic set of characteristics in the social sciences

a lot about class, related to
SES leads with elites versus non-elits, advantages vers non-advantaged
everyone has multiple roles; no one is completely unidimensional

those roles that question of role is partly choice, but can also be a set of expectations imposed by your cultural situation

Role is heavily networked, in terms of social networks. sturctural soiologists are very often keenly interested in role; roles cluster in certain ways and have certain kinds of relationships; role endures (not a transient part of your life) networkds become stabilized

MT: sometimes the role has nothing to do with the person

LIS: distinction bt adults, young adults, and children

library arranges itself around roles

MT: roles shift as reflection of demographics (babyboomers)

classifications shift, as well, and this is a good topic for LIS

something to push against in Case: the carved out roles are shown as discrete, but not really

classic approaches to info organization and classification, controlled vocabularies, Dewey, Elsie, some experts have figured that out; expertise is a big part of that role. we wait for the experts to decide on classification; who the professionals are matters. the fact that these classifications/cataloging rules are not universal; the attempt at universality is desirable, nonetheless there is still some question about expertise and discipline

MT: expert searchers have influence now? not just the experts, does the expert searcher input add value?

there are kind of two domains top-down and bottom-up-->I think they will have more influence over time

the value, status, ranking of different seekers is ifluenced by how we think about role and demographics

in this literature, there is a tension between the rational individual seeker (I seek bc I am an attorney/doctor/phd) rational actors and then contrasted with the idea of the seeker as a social participant in a complex sociocultural context with a lot of complexities that can pull you off of that track

the earliest studies of seekers sought to characterize ppl in terms of their group characteristics (demographics) occupations becomes a placeholder for group characteristics

some good historical overviews (Svisig & Dervin; Berrelson Library as public 1949)

all of these were based on considerations of library users, not the public

start with who is using the library, then group those ppl by occupation
this is very much like mid-century social science; mass society approach

then there was a move (Borgman was instrumental in this) toward cognitive, individual differene-based preferences;

group --> individual differences

Borgman ends up looking at majors, classifying by group anyway

trying to understand seekers as members of categories or individuals was to try to fit them into the system; underlying objective: document delivery

one of the lessons learned from the indiv-diff perspective, was just how broad the scope is; becomes increasingly hard to predict

tension bt predictionability and idiosyncracy

a lot of these studies are based on

normal curve and long-tail curve

library services are designed classically around the 64% of the normal distribution; special libraries skew

technology allows us to have all kinds of emphasis on the long tail-->you can find just about everything pretty readily that your city library is not likely to have

the individual differences turn in our understanding of info seekers proliferated for a while (Myers-Briggs) socio-psychological measures of the individual

trying to figure out to what extent it was possible that ppls interests, desires, aptitudes fit into this mainstream model: relevance judgments, indexing, retrieval results

wanted something to determine how to match the systems with the individuals; however, relevance judgment, search term selection

very consistantly low reliability, particularly in information retrieval

the tension: desire to understand indiv diffs and know sthg abt that and trying to look at regularities and patterns; maybe the patterns don't have to do with demographics

looking for regularities that we can model

MT: why? why not look at customization issues?

early 1990s-->a move toward thinking about identity
identity: individual/inherent; networked-->Ken Gergen Saturated Self (1991) captures the sense of this moment of thinking that identity is a solo creature-->something singular, special, unique, ours, that only we can experience

there's a lot of intuitive sense to that, but Gergen and other said it isn't simply roles; your self is constituted by the roles you play-->negotiate these roles

talking abt a socialized, networked self-->there's not one invariant consistent interior self versus this exterior representation; how do you design info svcs for that??

the networked, relational way to be in the world IS the self

Savolainen, etc. don't coneive of it this way, but it really fits with the idea of ELIS

so interested in social construction, that they sort of dismiss social psychology-->tendency to look more at social construction

MT (Leah agrees): look at what the ELIS lit is saying abt identity compared to this concept of the indentity shaped by the multiple ways one exists in the networked world

incorporation of this constructivist viewpoint is important in the 1990s and 2000s; have to account for meaning, intentionality, cultural norms --> experience/sense-making/meaning-making approach versus role-based

Katzer article: individuals have unique meanings not predictable from group association; social considerations not just as social category, but how ppl engage


Abstracts for this week

Sligo, F.X. and Anna M. Jameson (2000).  The knowledge-behavior gap in use of health information.  Journal of the American Society for Information Science 51(9), 858-869. 

^diffusion of innovation theory relates

Fenichel, C.H. (1981). Online searching: Measures that discriminate among users with different types of experiences. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 32, January, 23-32. 

online searchers: experts not more successful than trained novices-->suggests that online systems are being searched more simply than assumed
major problems weren't with the mechanics of the system, but with the ways in which the user searched (beginning of the turn to user-focused design)
shows that when one is successfl with a specific repertoire of action, one returns to it unless motivated


Israeli children in lab setting without adult guide: play
independence; focus on 7yolds
developmental phases


Humanist scholars-->academic library: access to collections
conclusion: they'll get over it
resistant to change, anti-tech, solo work; "One cranky dude": subject librarians? we would assume a subject librarian is not only an expert in the materials, but also in the habits of the user group
Implicit interpretation: What about time? Why not get into the space where they are? Authenticity and provenance

MT: ties to identity and authority depends on provenance for the cranky professor-->so what will this evolve into with the new scholars brought up on digital provenance? authenticity is problematic for digital materials, but what happens when it's not a problem for younger scholars?


computer as socially constructed object; computer literacy education imposes a bias against what the user brings to the relationship with the computer; when teaching ppl abt computers, we need to think about how creating standards injects normative versus abnormal practice, excluding otherwise potentially useful things brought by individuals; "computer smoke screen"; societal issues are reflected in the ways that users search

computer literacy
Howard Rheingold-->"first citizen of the Internet"-->EFF
that sort of modeling keeps coming back again

what's the dominant partner when we talk about literacies-->does the user/actor have latitude to act outside the model?

Powell, Taylor, McMillen

randomized survey to study relationship bt childhood experiences and reading/library use as adults; which has better predictive power over how they use library and reading habits; parents shape children's attitudes; positive correlation; who you went with was very important; more likely to read as an adult if your mother read to you; when you couple demographics and childhood experiences, you gain good insight

ongoing search
consumer search: clothing and personal computers
survey on ongoing search activities
"informative" and "enjoyable" classification of activities
motivations for engaging in info search: later use or recreational activity
regressions on informative and enjoyable ratings: enjoyment made the regression significant; ongoing search-->enjoyable
implications: people low versus high ongoing searchers: high spend more money, keep up with the developments, are then seen as info providers among their friends-->info source

MT: types of searchers-->ongoing search expert (specific domain) versus expert researcher (the skill is in the research, not specific topic; what are their characteristics?


early in the history of online searching, but still relevant
assumptions about "good" online searchers
tested these "magic ingredients"
1980s-->before search engines
experienced results not nec higher quality than novices
MT: the group of ppl actually searching online is so much smaller

she tested different personality types: only the artistic/creative and indep/analytic showed elevation


midwife & psych nursing
little professional reading
"no info seeking"? depend on peer contact
librarians not informed about nursing specialties
what's wrong with going to peers for info skkg????
this is a classic case of an expectation of preferred behavior that isn't necessarily "better"
MT: "nursing specialties" assumes particular categories

Read Sorting Things Out (Bowker and Star)


IFLA policy paper, rich/poor; rural, literacy, fees, technology, HR (librarian), north-south


Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. Lexington, MA: Heath.


John Dewey writes about the problems facing education in the early part of the last century, but How we think reads as if it were a contemporary piece. Through a series of calls for balance among a host of epistemological attributes, Dewey describes the need for encouraging “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends” (p. 118)—what he calls “reflective thought”—to inspire and educate students. He likens this “ideal mental condition” (p. 218) to the exploratory nature of childhood:

Unless these steps in advance are to end in distraction, some clew of unity, some principle that makes for simplification, must be found….[T]he needed steadying and centralizing factor is found in adopting as the end of endeavor that attitude of mind, that habit of thought, which we call scientific….[T]he native and unspoiled attitude of childhood, marked by ardent curiosity, fertile imagination, and love of experimental inquiry, is near, very near, to the attitude of the scientific mind….[T]o appreciate this kinship…would make for individual happiness and the reduction of social waste… (p. 11)

Dewey’s antidualist calls for balance among extremes highlight his view of unified experiential knowledge. His five elements of inquiry serve as a pragmatic basis for methods by which educators can train students in habits that prepare them for interaction in and contribution to society. Much like the scientific method, these continual and iterative habits involve (1) identifying problems through practical reasoning, (2) conducting inquiry with curiosity, orderliness, alertness, and flexibility, (3) formulating a carefully considered hypothesis, (4) elaborating on this hypothesis through reasoned deliberation, and (5) instrumentalizing the hypothesis in a manner that establishes truth.

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WHAT IS OVER-UNDERREPRESENTED IN THIS LIST? different categories than these?

next week:  precursors to search-->what sets us up for search?
classic article: why don't they ask questions?
in order to search the way our institutions and system want, we have to come with a question

MT: news feeds may aid in this?


next comes a turn toward user-based design