Notes on Rice Chs 1 & 3

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Notes on Rice, McCreadie, Chang Accessing and Browsing Information and Communication

information society:  the central nature of work, is involved in creating, processing, communicating, using, and evaluating information

social changes that emphasize info seeking:

  • increased knowledge work and cognitive demands from digitized symbols
  • interconnectedness of and interaction with IT and networks
  • forms, sources, and amounts of info

new focus on the user challenges traditional approaches that were concerned with systems

info inequity

the promise of nearly unlimited info retrieval falls short

Authors assert that these challenges result from “an incomplete conceptualization of….the information-seeking process.” 13

traditional conception: info skg as intentional process with known problem uses info resource to find specific facts/data for problem resolution

Borgman argues that tasks are interdependent and boundaries blur

also an increase in formats, sources, access points, strategies

info skg must be redefined—>Marchioni says it’s beyond info retrieval
need multiple perspectives to understand better and develop more user-focused systems
info skg overlaps with learning and problem solving

also involves communication (the exchange and creation of meaning through interaction among social actors)
Buckland, Mooers, Choo, Hayles, Borgman on social interaction and communication
Mooers: communication through time

Authors assert that general issues and processes of accessing and browsing into and communication are fundamental, not limited to print or computer info

The book develops a framework for understanding accessing and browsing with respect to information and communication.

narrow assumptions about info environments and needs created a lack of coherent ISB theory in LIS
(Chang, Dervin, Nilan, Durrance, Johnson, Katzer, Fletcher, Roberts, Wersig, Windel)
ISB is not operating in a rational environment—>Simon on bounded rationality and satisficing 15

Authors state this is why user studies research has focused on discovering motivations, obstacles, and dimensions of ISB and how people use info in various settings.

There are 2 parts to the book:
1. accessing info and communication
2. browsing info and communication

Accessing I&C
defining access parameters (privileged versus excluded)
Geertz, Taylor on membership and info interpretation
historically development of info sci is rooted in the need to control and gain access to scientific info (Sparck Jones)

They say the “unintentional” limiting of access illustrates hegemonic power a la Hall.
MT: I don’t think info control has been particularly unintentional!
But their point i that there is great power in the ability to “set and follow the terms of the debate, to define the parameters for form and content, to establish the framework for the very notion of what info can mean.” 16

barriers in LIS: the boundaries of the population of interest to LIS researchers have been drawn very narrowly

(Belkin, Neveling, Robertson, Wersig, Murdock, Golding, Gandy, Taylor)

importance of access as focus of research
traditionally info retrieval research focused on systems (Robertson, Swanson), neglecting access

“implicit in the info skg process are dimensions of access, many of which occur or are addressed long before a user formulates…a query statement.” 18
even though researchers are starting to look at access, their focus in on physical access to systems or to other individuals through communication media

other dimensions of access: cognitive, affective, political, economic, cultural should be explored

difficult to integrate research across disciplines

to develop a framework identifying the underlying dimensions of accessing info and comm—>research questions:

  •  What are the common issues and concerns implied by discussions of access related issues in several relevant research areas (see chapter 3)?
  • What are the influences and constraints on access to information (see chapter 3)?
  • What are the assumptions and primary issues or foci of each research area that lead to the differences among them (see chapter 4)?

to test the framework:

  • How well does the framework capture/organize participants’ perceptions of access to information across situations, individuals, and settings (see chapter 6)?
  • Do the study results suggest additional components or dimensions for the framework (see chapters 6 and 7)?

Browsing (in the sense of recognizing as opposed to specifying) is increasingly seen to be a valid alternative search strategy to keyword searching

  1. What is the nature of browsing?
  2. Why do people engage in browsing?
  3. What are the underlying dimensions of the browsing process?
  4. What types of browsing exist?
  5. What influences browsing?
  6. What are the consequences of browsing?

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 12.28.33 AMChapter 3

  1. What are the underlying conceptualizations of information?
    Buckland:  identifies three major conceptualizations of information: (1) process (change of what someone knows, an intangible process), (2) knowledge (an imparted intangible or its representation; change in beliefs, level of uncertainty; an intangible entity), and (3) thing (objects with the attribute of being informative; an expression, description, or representation; a tangible entity).

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Case:  significant differences in definitions of information are derived from different assumptions about (1) intentionality of the user or communicator, (2) utility of the information, (3) physicality of the information (material, conceptual, observable), and (4) truth or accuracy.

  1. What are common concerns about access-related issues?

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  1. What are common facets of the information-seeking process?

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  1. What are the roles of mediation and technology in accessing information?

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  1. What are the common influences and constraints on access to information?

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