January 29, 2014
IS 246, Winter 2014
Savolainen, Reijo (1995). Everyday life information seeking: Approaching information seeking in the context of “way of life.” Library & Information Science Research 17(3), 259-294.
A study proposing a model for everyday life (non-work) information seeking (ELIS), which is shaped by way of life and mastery of life. Way of life is an individual’s socioculturally-derived way of thinking and organizing everyday activities, while mastery of life is one’s maintenance of way of life. One’s way of life affects one’s mastery of life, and vice versa. Information behavior is one aspect of mastery of life. Mastery of life (and thus information behavior) is situated along two dimensions: cognitive-affective and optimistic-pessimistic.
Savolainen demonstrates the validity of his model by interviewing 11 laborers and 11 teachers. It was expected that the sample would display different mastery of life/information behavior along class lines (due to social class affecting way of life). The sample’s habits with regards to seeking orienting information and seeking practical information were analyzed. With the former, teachers tended more towards the cognitive on the cognitive-affective spectrum than workers, who were more affective, suggesting that the values of one’s social class, and thus one’s way of life, do play a significant role. When it came to the latter, however, most interviewees were pessimistic/cognitive, suggesting that the nature of the problem played a greater role than way of life in these situations. Teachers still displayed more cognitive traits than workers, though, indicating that way of life still had some influence. In conclusion, Savolainen find his model to be accurate, and argues that further refinement can be made to understand how the sources and strategies afforded via way and mastery of life affect information behavior.