Our contemplation of “The Literature” of information behavior continues...
Nearly a decade ago, the first information behavior textbook appeared, Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior (Case, 2002), and is now in its second edition (Case, 2006). It is an important landmark and sign of maturity for a research area to generate a textbook, which is a reference genre designed to systematically introduce a topic to students or other non-expert readers.
The author of Looking for Information (for short) is Donald O. Case, a professor at the College of Communications and Information Studies of the University of Kentucky. He holds an MLS from Syracuse University and a doctorate in communications research from Stanford University. Dr. Case has been involved in the information behavior research specialty since the mid-1980s. I personally have valued his pioneering research into the information behavior of social scientists and humanists (1986), as well as historians (1991a, 1991b). While a specialist in information behavior, Dr. Case has broad interests across information studies and has served as a president of ASIS&T.
In the preface of the 2nd edition of Looking for Information, Dr. Case explains that he decided to write the textbook in the early 2000s when interest in the information behavior research area was growing. Both editions of the book are centered on studies of information behavior (more so than information retrieval or library use), focus on the last two decades of research, and take a person-oriented (versus systems-oriented) perspective. The current edition has 423 pages and is organized as 5 sections and 13 chapters; at Amazon.com you can see the table of contents.
Looking for Information has been very well-received by information behavior scholars. In 2003 the first edition won the ASIS&T “Best Information Science Book of 2002.” A long review of the first edition in JASIS&T surveys the content in detail, remarks upon Dr. Cases’ attempt at a neutral metatheoretical stance, and critiques his application of Sense-Making theory, concluding overall that the text is “ambitious,” “welcome,” and “useful.” (Savolainen, 2003). The more recent second edition was reviewed in Information Research and deemed a “valuable reference source for teachers and students alike” (Wilson, 2007). If you are currently a doctoral student in the information behavior area, you won’t regret having this item on your bookshelf (see mine!).
The next posting on “The Literature” engages a handbook, Theories of Information Behaviour (Fisher, Erdelez, McKechnie, 2005). In the meantime, the ASIS&T annual meeting is just around the corner (October 9-12, New Orleans). There are many great information behavior/SIG-USE events on the agenda. Especially, the keynote is by eminent information behavior scholar Professor Tom Wilson and there is a post-conference workshop on October 12, Where Your World Meets Mine: Information Use Across Domains.
See you in New Orleans!
Case, D. (1986). Collection and organization of written information by social scientists and humanists: A review and exploratory study. Journalof Information Science, 11(3), 97-104.
Case, D. (1991a). Conceptual organization and retrieval of texts by historians: The role of memory and metaphor. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42(9),
Case, D. (1991b). The collection and use of information by some American historians: A study of motives and methods. The Library Quarterly, 61(1), 61-82.
Savolainen, R.(2003). Review of book Looking for information: A Survey of research on information seeking, needs and behavior, by D. O. Case. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54(7), 695-697.
Wilson, T.D. (2007). Review of the book Looking for information: a survey of research on information seeking, needs, and behavior, 2nd ed. by D. O. Case. Information Research, 12(3).
Jenna Hartel, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto