The whirlwind of the ASIS&T annual meeting has passed. It was great to have SIG-USErs altogether at so many excellent sessions. This post forges onward through The Literature of information behavior and focuses on a resource that is very special to SIG-USE.
It is the handbook Theories of Information Behavior (Fisher, Erdelez, & McKechnie, 2005) or TIB, for short. A handbook is a reference genre that places emphasis on “how to” directions. The content of a handbook is much more concisely written than a journal article or encyclopedia entry. In this case, TIB contains succinct introductions to metatheories, theories, and models of information behavior. The preface states it is intended as “a researcher’s guide, a practical overview of both well-established and newly proposed conceptual frameworks that one may use to study different aspects of information behavior” (p. xx).
TIB is special because it was produced by SIG-USE in an unprecedented, grassroots, collaborative effort. The three editors Karen Fisher, Sanda Erdelez, and Lynne E. F. McKechnie are über-dynamic scholars in the heyday of their academic careers. Utilizing an early version of this SIG-USE mailing list they invited community members to nominate and then write-up theories for inclusion. Submissions were peer-reviewed and the collection was published by Information Today. Proceeds from the sales of TIB are channelled back into SIG-USE and its awards program.
The handbook opens with introductory statements by Marcia J. Bates, Brenda Dervin, and Tom Wilson. Next are entries on 72 individual metatheories/theories/models by an expert and/or enthusiast. Each short article addresses origins, propositions, methodological implications, use, related conceptual frameworks, and authoritative primary and secondary references. You will encounter oldies-but-goodies (Anomalous State of Knowledge, Berrypicking, Information Search Process, Sense-Making) as well as novel approaches (Symbolic Violence, Women’s Ways of Knowing, Bandura’s Social Cognition). Here are illustrated instructions from an editor on how to use TIB.
This is a great handbook for scholars, educators, students, and research-minded practitioners, too. When not on my shelf of information behavior books, it has a place on my desk.
Next week’s post is the last about The Literature of information behavior. We have reconnoitered a great encyclopedia, annual literature review, textbook, and handbook. What will be covered in the last post? Stay tuned! If you think any literature-related resource(s) has been overlooked, this SIG-USE mailing list is the place to squawk.
Fisher, K. E., Erdelez S., & McKechnie, E. F. (Eds.) (2005). Theories of Information Behavior. Medford, NJ: Information Today.
Jenna Hartel, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto