Monday, 2 April 2012

Towards a reconceptualization of the ‘information worlds of individuals’

an article by Liangzhi Yu (Nankai University, China) published in Journal of Librarianship and Information Science Volume 44 Number 1 (March 2012)


The term ‘information world’ has been widely used by LIS scholars in a rather cursory manner. Building upon a range of existing concepts in LIS literature, and drawing on evidence from interviews of 40 people of different social statuses, this paper offers a redefinition of the ‘information worlds of individuals’ concept within the framework of three definitional elements:
  • substance or contents, 
  • dimensional boundaries and 
  • dynamic for change.
It is meant to be a concept that describes individuals and their aggregates rather than communities or social environments. In this way, it parallels the ‘way of life’ concept of Savolainen but differs from the ‘small world’ concept of Chatman and the ‘information use environment’ concept of Taylor.

Through such a reconceptualization, this study aims to enhance the term’s analytical utility for such issues as information poverty, information inequality and information behaviour.

In particular, it hopes to offer a broader conceptual basis for information inequality analysis than that based on information access; it also hopes to help bridge the divided perspectives on work-related information behaviour and everyday life information-seeking behaviour when an integrated approach is called for.

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