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Phenomenology and information studies

John M. Budd (School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri‐Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 February 2005




To examine work on phenomenology and determine what information studies can learn and use from that work.


The paper presents a literature‐based conceptual analysis of pioneering work in phenomenology (including that of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Paul Ricoeur, and others), application of such ideas as intentionality and being in information studies work, and the potential for greater application of the information seeker as other.


The literature on phenomenology contains thought that is directly relevant to information studies and information work. Close examination of perception, intentionality, and interpretation is integral to individuals’ activities related to searching for and retrieving information, determining relevance, and using technology. Essential to the realization of phenomenology's potential is adoption of communication by dialogue so that an information seeker is able both to conceptualize need and to articulate that need. Some promising work in information studies demonstrates an openness to the ongoing and continuous perceptual experiences of information seekers and the relation of that process of perceiving to the growth of knowledge.


Offers a different way of thinking about human‐information relationships and the ways that information professionals can interact with information seekers.



Budd, J.M. (2005), "Phenomenology and information studies", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 61 No. 1, pp. 44-59.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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