A review of the spiritual in information studies

Jarkko Kari (Department of Information Studies, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 23 October 2007



The purpose of this paper is to explore one broad question: what do information, information processes, information services, as well as information systems and technology have to do with the spiritual?


The task is accomplished by conducting a literature review of 31 refereed texts in information studies. The paper proceeds by inspecting the manifestation of spirituality in information sources, generic information processes, as well as specific information processes: conceptualizing, seeking, processing, using, storing, describing and providing information.


A total of 11 relationships between information phenomena and the spiritual are discovered. Based on these, a definition of spiritual information is put forth. There are also some descriptive statistics on the corpus as a whole.

Research limitations/implications

The results are susceptible to limitations imposed by the reviewed studies themselves. Errors of interpretation were a possibility. The article suggests many directions for further research in the context of the spiritual, and discusses how to view spirituality in information science.

Practical implications

Practical implications are only mentioned here and there, because research implications are of primary concern in the investigation.


This paper is the first to synthesize information research in the spiritual domain. Beyond the subject area, the article demonstrates how to classify information processes, and conduct a context‐centric literature review in the field of information studies.



Kari, J. (2007), "A review of the spiritual in information studies", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 63 No. 6, pp. 935-962. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220410710836439

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.