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Everyday information behavior during the “new normal” of the Covid-19 pandemic: approaching the notions of experiential and local knowledge

Michela Montesi (Department of Library and Information Science, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 June 2022

Issue publication date: 10 January 2023

105

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to understand everyday information behavior (IB) during the Covid-19 pandemic at the “new normal” stage, focusing on the notions of experiential knowledge (EK), i.e. knowledge acquired by first-hand experience or in personal interactions, and local knowledge (LK) as perception of local environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Seventeen interviews were carried out in February–May 2021, in a district of the city of Madrid (Spain). Interview transcripts were analyzed according to grounded theory, to identify major and complementary themes of EK and LK.

Findings

Participants’ stories show that EK cooperated with information originating from government, scientific authorities and mainstream media, in patterns of convergence and divergence. While convergence produces “thick knowledge” (knowledge perceived as solid, real and multidimensional), divergence leads to uncertainty and collaboration, but it also supports a critical stance on authorities’ information. In addition, participants’ perceptions of LK emphasize its human component. LK and EK are exchanged both explicitly and tacitly.

Originality/value

The paper presents the first approach to understanding EK and LK and their function during the health crisis, characterizing them as alternative information systems and as topics deserving major attention in research on IB and crisis management.

Keywords

Citation

Montesi, M. (2023), "Everyday information behavior during the “new normal” of the Covid-19 pandemic: approaching the notions of experiential and local knowledge", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 79 No. 1, pp. 160-182. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-03-2022-0056

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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