Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: New Library World, Volume 116, Issue 3/4
Welcome to this special issue which explores information behaviour and practice, in general, and specifically focusses on the implications for library and information services. Information-seeking behaviour and information practice remain areas of importance in information science and librarianship, perhaps even more so in the digital age. This special issue is an opportunity to share ideas and scholarship and to explore models and methods. The papers chosen for inclusion cover a range of topics and approach them from a number of different epistemological and methodological positions demonstrating the liveliness and creativity of researchers working in contemporary information behaviour and practice scholarship.
The special issue opens with an imaginative and speculative piece by Lyn Robinson discussing the development of immersive documents and what might be the implications for the library/information profession and its practice. This is followed by a theoretically orientated article by Dan Albertson who reviews current work on user-centred evaluations of visual digital libraries to produce a framework that can be used to inform future user-centred evaluations. In this article, Albertson ties together theory and practical considerations in a bid to move the debate forward.
The special issue then continues with three papers focussing on health-related information behaviour and practice. St Jean et al. consider the influence of positive hypothesis testing on youths’ online health-related information-seeking and offer an interesting framework for assessing biases in assessment of results and resources in general. This research presents interesting findings related to the teens’ and preteens’ ability to formulate queries that return accurate health information. Catherine Ebenezeer reviews the literature relating to nurses’ and midwives’ information behaviour, an area that has received relatively little attention, while Baradaran et al. write about drug information-seeking behaviours of health-care professionals in Iran, investigating health information-seeking behaviours in a developing country with limited information technology infrastructure in place. This paper argues for the value of personal information management (PIM) techniques, adding to the growing field of PIM scholarship.
The next three papers in this issue explore information behaviour and practice in relation to education. Idim Beyum examines the information practices of Business PhD students at a Norwegian business school and considers both formal and social information-seeking practices. Lily Todorinova’s article focusses on undergraduate use of Wikipedia, a topic of considerable current interest, as academics are having to face the fact that students do use Wikipedia. It asks questions about what students do to find information after reading an article in Wikipedia and whether the references and links in the Wikipedia article might encourage students to discover library collections. The Wikipedia question is addressed once again by Aline Soules who examines academics’ perceptions of Wikipedia. Soules investigates whether and how attitudes have changed in the past five years. The results make for interesting reading.
Seenuankaew et al.’s article, which completes the issue, is an examination of the information behaviours of farmers in Thailand, focussing particularly on information behaviour of successful farmers in relation to value-added production and marketing. A useful process model is developed through this research that could be applied to other countries and other settings.
We have enjoyed reading all of these articles and putting the special issue together and hope that you enjoy reading this lively and interesting collection. Looking ahead, we anticipate that this special issue will stimulate further research and scholarship in the area of information behaviour and practice.
Pauline Rafferty and Allen Foster - Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK