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The information milieu of remote sensing: an overview

Linda Blake (Downtown Campus Library, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Timothy A. Warner (Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 3 June 2014




This paper aims to provide an overview of issues relevant to scientific information literacy within the context of the remote sensing, a cross-cutting scientific discipline. The authors examine the range of sources of scientific information, trends in publishing and the characteristics of scholarly articles in the field of remote sensing. They focus on challenges in finding and using information, as well as current trends and emerging issues.


Issues pertinent to teaching information literacy and particularly remote sensing research and lifelong learning are reviewed, drawing on the knowledge and experience of the authors, as well as published resources.


The large and increasing volume of publications in remote sensing suggests that professionals in this field require a contextual understanding of knowledge production and dissemination in remote sensing, as well as specific literature search skills.

Research limitations/implications

Just as for the field of remote sensing, scientific knowledge dissemination is changing rapidly. The full implications of electronic publications have probably not yet been realized in remote sensing, but have already changed the landscape considerably. In particular, open-access publications may have significant implications for both scholars and libraries.

Practical implications

This paper will be useful to information professionals, including librarians, who will benefit from a deeper understanding of remote sensing literature and how remote sensing information is produced, stored and disseminated. This knowledge is essential for teaching remote sensing students advanced information literacy skills.


Librarians, as well as educators and professionals in the field of remote sensing, require information on the context of remote sensing knowledge production and dissemination as a key component of information literacy. A review of the literature did not reveal current treatment of information literacy in the field of remote sensing.



The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions, which greatly improved this article.


Blake, L. and A. Warner, T. (2014), "The information milieu of remote sensing: an overview", Reference Services Review, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 351-363.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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