Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice

ISBN: 978-1-78350-815-0, eISBN: 978-1-78350-816-7

ISSN: 1876-0562

Publication date: 12 August 2014


(2014), "Preface", Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice (Library and Information Science, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. xxi-xxiii.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The publication of this work marks a significant milestone in conceptualizations, scholarship, and practice centered on information experiences.

Some four to five decades ago, the emergence of scholarly discourses surrounding people’s engagement with information in all of its forms, and how libraries and information agencies enable and empower that engagement through information literacy initiatives, began a rich tradition of engaged scholarship directed to “looking for the red thread of information in the social texture of people’s lives” (Bates, 2010, p. 3281). Over the decades, these scholarly traditions have moved from simplistic to more complex understandings of the information worlds and information behaviors of people: from resource use, library use, bibliographic instruction, search, and research skills, to the enablers, drivers, and barriers to information access and use, the information contexts of academic and professional work, and in more recent years, a sustained focus on the everyday life experiences of people. Certainly in the search for patterns of information behaviors and in the development of models, frameworks, and theories about people’s engagement with information, we have come to a richer understanding of that “red thread.” At the same time, we have learned that, whatever it is, that thread is not neatly woven into people’s lives in predictable ways, to create a social and cultural fabric that is certain and stable. We have learned that the information worlds of people are subjective and individual, imprecise, uncertain and fluid, and at times richly disruptive. Grappling with this dynamic and chaotic complexity provides opportunities to continuously reflect on, challenge, examine, and deepen our understanding of the information worlds of people in more holistic ways.

The origin of the English term experience appears to come from the Latin experiential, which means to try, to experiment, to trial. Even more insightful is the German word for experience — Erlebnis — the experience of the life, to live through something. This idea underpins this book: making visible scholarly opportunities for richer and deeper contextualizations and examinations of the lived-world experiences of people in everyday contexts as they be, do, and become. It is about people’s information life-worlds and lived experiences. As such, this book signifies a deeper consideration, value of, and reflection on the totality of people in an information world. It calls for expanded conceptions of what constitutes information; it engages with multiple meanings of information as in-forming; it explores the interrelationships between in-forming and out-forming of life experiences, unconscious or conscious, as they are lived and known. At the same time, it provides a number of theoretical lenses for examining people’s information worlds in more holistic and dynamic ways.

The epistemological and ontological basis for social science research, and indeed qualitative research, is the study of human experience. The book’s focus on the lived experiences of people in their information worlds heralds further opportunities for researchers to develop creative approaches to examining and documenting such experiences, continuing to expand our current repertoire of qualitative methods with immersive, interpretivist approaches such as narrative analysis, phenomenography, phenomenology, and ethnography, and engaging with these in rigorous, ethical ways. Such research also fosters the drawing on of a wider range of theoretical perspectives and frameworks, such as cultural studies, critical theories, feminist perspectives, language and linguistic theories: indeed, challenging some of the traditional and longstanding norms that govern information inquiry, and taking a more reflective and participatory stance on the actions, situations, and consequences of people’s engagement with information.

Such approaches give further hope in understanding and creating meaningful pathways to solving world problems — all so inextricably linked to information as it is known, shared, and experienced. Here are also rich opportunities to advance education, policy making, social justice and empowerment, and professional practice in creative and more inclusive ways not tried before. And indeed, here is a pathway to the development and evaluation of alternatives to mainstream thinking in information research, seeking to make visible an invisible whole, bringing together many voices and creative approaches to the subjectivity, uniqueness and fluidity of people’s lived experiences in their information worlds. As such, the book represents an opportunity for inclusive capacity-building and strengthening ties among researchers and professional practitioners and the information worlds of people, who form the heart of this work.

Ross J. Todd


Bates (2010) Bates, M. J. (2010). Information behavior. In M. J. Bates & M. N. Maack (Eds.), Encyclopedia of library and information sciences (3rd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 23812391). New York, NY: CRC Press.

Information experience: Approaches to theory and practice
Library and Information Science
Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice
Copyright Page
List of Contributors
List of Editors
Editorial Advisory Board
Preface Preface Preface
Chapter 1 Information Experience: Contemporary Perspectives
Chapter 2 Researching Information Experience: Object and Domain
Chapter 3 Researching Information Experience: Methodological Snapshots
Chapter 4 A Reflection on the Relationship between the Study of People’s Information Behaviour and Information Literacy: Changes in Epistemology and Focus
Chapter 5 Creating and Expressing: Information- As-It-Is-Experienced
Chapter 6 Informed Bodies: Does the Corporeal Experience Matter to Information Literacy Practice?
Chapter 7 Information Experiences of Teen Content Creators
Chapter 8 Exploring Information Literacy during a Natural Disaster: The 2011 Brisbane Flood
Chapter 9 Information Experiences: A Native American’s Perspective
Chapter 10 Experiential Brutality in Sense Making: Researching Dynamic Sense Making Processes in Online Discussions about Kidney Failure
Chapter 11 Diversifying Information Literacy Research: An Informed Learning Perspective
Chapter 12 How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: The High Cost to Business of Poor Information Experiences
Chapter 13 Information Experiences in the Workplace: Foundations for an Informed Systems Approach
Chapter 14 Information Experiences of Female Legislators: Examining Constituency Activities and Representation in the Ugandan Parliament
Chapter 15 The Expert Searcher’s Experience of Information
Chapter 16 Experiences of Informed Learning in the Undergraduate Classroom
Chapter 17 The Emotional Valence of Information Experience: Relation to Personality and Approach to Studying
Chapter 18 Information Experience in the Context of Information Seeking Methods by Prospective Students
Chapter 19 Information Experience: New Perspectives and Research Directions
About the Authors