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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2017

Morten Hertzum

The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast research on collaborative information seeking (CIS) and expertise seeking (EXS) to identify focal themes, blind spots…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast research on collaborative information seeking (CIS) and expertise seeking (EXS) to identify focal themes, blind spots, and possibilities for cross-fertilization.

Design/methodology/approach

Existing research was reviewed. The review consisted of a content analysis of 70 (CIS) and 72 (EXS) studies with respect to the context, scope, process, and setting of CIS and EXS, supplemented with a bibliometric analysis of the references in the reviewed studies.

Findings

In CIS, the context is a group of actors collaborating on a shared task. In EXS, the information need is held by an individual but resolved by consulting other people. While the typical scope of EXS studies is source selection, CIS studies mostly concern the consultation of the sources and the use of the obtained information. CIS and EXS studies also attend differentially to the information-seeking process. Only 4 percent of the references in the reviewed studies are cited in both CIS and EXS research. The author concludes that, at present, CIS and EXS are different discourses about similar issues.

Research limitations/implications

Increased interaction between CIS and EXS will advance research in both areas and prevent duplication of effort. Topics for future research are identified. It should be noted that the findings are limited to the 142 studies reviewed.

Originality/value

By analyzing CIS in the context of EXS, and vice versa, this study provides a fresh look at the information-seeking research that attends to collaboration.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 October 2018

Morten Hertzum and Preben Hansen

Information seeking is often performed in collaborative contexts. The research into such collaborative information seeking (CIS) has been proceeding since the 1990s but…

Abstract

Purpose

Information seeking is often performed in collaborative contexts. The research into such collaborative information seeking (CIS) has been proceeding since the 1990s but lacks methodological discussions. The purpose of this paper is to analyze and discuss methodological issues in existing CIS studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors systematically review 69 empirical CIS studies.

Findings

The review shows that the most common methods of data collection are lab experiments (43 percent), observation (19 percent) and surveys (16 percent), that the most common methods of data analysis are description (33 percent), statistical testing (29 percent) and content analysis (19 percent) and that CIS studies involve a fairly even mix of novice, intermediate and specialist participants. However, the authors also find that CIS research is dominated by exploratory studies, leaves it largely unexplored in what ways the findings of a study may be specific to the particular study setting, appears to assign primacy to precision at the expense of generalizability, struggles with investigating how CIS activities extend over time and provides data about behavior to a larger extent than about reasons, experiences and especially outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The major implication of this review is its identification of the need for a shared model to which individual CIS studies can contribute in a cumulative manner. To support the development of such a model, the authors discuss a model of the core CIS process and a model of the factors that trigger CIS.

Originality/value

This study assesses the current state of CIS research, provides guidance for future CIS studies and aims to inspire further methodological discussion.

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2017

Knut Alstad and Morten Hertzum

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how often geoscientists use different information sources and how this pattern of source use balances their perceptions of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how often geoscientists use different information sources and how this pattern of source use balances their perceptions of the quality and ease of use of the information sources.

Design/methodology/approach

The geoscientists at the Geological Survey of Norway were surveyed about their information-seeking behavior. The response rate was 70 percent.

Findings

The geoscientists primarily relied on web search and colleagues for information. These two information sources were perceived as easy to use, more so than bibliographic databases (GeoRef, Web of Science, and the library database). Bibliographic databases were used infrequently and perceived as yielding poorer quality results than consulting a colleague. The likelihood of using web search and colleagues to find information about a new topic was determined by the ease of using these sources. In contrast, the quality of the resulting information did not determine the frequency with which any of the information sources were used. The geoscientists who spent more time looking for information searched the web more often, had more reservations toward the quality of information obtained from colleagues, and read more journal articles and conference papers.

Research limitations/implications

Geoscientists’ use of an information source is self-reinforcing and unlikely to increase through improving its quality alone. It should be noted that the study is restricted to one geoscience organization.

Originality/value

The main reference about the information-seeking behavior of geoscientists is almost three decades old. This study provides an update.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 74 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2019

Morten Hertzum and Jette Seiden Hyldegård

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how four international students at a Danish university cope with their study-related and everyday information needs…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how four international students at a Danish university cope with their study-related and everyday information needs, behaviorally as well as affectively, and how their information seeking blends with their cross-cultural adaptation.

Design/methodology/approach

Each of the four participants contributed ten diaries and took part in three interviews during the first semester of their stay.

Findings

International students’ information needs and seeking behavior are shaped by their host university but also by cross-cultural, personal and situational issues. While the cross-cultural issues set international students apart from domestic students, the personal and situational issues create individual differences that call for more individually tailored support. The studied international students lacked information about both study-related and everyday issues. These two types of issues were intertwined and experienced as equally stressful. However, study-related information needs were more important, whereas everyday information needs were more difficult to resolve. In addition, participants tended to feel on their own when it came to finding needed information, but studying abroad also had elements of personal growth in meeting life’s challenges.

Research limitations/implications

More participants are needed to investigate how international students’ information seeking evolves over time.

Originality/value

This study contributes detailed information about international students’ study-related and everyday information seeking during their first semester abroad. The study has implications for everyday-life studies of international students’ information behavior and the international classroom in general.

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2017

Morten Hertzum and Pia Borlund

Social question and answer (social Q&A) sites have become a popular tool for obtaining music information. The purpose of this paper is to investigate what users ask about…

Abstract

Purpose

Social question and answer (social Q&A) sites have become a popular tool for obtaining music information. The purpose of this paper is to investigate what users ask about, what experience the questions convey, and how users specify their questions.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 3,897 music questions from the social Q&A site Yahoo! Answers were categorized according to their question type, user experience, and question specification.

Findings

The music questions were diverse with (dis)approval (42 percent), factual (21 percent), and advice (15 percent) questions as the most frequent types. Advice questions were the longest and roughly twice as long as (dis)approval and factual questions. The user experience associated with the questions was most often pragmatic (24 percent) or senso-emotional (12 percent). Pragmatic questions were typically about the user’s own performance of music, while senso-emotional questions were about finding music for listening. Notably, half of the questions did not convey information about the user experience but the absence of such information did not reduce the number of answers. In specifying the questions, the most frequent information was about the music context and the user context.

Research limitations/implications

This study suggests a division of labor between social Q&A sites and search engines for music information retrieval. It should be noted that the study is restricted to one social Q&A site.

Originality/value

Social Q&A sites provide an opportunity for studying what information real users seek about music and what information they specify to retrieve it, thereby elucidating the role of social Q&A in music information seeking.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2018

Magdalena Haman and Morten Hertzum

Researchers need to collaborate to address grand challenges such as climate change, poverty and sustainable food production. The purpose of this paper is to investigate…

Abstract

Purpose

Researchers need to collaborate to address grand challenges such as climate change, poverty and sustainable food production. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the researchers in a globally distributed research program interact to move their research forward.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors interviewed 14 participants in the research program.

Findings

In spite of the spatial distribution of the researchers the output from the research program is predominantly collaborative; as much as 79 percent of the publications are co-authored by researchers from multiple countries. However, the researchers mostly work alone on their contributions to their joint work and spend minimal time interacting. This strategy of minimal interaction is punctuated by islands of intense interaction when they occasionally meet in person. Interaction feels natural, productive and satisfying to them when they are co-located but less so when they are distributed, probably because they experience technology-mediated interaction over a distance as somewhat impoverished. The interviewees mention that the minimal-interaction strategy incurs the risks of cracks in common ground and of misconstruing minimal interaction as lack of commitment. But the strategy is generally well-liked.

Research limitations/implications

The experience of technology-mediated interaction as impoverished points to an explanation for the finding of less interaction in distributed than co-located research. It should be noted that the study is restricted to one research program.

Originality/value

By questioning widely touted recommendations for ongoing, regular and sustained interaction this study provides a fresh look at scientific collaboration.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Morten Hertzum

Multimedia retrieval is a complex and to some extent still unexplored area. Based on a full year of e‐mail requests addressed to a large film archive this study analyses…

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Abstract

Multimedia retrieval is a complex and to some extent still unexplored area. Based on a full year of e‐mail requests addressed to a large film archive this study analyses what types of information needs real users have and how these needs are expressed. The findings include that the requesters make use of a broad range of need attributes in specifying their information needs. These attributes relate to the production, content, subject, context and screening of films. However, a few attributes – especially title, production year and director – account for the majority of the attribute instances. Further, as much as 43 per cent of the requests contain no information about the context that gives rise to the request. The current indexing of the archived material is restricted to production‐related attributes, and access to the material is, thus, frequently dependent on the archivists’ extensive knowledge of the archived material and films in general.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 59 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 January 2021

Yu-Tzu Lin

Design rationale is design information that explains why an entity is designed as it is. This paper investigates how the documentation process and the use of documents in…

Abstract

Purpose

Design rationale is design information that explains why an entity is designed as it is. This paper investigates how the documentation process and the use of documents in service design projects influence the reuse of design information across projects.

Design/methodology/approach

This study analyzes two sets of data collected through interviews and field observation. It first applied Lund's (2004) four elements of documentation process to categorize the collected data. Then it used bottom-up data analysis approach to identify patterns of the documentation process.

Findings

The author speculates designers' focus on certain documents' social aspect instead of material aspect influences how they reuse design information across projects. Some documents are important because they represent a consensus, and some are important because of the document producers rather than its content. The author also found a similarity between economists and service designers by comparing the study results with Harper and Sellen's (1995) findings. Based on the comparison, the author concludes that detailed research reports are easily reusable across design projects. Finally, although the author observed that designers are using templates to explicate design rationale, the created content is not used across projects.

Originality/value

This study identifies six types of documents that are commonly created in service design projects, three types of producer involvement and three types of provisional design outcomes. It also provides two suggestions for designers to reuse design information across service design projects better and two implications for future study.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 77 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2020

Esther Ebole Isah and Katriina Byström

The focus of this paper is on the mediating role of medical records in patient care. Their informative, communicative and constitutive facets are analysed on the basis of…

Abstract

Purpose

The focus of this paper is on the mediating role of medical records in patient care. Their informative, communicative and constitutive facets are analysed on the basis of a case study in an African University teaching hospital.

Design/methodology/approach

A practice-oriented approach and the concept of boundary objects were adopted to examine medical records as information artefacts. Data from nonparticipant observations and interviews with physicians were triangulated in a qualitative analysis.

Findings

Three distinctive practices for information sharing – absorbing by reading, augmenting by documenting and recounting by presenting – were identified as central to the mediating role of medical records in the care of patients. Additionally, three information-sharing functions outside the immediate care of patients were identified: facilitating interactions, controlling hegemonic order and supporting learning. The records were both a useful information resource and a blueprint for sustaining shared practices over time. The medical records appeared as an essential part of patient care and amendments to them resulted in changes in several other work practices.

Originality/value

The analysis contributes to research on documents as enacting and sustaining work practices in a workplace.

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