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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 19 October 2021

Jutta Haider and Olof Sundin

The article makes an empirical and conceptual contribution to understanding the temporalities of information literacies. The paper aims to identify different ways in which…

Abstract

Purpose

The article makes an empirical and conceptual contribution to understanding the temporalities of information literacies. The paper aims to identify different ways in which anticipation of certain outcomes shapes strategies and tactics for engagement with algorithmic information intermediaries. The paper suggests that, given the dominance of predictive algorithms in society, information literacies need to be understood as sites of anticipation.

Design/methodology/approach

The article explores the ways in which the invisible algorithms of information intermediaries are conceptualised, made sense of and challenged by young people in their everyday lives. This is couched in a conceptual discussion of the role of anticipation in understanding expressions of information literacies in algorithmic cultures. The empirical material drawn on consists of semi-structured, pair interviews with 61 17–19 year olds, carried out in Sweden and Denmark. The analysis is carried out by means of a qualitative thematic analysis in three steps and along two sensitising concepts – agency and temporality.

Findings

The results are presented through three themes, anticipating personalisation, divergences and interventions. These highlight how articulating an anticipatory stance works towards connecting individual responsibilities, collective responsibilities and corporate interests and thus potentially facilitating an understanding of information as co-constituted by the socio-material conditions that enable it. This has clear implications for the framing of information literacies in relation to algorithmic systems.

Originality/value

The notion of algo-rhythm awareness constitutes a novel contribution to the field. By centring the role of anticipation in the emergence of information literacies, the article advances understanding of the temporalities of information.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 78 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Olof Sundin, Jutta Haider, Cecilia Andersson, Hanna Carlsson and Sara Kjellberg

The purpose of this paper is to understand how meaning is assigned to online searching by viewing it as a mundane, yet often invisible, activity of everyday life and an…

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1946

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how meaning is assigned to online searching by viewing it as a mundane, yet often invisible, activity of everyday life and an integrated part of various social practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Searching is investigated with a sociomaterial approach with a starting point in information searching as entangled across practices and material arrangements and as a mundane part of everyday life. In total, 21 focus groups with 127 participants have been carried out. The study focusses particularly on peoples’ experiences and meaning-making and on how these experiences and the making of meaning could be understood in the light of algorithmic shaping.

Findings

An often-invisible activity such as searching is made visible with the help of focus group discussions. An understanding of the relationship between searching and everyday life through two interrelated narratives is proposed: a search-ification of everyday life and a mundane-ification of search.

Originality/value

The study broadens the often narrow focus on searching in order to open up for a research-based discussion in information science on the role of online searching in society and everyday life.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Olof Sundin and Hanna Carlsson

This paper investigates the experiences of school teachers of supporting pupils and their apprehensions of how pupils search and assess information when search engines…

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1290

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates the experiences of school teachers of supporting pupils and their apprehensions of how pupils search and assess information when search engines have become a technology of literacy in schools. By situating technologies of literacy as sociomaterial the purpose of this paper is to analyse and discuss these experiences and understandings in order to challenge dominant views of search in information literacy research.

Design/methodology/approach

Six focus group interviews with in total 39 teachers working at four different elementary and secondary schools were conducted in the autumn of 2014. Analysis was done using a sociomaterial perspective, which provides tools for understanding how pupils and teachers interact with and are demanded to translate their interest to technologies of literacy, in this case search engines, such as Google.

Findings

The teachers expressed difficulties of conceptualizing search as something they could teach. When they did, search was most often identified as a practical skill. A critical perspective on search, recognizing the role of Google as a dominant part of the information infrastructure and a co-constructor of what there is to know was largely lacking. As a consequence of this neglected responsibility of teaching search, critical assessment of online information was conflated with Google’s relevance ranking.

Originality/value

The study develops a critical understanding of the role of searching and search engines as technologies of literacy in relation to critical assessment in schools. This is of value for information literacy training.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 72 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Olof Sundin and Jenny Johannisson

To show that the neo‐pragmatist position of Richard Rorty, when combined with a sociocultural perspective, provides library and information science (LIS) with a forceful…

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5667

Abstract

Purpose

To show that the neo‐pragmatist position of Richard Rorty, when combined with a sociocultural perspective, provides library and information science (LIS) with a forceful epistemological tool.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature‐based conceptual analysis of: historical development of pragmatism in relation to other epistemological positions; neo‐pragmatism as a non‐dualist, both purpose and communication oriented, epistemology; and a sociocultural perspective within pedagogy, originated from the Russian researcher Lev Vygotsky.

Findings

Brought together, a neo‐pragmatist, sociocultural perspective contributes to a focus on people's actions through the use of linguistic and physical tools. As a tangible example of how neo‐pragmatism can be applied as an epistemological tool within LIS, information seeking seen as communicative participation is discussed. This article unites a perspective on information seeking as communicative participation with the neo‐pragmatist concepts of “tools” and “communities of justification”. The article is concluded by an assessment of neo‐pragmatism as an epistemological position within LIS, including those research issues that arise from this position and that are introduced along the way.

Practical implications

In its focus on usability, the neo‐pragmatist position provides a possible bridge between academic and other professional practices in the field of LIS.

Originality/value

Provides, through the means of neo‐pragmatism, an argument for the necessity of epistemological argumentation within LIS.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 61 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Olof Sundin

The aim of this paper is to explore how trustworthy knowledge claims in Wikipedia are constructed by focusing on the everyday practices of Wikipedia editors. The paper…

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1938

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore how trustworthy knowledge claims in Wikipedia are constructed by focusing on the everyday practices of Wikipedia editors. The paper seeks to focus particularly on the role of references to external sources for the stabilisation of knowledge in Wikipedia.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is inspired by online ethnography. It includes 11 Wikipedia editors, together with the sociotechnical resources in Wikipedia. The material was collected through interviews, online observations, web documents and discussions, and e‐mail questions. The analysis was carried out from a perspective of science and technology studies (STS).

Findings

Wikipedia can be regarded as a laboratory for knowledge construction in which the already published is being recycled. The references to external sources anchor the participatory encyclopaedia in the ecology of established media and attribute trust to the knowledge published. The policy on Verifiability is analysed as an obligatory passage point to which all actors have to adjust. Active Wikipedia editors can be seen as being akin to janitors of knowledge, as they are those who, through their hands‐on activities, keep Wikipedia stable.

Originality/value

The study develops an innovative understanding of the knowledge construction culture in one of the most popular sources for information on the internet. By highlighting the ways in which trust is established in Wikipedia, a more reflexive use of the participatory encyclopaedia is made possible. This is of value for information literacy training.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 67 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2008

Olof Sundin

The purpose of this paper is to show how different approaches to information literacy, such as are mediated through web‐based tutorials, are used as tools in negotiating…

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4935

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how different approaches to information literacy, such as are mediated through web‐based tutorials, are used as tools in negotiating the information‐seeking expertise of university librarians.

Design/methodology/approach

A textual analysis of 31 web‐based Scandinavian tutorials for information literacy has been conducted. The similarities and differences identified are analysed as linguistic expressions of different approaches to information literacy. The approaches are seen as constructions based on a dialogue between the empirical data and the theoretical departure points.

Findings

Four approaches to information literacy emerge in the results: a source approach, a behaviour approach, a process approach, and a communication approach. The approaches entail different perspectives on information literacy. They impart diverging understandings of key concepts such as “information”, “information seeking” and the “user”.

Practical implications

A reflective awareness of different approaches to information literacy is important for both researchers and LIS practitioners, since the approaches that come into play have practical consequences for the operation of user education.

Originality/value

The present study supplements the information literacy research field by combining empirical findings with theoretical reflections.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 64 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2011

Helena Francke, Olof Sundin and Louise Limberg

The article concerns information literacies in an environment characterised by the two partly competing and contradictory cultures of print and digital. The aim of the…

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1937

Abstract

Purpose

The article concerns information literacies in an environment characterised by the two partly competing and contradictory cultures of print and digital. The aim of the paper is to provide a better understanding of the ways in which students assess the credibility of sources they use in school, with a particular interest in how they treat participatory genres.

Design/methodology/approach

An ethnographic study of a school class's project work was conducted through observations, interviews, and log books in blog form. The analysis was influenced by a socio‐cultural perspective.

Findings

The study provides increased empirically based understanding of students' information literacy practices. Four non‐exclusive approaches to credibility stemming from control, balance, commitment, and multiplicity were identified.

Originality/value

The study adds to the understanding of how credibility is assessed in school environments with a particular focus on how digital and participatory genres are treated.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 67 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Anna Hampson Lundh, Helena Francke and Olof Sundin

The purpose of this paper is to explore how students construct narratives of themselves as information seekers in a school context where their descriptions of their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how students construct narratives of themselves as information seekers in a school context where their descriptions of their information activities are assessed and graded.

Design/methodology/approach

Blog posts on credibility judgements written by 28 students at a Swedish upper secondary school were analysed through a bottom-up coding process based in the sociocultural concept of narratives of selves.

Findings

Two tensions in the students’ accounts are identified. The first tension is that between the description of the individual, independent student and the description of the good group member. The second tension is between describing oneself as an independent information seeker and at the same time as someone who seeks information in ways that are sanctioned within the school setting.

Research limitations/implications

The study focuses on a specific social practice and on situated activities, but also illustrates some aspects of information activities that pertain to educational contexts in general. It explores how social norms related to credibility judgements are expressed and negotiated in discursive interaction.

Practical implications

The study highlights that when information activities become objects of assessment, careful consideration of what aspects are meant to be assessed is necessary.

Originality/value

The study is based on the idea of information activities as socially and discursively shaped, and it illustrates some of the consequences when information activities become objects of teaching, learning, and grading.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 71 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2011

Jennifer Hoyer

This paper aims to discuss traditional conceptions of information literacy as created within an academic context to address information needs within this context. It seeks…

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5736

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss traditional conceptions of information literacy as created within an academic context to address information needs within this context. It seeks to present alternative realities of information use outside the academic sector, and to suggest that information literacy instruction within academia does not go far enough in preparing students for the information society beyond university. The aim is then to follow this by discussion of appropriate information literacy models to prepare young people for information use in a variety of workplace environments.

Design/methodology/approach

As an example of the application of appropriate information literacy models for successful workplace information use, the Edmonton Social Planning Council youth internship program is examined through a case study of two successful internship projects.

Findings

This youth internship program provides young people with skills that are highly relevant to their information environment outside the academic sector. It provides them with a framework for interacting with information that can be applied in any academic or non‐academic setting in which they find themselves.

Practical implications

The program described could serve as inspiration for other public, private or nonprofit organizations to collaborate on similar initiatives. It also serves to remind academic librarians of core information best practices that must be conveyed through library instruction if students are to become good information citizens.

Originality/value

While information literacy instruction receives much attention in the academic sphere, it is necessary to take a broader view of information use throughout the lifetime of information users and the instruction required to prepare students adequately. The paper focuses on these issues.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Birger Hjørland

The purpose of this article is to introduce the special issue of Journal of Documentation about library and information science (LIS) and the philosophy of science.

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9030

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to introduce the special issue of Journal of Documentation about library and information science (LIS) and the philosophy of science.

Design/methodology/approach

The most important earlier collected works about metatheories and philosophies of science within LIS are listed.

Findings

It is claimed that Sweden probably is the country in which philosophy of science has the highest priority in LIS education. The plan of the guest editor was that each epistemological position should be both introduced and interpreted in a LIS context together with a review of its influence within the field and an evaluation of the pros and cons of that position. This was only an ideal plan. It is argued that it is important that such knowledge and debate are available within the LIS‐literature itself and that the answers to such questions as “What is positivism?” are not trivial ones.

Originality/value

The introduction is written to assist readers overviewing the issue and share the thoughts of the editor in planning the issue.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 61 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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