Opportunistic discovery by elderly Icelanders and their parents

Mary C. Penner


Introduction. This paper discusses an exploratory study of the opportunistic discovery of information by elderly people in Iceland who are still living in their own homes as well as by their relatives who act as care providers and support their information behaviour. Method. Open-ended interviews were conducted with twenty-four people, twelve of whom were aged 70 to 90 and twelve of whom were their relatives. Analysis. Analysis of the data was conducted according to grounded theory as described by Strauss and Corbin and the themes that emerged interpreted in terms of the context relating to each participant. Results. The information that the elderly people discovered reflect their everyday life problems and concerns. Information about formal support, health information and information about finances were most often mentioned. Their relatives discovered information about health and formal support. The information were discovered in the media and through discussions with family members, friends and acquaintances. Two information grounds supported the elderly participants’ opportunistic discovery of information: an association for the elderly and a sewing club. Conclusions. The findings suggest that opportunistic discovery of information and information sharing with others forms a significant part of the elderly participants’ information behaviour. Although their relatives also discovered information, this happened less often and was confined to fewer topics.

Research into data behavior Subject roles of kids

Alex Winsor, Christian Blackall


Introduction. This paper problematises how children are categorised as a specific user group within information behaviour research and discusses the implications of this categorisation. Methods. Two edited collections of papers on children’s information behaviour are analysed. Analysis. The analysis is influenced by previous discourse analytic studies of users within information science and by the sociology of childhood and the discourse analytic concept of subject positions guides the analysis. Results. In the children-focussed discourse of information behaviour research, children are described as being characterised by distinctive child-typical features, which means that similarities between children and other groups, as well as differences within the group, are downplayed. Children are also characterised by deficiencies: by not being adults, by not being mature and by not being competent information seekers. The discourse creates a position of power for adults, and for children a position as those in need of expert help. Children are also ascribed a subject position as users of technologies that affect the group in various ways. onclusions. It is suggested that information behaviour research would benefit from shifting the focus from trying to explain how children innately are and therefore behave with information, to creating understandings of various information practices which involve people of a young age.


Practice of data sharing and confidence in a distributed designer group

Sam Hose, Joseph Murdoch


Introduction. This paper presents an exploration of information sharing and trust in a geographically dispersed network of design scholars. Method. The study used a practice theory approach to identify aspects of trust in relation to information sharing. The empirical material consists of 15 in-depth interviews with design scholars from four Nordic countries and field notes from workplace visits. Analysis. The interview transcripts and field notes were categorised in accordance with three themes derived in synergy from practice theory and the empirical material. Results. A number of strategies for assessing and creating trust in relation to information sharing were identified. Depending on the dimension of practice in analytical focus, different aspects of trust emerge. Conclusions. Trust issues connected to information sharing appear in relation to the information to be shared, the people involved, the tools used for sharing, and the place where information sharing occurs. The practice-theoretical perspective has proven effective in order to identify and capture the elusive phenomenon of trust in connection to information sharing.

Information on the behavior of oil and gas workers in the fields of health, security and emergency responses: a debate on the value of information models

Stella Bramston, Lincoln Kroger


Introduction. We explore the application of models of information seeking behaviour to the findings of a study of the information needs of oil and gas workers in relation to health, safety and emergency response. Method. Primary data were collected through a Web-based survey of oil and gas workers and in-depthsemi-structured interviews with eleven individuals working in four case-study companies. The critical incident formed the basis for the first part of the interview. Analysis. Initial analysis of the data was undertaken by statistical analysis of the survey findings, qualitative coding of extended responses to both the survey and interview instruments, and further post hoc analysis of findings against themes identified in four key information behaviour models. Results. Information behaviour models help researchers to make sense of the data from applied, practice-based studies of information need and use in industry. Without such theoretical underpinning, applied research lacks depth and fails to contribute to the development of knowledge. Conclusions. The research demonstrates the validity of some of the core principles of the investigated models. The findings also identify a number of other aspects of information search which could be further explored in model generation.

Serious social media: horse riding security topics

Joann G. Allen , BBarbara J. Horne 


Introduction. The aim of this study is to gain insight into how issues of safety are discussed and understood by horse riders on social media. Safety issues are omnipresent in the leisure activity of horse riding. Social media affords user-generated content, which provide arenas for information interactions and informal discussions that complement more official arenas. Method. An extensive number of postings and comments were derived from selected social networking sites, blogs and web forums engaged in by Swedish horse riders. Analysis. An iterative, qualitative content analysis was conducted on the basis of analytical questions and emerging themes on rider safety. The analysis generated five themes that together portray rider safety as an issue in need of greater attention. Results. Safety issues are downplayed in social media dealing with horse riding. The findings show that safety for humans is given lower priority than the safety of horses. There is a tendency to disregard safety and to project personal experiences of fear onto the horse, and there is no agreement on what constitutes safety. Conclusion. The results highlight a renewed need for explicit attention to be paid to safety issues especially in riding schools, since safety remains elusive and negotiable in discussions in social media, and thus becomes a risk in itself. Participants try to emulate embodied knowledge (intentionally and unintentionally) through stories and series of pictures and film sequences. The lack of support for a corporeal information modality in social media generates uncertainty, which may distort the meanings and intentions latent in the conversations.