This paper, “Supporting Collaborative Information Seeking and Searching in Distributed Environments,” [PDF] is going to be presented at the LWA 2013 Conference in Bamberg, Germany this October.
“LWA stands for ‘Lernen, Wissen, Adaption’ (Learning, Knowledge, Adaptation). It is the joint forum of four special interest groups of the German Computer Science Society (GI).”
Patricia Spence wrote her Ph.D. Dissertation at Penn State University.
Interconnectedness and Contingencies: A Study of Context in Collaborative Information Seeking
Collaborative information seeking (CIS) is an important aspect of work in organizational settings. Researchers are developing a more detailed understanding of CIS activities and the tools to support them; however, most studies of CIS focus on how people find and retrieve information collaboratively, while overlooking the important question of how context affects CIS activities. This dissertation focuses on unpacking the concept of context to understand how contextual factors affect CIS. Although context is an important topic in numerous disciplines, a common definition in the research is difficult to identify. Broadly, context includes the circumstances and conditions that surround and affect a phenomenon. These circumstances and conditions may be tangible or intangible and could include location, position, people, objects, function, purpose, meaning, or time. In this dissertation, I address two important gaps in current research on CIS as related to context. First, there is limited research on the contextual factors that can affect collaborative information seeking activities. Second, there is a lack of understanding on how contextual factors influence collaborative information seeking activities. To address these research gaps I conducted an ethnographic field study of the CIS activities of information technology teams in two hospitals. In this field study, I used qualitative methods including interviews, observations, shadowing, and artifact collection to examine the contextual factors impacting CIS activities and how these contextual factors impacted CIS practices. Through this investigation, I contribute to the research field by offering a conceptual understanding of the contextual factors affecting collaborative information seeking activities in organizational settings. Specifically, this study (i) identifies categories of contextual factors impacting CIS activities, (ii) explains how the contextual factors impacted those CIS activities, and (iii) develops a framework of contextual factors and their impact on collaborative information seeking in organizations. The research presented in this dissertation helps us extend our conceptual understanding of context and collaborative information seeking and also highlights the importance of studying context as an aspect of CIS.
Here is some information about the Third Workshop on Collaborative Information Seeking at the ACM CSCW 2013 Conference, February 24, 2013. San Antonio, Texas.
Information seeking is often not a solitary activity. The notion that people working in collaboration on information tasks should be studied and supported has become more prevalent in the recent years. The field of collaborative information seeking (CIS) is re-emerging, and bringing researchers and practitioners from various disciplines. This workshop will provide an opportunity to gather a motivated set of participants in learning and sharing their insights around theoretical foundations of CIS as well as its applications. The interactive nature of the workshop will allow the participants share their research, ideas, questions, and opinions with a goal of outlining an agenda for future research on collaborative information seeking, synthesis, and sense-making. The workshop will provide a venue to bring together those who have been working on CIS issues and those who want to plan their research agenda in this emerging field.
The Outreach of Digital Libraries: A Globalized Resource Network
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2012, Volume 7634/2012, 106-115
Chapter: Social Interaction Patterns during Mobile Information Seeking (Fulltext limited to subscribers.)
Mobile applications now incorporate features for communication and collaboration. One way that such applications are being used is in collaborative information seeking. There is, however, a lack of understanding of users’ social interaction needs when performing such tasks. To address this gap and using tourism as the domain, we conducted a diary study to examine tourists’ collaborative information seeking activities during their trips. These collaboration patterns were analyzed using the BIG6 information seeking process. Results showed that tourists were more influenced by their inner circle of social contacts such as family during the task definition, information seeking strategies, and location and access phases as compared to strangers. Conversely, strangers were more influential during the use of information, synthesis and evaluation phases. Implications of these findings are also discussed.
Max L. Wilson and Mathew Wilson wrote this report, “Social Anxieties and Collaborative Information Seeking.”
Anxiety, especially in learning and decision-making, has long been a recognised factor of solitary Information seeking. Collaborative information seeking, however, reintroduces factors of social anxiety into the search process, which were otherwise left behind in the transition between library (social) and online (individual) services. Library Anxiety Theory, for example, emphasized the social inferiority that many novice library users felt. This position paper speculates on the applicability of such social anxiety theories to the information seeking process, as novices begin to search collaboratively with other users.
This article in JASIST, “National study of information seeking behavior of academic researchers in the United States,” evaluates the collaboration practices of scientists in five different university systems. (Subscription required.) In it, the authors note that:
Novel forms of scholarly communication such as collaborative information sharing technology are evolving gradually. This may be the beginning of a more significant transformative change, particularly in sharing information within laboratories or groups or among multisite collaborations. Many professors have begun utilizing blogs, wikis and multimedia (e.g., YouTube) to communicate with their colleagues
Of course this article covers more than just the collaboration aspect of their work. It is interesting to see how scientists at the various institutions read, share, use and store their academic content.