I’m in the last semester of MLIS course work at SJSU. Each day, I sit down to write (and will do so until December): a [for me, tortuous] process of self-reflection and synthesis. I thought I would share bits and pieces, in lieu of other more timely topics, to help me flesh things out. So I hope you don’t mind, dear reader, but I’m using you. ;-)
Individuals are an essential component of information use: the senders and receivers of data. In Diffusion of Innovations, Everett Rogers explains how new information (i.e. “innovation”) moves among members in a social system. Individuals are one of the four essential elements of the process of diffusion, which he defines as “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system” (1995) [...] Librarians often choose to focus their efforts on either the social system or the individual depending on the type of service they set out to provide. At the reference desk in academic libraries, for example, we use our professional knowledge of human information behavior (e.g. Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process) and strategies for one-on-one reference interactions (Taylor’s question negotiation) to help users locate information online and on the shelves. This approach centers on the needs of the individual and utilizes our understanding of how individuals usually behave when confronted with an information need. Conversely, when developing system-wide models for information literacy instruction, we can use our knowledge of how people seek information in networks (e.g. Savolainen’s information source horizons) to build embedded staff programs that put librarians right into the spaces where students are likely to need information-seeking assistance, such as course management systems, classrooms, and group study spaces…
And so on and so forth.
Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th edition). New York: Free Press.
Savolainen, R. (2008). Source preferences in the context of seeking problem-specific information. Information Processing & Management, 44(1), 274-293. doi:10.1016/j.ipm.2007.02.008
Taylor, R. S. (1968). Question negotiation and information seeking in libraries. College & Research Libraries, 29, 178-194.