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RELATED RESEARCH PROJECTS

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National Science Foundation

Time affects information retrieval in many ways. Collections of documents change as new items are indexed. The content of documents themselves may change. Users submit queries at particular moments in time. And perhaps most importantly, people’s assessment of a document’s relevance to a query is often time-dependent. For example, searchers of news archives might seek information on a past event where relevant documents cluster in a window of time. Users of social media services such as Twitter demand topically relevant information that is new. People who monitor particular topics in the news (for example, editors of Wikipedia) take action when they find information that is topically relevant and that changes current knowledge. The traces of information created by change in documents,...

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National Science Foundation

Taxonomists are scientists who describe the world’s biodiversity. These descriptions of millions of species allow scientists to do many different kinds of research, including basic biology, environmental science, climate research, agriculture, and medicine. The problem is that describing any one species is not easy. The language used by taxonomists to describe their data is complex, and typically not easily understandable by computers nor even other scientists. This situation makes it harder to search for patterns across millions of species documented by thousands of researchers over many decades of work worldwide.

The goal of this research is to help researchers develop and use relatively simple tools to describe species in a way that make those descriptions easier to share...

search_literacy
Google

Despite the ubiquity of search in many people’s daily lives, a lack of search literacy can make it difficult to find solutions to technical problems, such as completing software-based tasks like troubleshooting program installations. iSchool Professor Michael Twidale and Assistant Professor Max Wilson of the University of Nottingham have received funding from Google for a project that aims to develop an understanding of search literacy, and to recommend best practices for teaching technical search literacy and creating tools in support of this kind of search.

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Institute of Museum and Library Services

Across the country, colleges and universities are struggling to meet demand for accessible forms of course materials for students with an array of disabilities. At present, each institution is addressing this problem individually, at great expense, and often without full campus coordination, much less consortial collaboration. Locating digital files is difficult and entails numerous sources. The resulting accessibility enhancement/conversion work creates a large corpus of digital files in varying forms to manage on each campus. Over the course of one year, this planning project will bring together experts from disability/accessibility services with librarians, IT professionals, advocates, and legal counsel, to develop shared infrastructure within which universities can support their...

novels_0
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

This HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) project seeks to produce the first large-scale cross-cultural study of the novel according to quantitative methods. Ever since its putative rise in the eighteenth century, the novel has emerged as a central means of expressing what it means to be modern. And yet despite this cultural significance, we still lack a comprehensive study of the novel’s place within society that accounts for the vast quantity of novels produced since the eighteenth century, the period most often identified as marking the origins of the novel’s quantitative rise. Our aim is thus twofold: 1) to enliven our understanding of one of the most culturally significant modern art forms according to new computational means, and 2) to establish the methodological foundations of a...

IN THE NEWS

Sep. 19, 2016

Cass Mabbott, PhD student, will participate in Information Seeking in Context (ISIC): The Information Behaviour Conference to be held September 20-23 in Zadar, Croatia. This biannual conference is devoted to information-seeking behavior and information use, focusing this year on analytical investigations of the connection between information research and information behavior and practices.

Mabbott will present, "Writing and reading the results: The reporting of research rigour tactics in information behaviour research as evident in the published proceedings of the biennial ISIC conferences, 1996-2014," with Heidi Julien, professor and chair of the Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of Buffalo, SUNY; Lynne McKechnie, professor of information and media studies at The University of Western Ontario; and Roger Chabot and Nicole Dalmer, PhD students at The University of Western Ontario.

Sep. 14, 2016
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Policies and practices in data management—including data preservation and sharing—are increasingly important and complicated aspects of research today. Scientific research and data centers as well as universities and academic libraries are leading the way in developing and implementing best practices in data management. But how do they integrate data management strategies and experts into their workflows?

It is at this intersection of people and institutions that doctoral candidate Cheryl Thompson is conducting her research. Specifically, she explores how organizations develop data expertise and services to support science.

“My research focuses on the role of institutions in data use and access in scientific and research environments. By studying organizations and professions, I investigate the conditions that advance or hinder data-intensive research as well as the emerging data profession and its required expertise,” said Thompson.

“As the need for quality...

Jul. 8, 2016
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At the same time that humanity shifts toward digital ways of living and working, the proportion of senior citizens among the world's population is growing. Rejecting the idea that aging is just a matter of declining minds and bodies, iSchool doctoral candidate Noah Lenstra (MS '09, CAS '11) has explored digital literacy among older adults in Champaign-Urbana using information infrastructure theory and the extended case method.

For his dissertation research, Lenstra conducted one year of participant observation in senior centers and public libraries. This included two hundred and sixty-seven computer help sessions with two hundred and nine seniors; interviews with seniors and staff; and examination of institutional documents. Throughout this study he practiced the reciprocal research method.

Reciprocal research, devised in the Community Informatics Research Lab, entails providing service as you collect data and reporting findings back to community partners. Lenstra's...

Jul. 1, 2016

Doctoral candidate Shameem Ahmed successfully defended his dissertation, "mHealth Literacy: Characterizing People’s Ability to Use Smartphone-based Health-related Applications," on June 30.

His committee includes Associate Professor Kate Williams (chair), Professor Emeritus Abdul Alkalimat, Professor Linda Smith, and Tiffany Veinot (associate professor, University of Michigan School of Information and School of Public Health).

From the abstract: This dissertation investigates the following research question: what literacy does a user need to gain benefits from using a health-related app on a smartphone? It coins the term ‘mHealth Literacy’ to refer to all such necessary literacies or skills, and identifies ten literacies which are required to use mHealth apps.

More than one-third of the adult population in the USA suffers from the problem of inadequate Health Literacy. With the emergence of new forms of information technology, the focus of Health Literacy...

Jun. 21, 2016

Doctoral candidate Noah Lenstra (MS '09, CAS '11) successfully defended his dissertation, "The Community Informatics of an Aging Society: A Comparative Case Study of Public Libraries and Senior Centers,” on June 20.

His committee includes Associate Professor Kate Williams (chair), Professor Linda Smith, Professor Michael Twidale, and Bo Xie (associate professor, University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing and School of Information).

Lenstra will present his findings to the public this Friday, June 24 from 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Douglass Annex located at 804 North Fifth St. in Champaign.

Abstract: The information society is also an aging society. This means that as information technology becomes woven into the fabric of daily life, the median age of humanity continues to rise. The participation of this growing population of older adults in the information society is often seen in the popular press and even in scholarship as dependent on their...

Jun. 7, 2016

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem and Associate Professor Carol Tilley will speak at the 2016 Children’s Literature Association Conference, to be held June 9-11 at The Ohio State University. The theme of the conference is “Animation,” which reflects developments in aesthetic creation and critical analysis of children’s and young adult literature.

Hoiem will chair a session titled, “The ABCs of Pedagogy: Visual Culture and Literacy,” on June 11, during which she will present her paper, “Reading objects, Reading books: The Mechanical Literacies of Industrial Britain.”

My paper argues that perceptions of early literacy and children’s books shifted during Britain’s first industrial revolution (1780-1850), as educators conceptualized learning and reading in materialist terms….Called “object learning” or “the education of things,” these pedagogical practices used a child’s physical awareness of her body and...

May. 27, 2016

Senior Lecturer Maria Bonn will speak next week at the Academic Book of the Future conference, “The Future Space of Bookselling.” The event will be held on June 3-5 at Bangor University in Wales.  

Bonn’s talk is titled, “Scholarship is so demanding . . .”

The relatively recent and rapid development of digital and network based delivery and distribution tools and services for text-based media has enlarged the spaces of the academic book, moving it out of just the scholar’s bookshelf, the library, and the retail bookstore. Depending on the needs of the scholar-creator, the demands of the content, and the desires of the audience, long-form scholarship can come to us online, in print, permanently ensconced, available at the moment of demand, and in parallel or complementary print and digital editions. In this presentation we will explore some cases of publishers seeking to meet all these demands, both in...

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