WEEK 2 – KM 630 Introduction to the Nature of Information/Knowledge; Information and Knowledge Users/Organizations andtheir Information Seeking Behaviors Instructor Lynn Lampert – CSUN KM Program
Students Learning Outcomes for Week 2 Students will: 1) Analyze the nature and definitions of information and knowledge.2) Discuss the literature of user education and the information seeking process in order to learn about the information seeking behavior of users and its relationship to KM.3) Identify terms frequently used in information seeking behavior research.4) Acquire an understanding about the importance of user education programs in various information settings: corporations, education, libraries, museums etc.5) Students will discuss what instruction and training means in a knowledge management context.
Schedule/Outline for Class • 6:00-6:30 – Discussion of Information as Thing/ vs. Knowlegde – Buckland article -/ Lecture • In-class exercise (Handout)6:30 – 7:15 Problem Solving and Information Usage
Schedule/Outline for Class • 7:15-7:35 Break #1 • 7:35-8:20 – What can information seeking behavior tell us about KM practices? – Looking at Morrison'“Newcomer Information Seeking: Exploring Types, Modes, Sources and Outcomes”
Schedule/Outline for Class • 8:20-8:40 – Break #2 – • 8:40- 9:20 – Information Seeking Behavior and Kuhlthau’s TheoriesKuhlthau, C. (1991). Inside the search process: Information seeking from the user's perspective. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 42, 361-371. Kuhlthau, C. (1999).“The Role of Experience in the Information Search Process of an Early Career Information Worker: Perceptions of Uncertainty, Complexity, Construction and Sources” Journal of the American Society for Information Science 50(5), 399-412.
9:20-9:40 – Discussion to reactions to:Mueller, B., Sorini,G., & Grossman, E. “Information Seeking Behavior of Engineers in the Corporate Environment: Implications for Information Delivery • 9:40 – 10:00pm Wrap-up/ Look to Week 3
Definitions & Theories What is information? • Information as thing(Buckland) • The social life of information(Brown and Duguid) • Information and sensemaking(Devin)
Some of the Definitions Out There So then, where to start? • Information is derived from Latin informare which means “give form to” • It connotes an imposition of structure upon some indeterminate mass • During the transition to modernity, the term changed into information with new meaning To receive sense impressions from the world (in-forming) ~then~ To communicate something to someone • Capurro, R. and Hjorland B. (2004). The concept of information. http://www.capurro.de/infoconcept.html
So what is information? Data Information Knowledge The portion of the environment perceived or generated and used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation A pattern of organization of matter and energy with no inherent meaning that can be given meaning by us Information given meaning and integrated with other contents of understanding Bates, M.J. (2005). Information and knowledge: an evolutionary framework for information science. Information Research, 10(4). http://InformationR.net/ir/10-4/paper239.html
Information as thing Buckland is thinking about the fundamental nature of information and claims that it has been ambiguous He attempts to clarify the concept, arguing that it can be seen as “process,”“knowledge,” and “thing” The three meanings can then be used to describe the domain of Information Science & KM ~In what sense can we consider information a thing? Why is this a useful approach for information scientists? Is it useful for Knowledge Managers? ~What is the role of the “situation” in the definition of information?
Assumes that information includes becoming informed, with the reduction of ignorance and of uncertainty Buckland looks at the ways in which the term is used in the field As process: As knowledge When we are informed what we know is changed It is the act of informing...; communication of the knowledge or “news” of some fact or occurrence That which is perceived in “information-as-process;” the “knowledge communicated concerning some fact, subject or event”
As thing This has been controversial Information has no materiality or energy It is all contained in the context of communication How does Buckland respond to these criticisms? Is also used attributively for objects, such as data and documents, referred to as “information” because they are regarded as being informative; as “having the quality of imparting knowledge or communicating information”
Information as knowledge vs. as thing This is a distinction between intangible and tangible The thing is a tangible representation of the intangible Sign, data, signal, text, film Information as thing is a representation of knowledge It can be touched and measured It is the basic stuff of information science Therefore there can be no such thing as a “knowledge-based” expert system or a “knowledge access” system, only systems based on physical representations of knowledge
What is informative? Information as evidence It denotes something related to understanding If found and correctly understood, it could change one’s knowledge or beliefs concerning some matter It is passive awaiting our action Types Data Info-things that have been stored and processed Text Documents and other text bearing objects
Types of info-things Objects Collections of objects can be informative Events Represented by objects (as evidence) associated with the event Representations of the event itself Creations and recreations of the event What is not information? What is not informative?
Info-things as representations: Every representation can be expected to be more or less incomplete in some regard Something of the original is always lost There is always some distortion, even if only through incompleteness Representations are made for convenience, which means easier to store, to understand, and/or to search. Because of the quest for convenience, representations are normally a shift from event or object to text, from one text to another text, or from objects and texts to data
Info-things as representations Additional details related to the object but not evident from it might be added to the representation, either to inform or to misinform Representation can continue indefinitely There can be representations of representations of representations For practical reasons representations are commonly briefer or smaller than whatever is being represented They concentrate on the features expected to be most significant A summary is an incomplete description
The social life of information Brown and Duguid discuss the importance of understanding information in its contexts Not to do so lead to tunnel vision and narrow conceptions of design which in turn leads to technologies that are not as useful or usable as they should be ~What does it mean to say that information has a “social life?” What components (resources) of this social life make a difference for information flow?
How can information have a social life? Warnings against “Tunnel design” This is a consequence of ignoring these factors surrounding information It leads to technologies and strategies that “bite back” These are the unintended consequences of tunnel design Information is always embedded in a context It has a history, background, involves resources, people’s values and interests The social life of information is what provides it with its meaning, value, and utility
Information as sensemaking Dervin is discussing the meaning of the concept of “information design” as it is used to describe an emerging discipline She questions the basic metaphor used to anchor the concept of information and provides a version of the changes in the meanings of the concept over time She offers the sensemaking metaphor as a foundation for information design
An alternative view Information has never been natural It has always been designed It is not a thing found in nature It has no necessary correspondence to the external world It can be data, knowledge or fact, song, image, story, or metaphor It must be communicated to exist It exists in the communication and the codification
Definitions from Donald O.Case (2002) • Information – can be any difference you perceive, in your environment or within yourself. It is any aspect that you notice in the pattern of reality. • Information need - is a recognition that your knowledge is inadequate to satisfy a goal that you have. • Information seeking – is a conscious effort to acquire information in response to a need or a gap in your knowledge. • Information behavior - encompasses information seeking as well as the totality of other unintentional or passive behaviors (such as glimpsing or encountering information), as well as purposive behaviors that do not involve seeking, such as actively avoiding information. Case, D. O. (2002). Looking for information: A survey of research on information seeking, needs, and behavior. San Diego: Academic Press.