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Information Ecologies: The A, B, Cs. Dr. John V. Richardson Jr. Professor of Information Studies UCLA. Presentation Outline. Historical Development S.S. Green Douglas Waples The Role of Models: Affective (especially mood) Behavioral (Watson) Cognitive. Green’s 1876 Vision.

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Information ecologies the a b cs

Information Ecologies: The A, B, Cs

Dr. John V. Richardson Jr.

Professor of Information Studies


Presentation outline
Presentation Outline

  • Historical Development

    • S.S. Green

    • Douglas Waples

  • The Role of Models:

    • Affective (especially mood)

    • Behavioral (Watson)

    • Cognitive

Green s 1876 vision
Green’s 1876 Vision

  • “Now, the policy advocated of freedom of intercourse between librarian and readers, when adopted in the conduct of these departments, does much to give efficiency to the efforts of the officers to get readers to take out wholesome books and such works as are adapted to their capacity and the grade of enlightenment to which they belong. It is a common practice, as we all know, for users of a library to ask the librarian or his assistants to select stories for them. I would have great use made of this disposition. Place in the circulating department one of the most accomplished persons in the corps of your assistants--some cultivated woman, for instance, who heartily enjoys works of the imagination, but whose taste is educated. She must be a person of pleasant manners, and -while of proper dignity, ready to unbend, and of social disposition. It is well if there is a vein of philanthropy in her composition. Instruct this assistant to consult with every person who asks for help in selecting books. This should not be her whole work; for work of this kind is best done when it has the appearance of being performed incidentally. Let the assistant, then, have some regular work, but such employment as she can at once lay aside when her aid is asked for in picking out books to read. I am confident that in some such way as this a great influence can be exerted in the direction of causing good books to be used.

  • The person placed in charge of this work must have tact, and be careful not to attempt too much. If an applicant would cease to consult her unless she gives him a sensational novel, I would have her give him such a book. Only let her aim at providing every person who applies for aid with the best book he is willing to read.” (bold emphasis added)

Douglas waples 1893 1978
Douglas Waples, 1893-1978

  • Professor at the Chicago GLS

  • Educational psychology background and interest in reading behavior:

    • What People Want to Read About, with Ralph W. Tyler (1931)

    • “The relation of Subject Interests to Actual Reading,” Library Quarterly 2 (1932)

    • Libraries and Readings in the State of New York, with Leon Carnovsky

    • What Reading Does to People, with Bernard Berelson and Franklyn R. Bradshaw

Reading as non goal oriented
Reading as Non-Goal Oriented

  • The role played by affective:

    • Role of pleasure reading in generating feelings

    • Importance of mood

    • Entertainment or “incidental information”

    • Work of Catherine Ross (1999)

      • “Emotional support in providing confirmation, reassurance, courage or self-acceptance”

    • Work of Jessica Moyer (2004)

      • Recreational and educational outcomes

Role of mood
Role of Mood

  • Six dimensions (Ross, 1999; Ross and Chelton, 2001):

    • Familiarity versus novelty

    • Safety versus risk

    • Easy versus challenging

    • Upbeat and positive versus hard-hitting/ironical/cynical

    • Reassuring versus stimulating/frightening/amazing

    • Confirming of beliefs and values versus challenging them

Can you see it
Can You See It?

  • The Behavioral School:

  • Borrows heavily from psychology, especially Watson

  • In information studies, characterization of IS as a rational, information problem driven

  • Importance of “mechanistic precision and quantitative formulation;” notably, statistical measurement

  • Work of Kuhlthau (1983 to present)

Cognitive school
Cognitive School

  • Role of the mind

  • Mental constructs

  • Importance of thinking aloud

  • Work of R.S. Taylor (filters)

  • “Tell me about a book you recently enjoyed”

Novelist ebsco

  • Http://

  • “Search Our Database”

  • “Describe a Plot”


  • Genreflecting by Betty Rosenberg @ UCLA

  • New York Public Library Guide to Reading Groups

  • What to Read: The Essential Guide for Reading Group Members and Other Book Lovers