Human Information Behavior

It [HIB] can be understood as an overarching research trajectory attempting to develop generalizable explanations of behavioral phenomena observable when humans acquire and process information. Thus, human information behavior is not limited to the isolated consideration of a specific type of task such as decision-making. Instead, it can be interpreted as a boundary spanner serving as a frame for IS research and uncovering the aforementioned phenomena in computer-mediated settings.

Unfortunately, extant research in IS has largely neglected the entity “information” and the associated behavioral phenomena that occur when information is sought, processed, and shared.
[HumanInformationBehavior, p.1]

Information underlies all human behavior, including the decision making and problem solving that people perform constantly in their everyday lives. However, many of the critical characteristics of information that drive business and personal decision making deserve far more attention from researchers. For example, information search and the filtering of information are critical to all decision making and are the conceptual foundations of the ‘‘big data’’ revolution, but theoretical development and systematic investigations of these foundations are still needed and are simply taken for granted by practitioners of data mining and business analytics. As another example, in systems development, gaps may exist between information requirements (i.e., information that is objectively necessary to accomplish a task), information needs (i.e., information that is subjectively considered to be relevant to accomplish a task), information demand (i.e., information that is sought or deliberately not sought by a person in a specific decision-making situation), and information use (i.e., the available information an analyst or other decision maker chooses to utilize to accomplish a task). The potential causes of these gaps (e.g., characteristics of the person, such as risk aversion or curiosity, and characteristics of the task, such as variability or importance) are not well understood, and thus systematic scientific investigation is necessary.
[HumanInformationBehavior, p.1]

For the field of information behavior, the challenge remains to provide concrete guidance for system design. As noted, few frameworks offer suggestions for improving the design of information systems. The foci and attributes identified in the models reviewed suggest that information systems need to complement users' natural inclinations when communicating information needs and when seeking and using information in addition to considering the multiple roles of context and social, cultural, organization, and affective factors. However, specific directions on how this might be accomplished remain scant. To create working systems that are truly user centered and that reflect the foundations of information behavior theory, greater dialogue and collaboration are sorely needed between theorists of information behavior and designers of information systems.
[IBLitFrameworks, p.68]

Bell, W.J. (1991). Searching behaviour: The behavioural ecology of finding resources. London: Chapman & Hall.
Chatman, E. A. (1996). The impoverished life-world of outsiders. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 47(3), 193–206.
Dervin, Brenda (1996). Chaos, Order, and Sense-Making: A Proposed Theory for Information Design. In: Jacobsen, Robert E., ed. Information Design. Cambridge MA: MIT Press; 1999. 35-37. ISBN: 0-262-10069-X; OCLC: 40693279.
Dervin, B., & Nilan, M. (1986). Information needs and uses. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 21, 3–33.
Kuhlthau, C.C. (1993). Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Pirolli, P., & Card, S.K. (1999). Information foraging. Psychological Review, 106, 643-675.
Savolainen, R. (1995). Everyday life information seeking: Approaching information seeking in the context of way of life. Library and Information Science Research, 17, 259-294.

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