Vol. 8 No. 2 |May 2020

Informatics as social science

 Roger M. Aguayo 
Helene Williams and Anne Zald, English Studies Librarian and UWired/Geography Librarian respectively, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
Paper type: Research article, Case Study
Abstract
Introduction. A vast body of research has shown information science to be a social science, but information science’s identity as both a social science and a non-social science has become all the more uncertain, or simply has been left to the discretion of the reader.
Method. This paper traces the specifics of information science as a social science. The paper examines the background of the social sciences in the history of academic disciplines. The paper discusses the ways in which positivism and interpretativism, the leading traditions of the social sciences, assert themselves in information science as a social science.
Conclusions. It is argued that received ideas about the social sciences impact how information science as a social science is perceived. It is also argued that information science as a social science can and should provide valid scientific explanations. This paper distinguishes social interaction as the defining feature of information science as a social science. To this end, the paper proposes global complexity not as a theory or solution, but as a metaphor for information science as a social science to address the pressing issues of our increasingly interconnected world.
 

Frequency: Quarterly

Published by: American Association of Advanced Research and Studies (AAARS)

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Information and understanding: an evolutionary IT framework

 Sophia P. Warren†
Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1520, USA
Paper type: Research article
Abstract
Background. Many definitions of information, knowledge, and data have been suggested throughout the history of information science. In this article, the objective is to provide definitions that are usable for the physical, biological, and social meanings of the terms, covering the various senses important to our field.
Argument. Information  is defined as the pattern of organization of matter and energy. Information 2 is defined as some pattern of organization of matter and energy that has been given meaning by a living being. Knowledge is defined as information given meaning and integrated with other contents of understanding.
Elaboration. The approach is rooted in an evolutionary framework; that is, modes of information perception, processing, transmission, and storage are seen to have developed as a part of the general evolution of members of the animal kingdom. Brains are expensive for animals to support; consequently, efficient storage, including, particularly, storage at emergent levels-for example, storing the concept of chair, rather than specific memories of all chairs ever seen, is powerful and effective for animals.
Conclusion. Thus, rather than being reductionist, the approach taken demonstrates the fundamentally emergent nature of most of what higher animals and human beings, in particular, experience as information.

Where’s the data from? Information source uses Wikipedia models

 Bernice C. Crowell †
Department of ALM, Uppsala University, Box 625, SE-751 26 Uppsala, Sweden
 Paper type: Research article
Abstract
Introduction. Little is known about Wikipedia contributors’ information behaviour and from where and how the information in the encyclopaedia originated. Even though a large number of texts in Wikipedia cite external sources according to the intentions of the verifiability policy, many articles lack references and in many others the references have been added afterwards.
Method. This article reports the results of a Web survey of information source use patterns, answered by 108 Wikipedia contributors in spring 2008.
Analysis. The qualitative questions were analysed using a close reading and grounded theory approach. The multiple-choice questions were analysed using descriptive statistics and bi-variate correlation analysis.
Results. The results indicate that there are several distinct groups of contributors using different information sources. The results also indicate a preference for sources available online. However, in spite of the popularity of online material a significant proportion of the original information is based on printed literature, personal expertise and other non-digital sources of information. The information source use of Wikipedia contributors is also illustrative of the complexity and life-world scope of human information behaviour.
Conclusions. Understanding the information source use of contributors helps us to understand how new Wikipedia articles emerge, how edits are motivated, where the information actually comes from and more generally, what kind of information may be expected to be found in Wikipedia.

Collaboration in emergency health situations: cooperation between paramedics and 3D telepresence Technology

 Jake Cole †, Noah Baxter‡, and Lucy Harper*
† Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Birketinget 6, DK-2300. Copenhagen S, Denmark
‡ Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Borås, Allégatan 1, 501 90, Borås, Sweden
*College of Nursing, University of Central Florida, 12201 Research Parkway, Suite 300, Orlando, Florida, USA, 32826-3298
 Paper type: Research article
Abstract
Introduction: This paper focuses on paramedics’ perspectives regarding paramedic-physician collaboration today, and their perspectives regarding the potential of 3D telepresence technology in the future.
Method:  Interviews were conducted with forty practicing paramedics.
Analysis:  The interview data were analysed using open and axial coding. An agreement of 0.82 using Cohen’s kappa inter-coder reliability measure was reached. After coding was completed themes and relationships among codes were synthesised using topic memos.
Results:  Paramedics expressed concern about the lack of respect and trust exhibited towards them by other medical professionals. They discussed how they paint the picture for physicians and the importance of the physician trusting the paramedic. They further reported 3D telepresence technology would make their work visible in ways not previously possible. They also reported the technology would require additional training, changes to existing financial models used in emergency health care, and increased access to physicians.
Conclusions: Teaching collaboration skills and strategies to physicians and paramedics could benefit their collaboration today, and increase their readiness to effectively use collaboration technologies in the future.

Information supply and sharing between service providers and refugees

 Madeleine Rice†, Victoria Power‡ , Rosie Harding*
† School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
‡ School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
* School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
 Paper type: Research article
Abstract
Introduction. The purpose of this study is to understand the provision and sharing of information between service providers and settling refugees while refugees transit to new living environments. Efforts of service providers are investigated to understand if community participation is enabled, social exclusion reduced, and barriers to information access and use minimized.
Method. A qualitative approach was employed to explore in-depth the information practices of service agencies that care and provide for refugee resettlement in regional Australia. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews and focus groups with refugees and service providers from community and public sector organizations were conducted.
Analysis. The interviews and focus group narratives were thematically re-analysed with a focus on the role of service providers.
Results. Refugees find the information context complex and difficult to navigate and suffer from information overload during settlement. This complexity produces information barriers, which constrains information acquisition and thus participation. Service providers work hard to support the refugees but more supported coordination among themselves and with commercial entities would assist in reducing this complexity and overload and enable more tailored information provision.
Conclusions. Government funded initiatives are recommended based on these findings to strengthen information sharing and coordination among refugee service providers.

The speech about books printed and electronically: analogies, oppositions and views

 Elliot Savage†, Billy Morgan‡
† Department of Information Science, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia
‡ Department of Information Science, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia
 Paper type: Research article
Abstract
 Introduction. The point of departure for this paper is the twofold analogy (analogy of content, analogy of medium) between printed and electronic books, the aim being to draw attention to the usual perception of their capacities and relationships, to provide a rather detailed analysis of the outcome and sustainability of such analogies and ultimately to indicate the drawbacks involved.
Method. The contextual analysis of contents of the key themes is employed; in the articulation of the conclusions, analytic and synthetic approaches are used.
Results. The definitions of the e-book are not consensual or sustainable, rather reflect the current developmental phase of the phenomenon. The emphasis is placed upon changes, and continuity is ignored, and it is not seen that the possibility of analogies derives from a long historical development. While the analogy of content is sustainable, for it implies the reproduction of the same discourses in different media, analogy of medium is not, for the interactive capacities permitted by the printed and the electronic medium are different.
Conclusions. The e-book discourse has to be expanded by understandings drawn from cognate areas such as book history, publishing studies and in general by those from the extremely useful insights employed in the cultural-historical approach, for all the media functioning in any given period coexist and affect each other.

 

The experience of Young Adults Looking for News Online

 Harry Warner†, Joshua Vincent‡
† School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
‡ School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
 Paper type: Research article
Abstract
 Introduction. Based on the premise that news of all kinds is a form of information, the purpose of this study was to understand use of news sources by young adults in fast-paced and dynamic online media environments.
Method. A qualitative (interpretivist) framework and broadly ethnographic approach was used. Fourteen students undertook six online tasks (of which five are reported here), while describing their thoughts and actions. All online interactions were recorded and interview questions were asked immediately after each task in order to gain further insight.
Analysis. Concurrent and retrospective verbal protocols from the tasks were analysed to develop themes and categories.
Results. Most participants preferred to seek local news via traditional print media, but comfortably used and trusted online media (except blogs) for national and international news. The majority of participants were more likely to use a Google search to find everyday life information than to check a newspaper, either in print or online, thus confirming the salience of search engines in the online world.
Conclusions. The results have implications for information research and provision more broadly as news providers struggle with information needs and social networking preferences of readers in these ever-evolving environments.