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Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
Information Practices of Immigrants
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Information Practices of Immigrants


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* Are you a health promoter/ service provider working with immigrant communities? …

* Are you a health promoter/ service provider working with immigrant communities?
* Are you a manager planning programs for immigrant user groups?
* Wondering how to increase user uptake of your services?
* Wondering where and how to connect with potential users?
* Wondering what makes them tick?

This presentation will engage the audience in examining the questions above, and perhaps thinking about them in a different way. It will shed light on the social contexts surrounding the information practices of newcomers and other members of ethno-cultural communities. Along the way, health promotion practitioners can hear (and share insights and experiences) about the types of information needed by immigrants to deal with situations encountered in their everyday lives, including their choice of information sources, and successful (or not) outcomes.

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  • Transcript

    • 1. Information Practices of Immigrants Nadia Caidi Faculty of Information University of Toronto Health Nexus Workshop, March 30, 2009.
    • 2. Is this information seeking?
    • 3. Or is it really more like this…
    • 4. Examples of Information Seeking and Use (from Donald Case)
      • Buying products
      • Finding information in a library
      • Betting on a horse
      • Finding the law
      • “ I want to know more about cancer”
      Information seeking and use are: “… common and essential behaviors….basic to human existence.” (Case)
    • 5. Key Questions in Information Seeking and Use
      • What is information?
      • What is an information need?
        • (Taylor, 1968) Information need focuses on purposive action. Action is taken to address uncertainty, confusion.
      • What counts as information/knowledge for whom and in what context?
      • How do people find information?
      • What does the information seeking process look like?
      • What are the barriers or gaps to finding information?
      • How can we (as information providers) design info retrieval systems that enable users to find what they need?
    • 6. Everyday Life Information Seeking (ELIS)
      • Previously user studies focused on task-based activities
      • But individuals require and seek information on a daily basis in order to manage their daily lives (Savolainen, 1995)
      • ELIS is often habitual, non rational, and has multiple goals
      • Everyday information practices: info seeking, use, and sharing
    • 7. Information Poverty (Chatman, 1996)
      • Information seeking may be problematic for vulnerable populations in economic poverty
      • Information poor lack necessary resources (adequate social networks, skills, etc.) that enable everyday information seeking
      • Information poverty concepts:
        • Insider/outsider dichotomy
        • Deception, secrecy, risk-taking
        • Situational relevance
      • Social norms, worldview, social types, information behavior in certain communities
    • 8. Information Needs of Immigrants
      • Orienting information seeking
        • Refers to daily media habits that individuals engage in
        • Purpose: to monitor everyday events through various sources, such as media.
      • Practical (or problem-specific) information seeking
        • Solving of individual problems or performing specific tasks
        • More episodic in nature; varying times to completion, etc.
    • 9. Barriers to Orienting info seeking
      • Information overload
      • Where to get access to info
      • Language issues
      • Credibility of information retrieved
      • Emotional stress
      • Social isolation
    • 10. Barriers to Problem-Specific information seeking
      • Identifying and accessing relevant human sources
      • Slowness of bureaucratic process
      • Unfamiliarity with overall system
      • How or where to seek help…
    • 11.  
    • 12. Pathways and Sources
      • Social networks
      • Gatekeepers
      • Formal sources
      • ICTs
      • Ethnic media
    • 13.
      • Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play an important role in the shifts taking place within immigration by:
      • changing the nature and frequency of migrants’ contacts with source countries (i.e., relatively rapid, easy and inexpensive)
      • providing new types of cultural consumption and production such as online newspapers, newsgroups, chat rooms, and access to home country internet sites
      • shifting employment seeking practices and opportunities through distance education, job searching capabilities, online government and settlement information, and transnational entrepreneurial opportunities
    • 14.
        • On average, people who have migrated to Canada spend more time online than people who were born in Canada
        • People who have migrated to Canada have higher levels of engagement with content-producing social activities on the web such as using blogs, wikis, and social networking sites (‘social media’)
        • People who have migrated to Canada are more likely to use the internet in public spaces
        • (Canadian Internet Project (CIP), Zamaria and Fletcher, 2007)
        • Where language spoken at home differs from official languages, internet users are significantly more likely to be heavy (one hour of internet use per day) computer users (Veenhof, 2006)
    • 15.
        • Most people who have recently immigrated to Canada have previous ICT experience and use ICTs with relative ease
        • Familiarization with the Canadian information landscape is part of settlement, even for internet-savvy migrants. This includes making sense of newcomer settlement information, learning how to use a computer to apply for a job, and learning how to use online government sources and forms
        • Socio-economic conditions of source countries and class of entry are predictors of ICT uptake and use
        • Notably, beginner users still exist. Individuals who come to Canada as refugees, in the family class, or as live in care-givers have generally had fewer opportunities for ICT training
    • 16. Barriers to Accessing Information
      • Structural barriers
        • Insufficient language proficiency
        • Learning how the system works
        • Limitations arising from one’s status
      • Social barriers
        • Social isolation
        • Communication problems
        • Differences in cultural values and understanding
      • Information services introduced into a community through outsiders will likely be regarded with suspicion and considered irrelevant to the specific needs of the community
      • Credibility of info associated with the reputation of the individual: importance of identifying key person (gatekeeper)
      • Need to understand how information moves within the group or between groups
      • Designing information services that take into account the social, psychological, and cultural factors that influence information seeking
      • Get to know your community
      • Assess the problems experienced by a member of a specific group
      • Work with associations and service providers to improve services and attract non-users
      • Adapt user interactions, coll. development and delivery of services
      • Training staff to work with users
      • Implement periodical evaluation of services to members of specific groups
    • 20.
      • Difficult to make further generalizations because of the
      • heterogeneity of people who are migrating
      • multiplicity of languages spoken, cultures experienced
      • diversity of technologies involved in online communication
      • varieties of online information and related activities
      • different stages of settlement create different needs
      • Research potential to
      • study specific circumstances in which particular ICT practices are employed, and satisfaction with these
      • examine information-seeking behaviours of people who do not use the internet
      • observe how ICTs are used to achieve particular ends such as finding employment
      • explore potential for pertinent pre-migration information
    • 21.
      • Current information about credential recognition and average salaries
      • Up-to-date average costs for housing and utilities
      • Success stories that articulate the benefits of having a patient mindset
      • Awareness of the forms of racism within Canada, especially for people who will be visible minorities’ in Canada
      • Knowledge about potential areas of residence and neighbourhood amenities
    • 22.
        • Consider information access and provision as embedded within social activities
        • Maintain awareness of online tools as reaching only some of the population of people who have migrated to Canada
        • Provide pre-migration information that prepares potential migrants for realities of life in Canada
        • Examine individuals’ blogs related to settlement in Canada
        • Recognize significance of dynamic, timely information (e.g., what is the significance of global recession for potential immigrants?)
        • Increase dialogue between people who have recently migrated, researchers, practitioners, and government organizations
    • 23.
      • Caidi, N., Allard, D., & L. Quirke. (2010). “Information Practices of Immigrants.” Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, vol. 44.
      • Caidi, N., Allard, D., & Dechief, D. (2008). Information practices of immigrants to Canada: A review of the literature. Unpublished Report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
      • Caidi, N., Allard, D., Dechief, D., & Longford, G. (2008). Including immigrants in Canadian society: What role do ICTs play? Unpublished Report to Human Resources and Social Development Canada.
      • Dechief, D. (2006). Recent immigrants as an “alternate civic core”: Providing Internet services, gaining “Canadian experiences.” Unpublished Master’s thesis Concordia University.
      • Chien, E. (2005). Informing and involving newcomers online: Users’ perspectives of Settlement.Org. Unpublished Master’s thesis, University of Toronto.
    • 24.
      • Nadia Caidi
      • [email_address]
      • Associate Professor
      • Faculty of Information
      • University of Toronto
      • 416 978 4664