Humanities scholars information-seeking

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The information-seeking behavior of humanities scholars

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Humanities scholars information-seeking

  1. 1. Humanities<br />Art, music, theology, philosophy, history and literature are as old as civilization. Scholars and students in ancient times studied some of the same subjects we are now studying.<br />
  2. 2. HIB is an ancient concept<br />Hieroglyphics and petroglyphs are early systems of information storage.<br />Scribes and monks spent their lives codifying and preserving information.<br />Many ancient methods of information storage have proved successful. Consider the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Rosetta Stone. Will information we are storing digitally today be available in a thousand years? <br />
  3. 3. Why do we study the information behavior of humanities scholars separately from other scholars?<br />Some of their methods and techniques are distinct from other disciplines . . .<br />
  4. 4. Humanities scholars have been doing research in a particular way for many years, and will probably not adapt easily to new technology (Bates, 2001). <br />
  5. 5. Humanities scholars prefer original documents. Digital libraries make it easier for them to see documents and artifacts that are not nearby, but digital information is not held in high esteem. Interestingly, even when scholars do use the digital format for research, they cite the original document (Rimmer, Warwick, Blandford, Gow, & Buchanan, 2008).<br />
  6. 6. Humanities scholars often seek rare and unique documents that cannot always be found online. They also rely heavily on colleagues and networks (Rimmer, Warwick, Blandford, Gow, & Buchanan, 2006).<br />
  7. 7. Humanities scholars often rely more heavily on personal collections than on sources found elsewhere (Case, 1990).<br />
  8. 8. Humanities scholars prefer citation chasing and browsing when researching. They do not frequently use directed searching (Barrett, 2005).<br />Humanities scholars frequently use scattered searches and “berrypicking” which is not as easily supported with e-journals as the directed searches common to many other disciplines (Talja & Maula, 2003).<br />
  9. 9. A study of Argentinian humanities scholars who have fewer available resources than their American counterparts revealed that their techniques and methods of study were the same, so source availability does not significantly change techniques for research (deTiratel, 2000).<br />
  10. 10. Have there been any changes in their methods with all of the new technology available?<br />Individual creativity and imagination has remained relatively constant over the ages. <br />Technology hasn’t. Have technological advances affected the humanities scholar?<br />
  11. 11. Graduate humanities students have a high comfort level with technology and do not rely heavily on primary sources, but they still prefer citation chasing and browsing when researching (Barrett, 2005).<br />
  12. 12. Digital information production, storage, retrieval, and dissemination has resulted in exponential increases in quantity of information.<br />Digital information should not look to replace the physical, but should have a complementary role for the humanities scholar (Rimmer, Warwick, Blandford, Gow, & Buchanan 2008).<br />
  13. 13. Digital libraries could create better citation chaining tools to assist the humanities scholars with the search techniques they already use (Buchanan, Cunningham, Blandford, Rimmer, &Warwick, 2005).<br />
  14. 14. Chaining, browsing, and networking can be facilitated by “netchaining” where humanities scholars do citation chasing online, browse through scanned primary sources, and quickly and easily contact authors and others whose work stimulates interest to expand their networks. Research librarians play a critical role in supporting scholars in these efforts (Sukovic, 2008).<br />
  15. 15. While there is little change in the methods or techniques of the humanities scholars, technology is changing and can change more to better support the humanities scholar. <br />
  16. 16. Memory and analogy help the scholar and can guide the technology.<br />The “connections, patterns and associations” made when information is stored are critical to remembering where things are stored.<br />Humanities scholars use spatial metaphors when discussing research.<br />
  17. 17. Analogies and metaphors give “form” to actions and ideas which can be incorporated in technology that can assist the humanities scholar (Case, 1990).<br />
  18. 18. How does this relate to the HIB scholar?<br />We are in a field which combines the humanities and science.<br />
  19. 19. Outwardly, we all have our own methods and styles of finding and using information. Some of us are “neat freaks” and others “sloppy”. We each discover what works best for us. There is overlap in HIB. <br />
  20. 20. It is not just humanities scholars whose IB is similar cross culturally. We will probably follow a similar HIB pattern in our MLIS education and work as those who have preceded us.<br />
  21. 21. While there are many things unique about HIB in the 21st century, we have followed a long line of students and scholars through the ages. The early stone carvers, those who prepared papyrus manuscripts, or monks who spent their lives writing in cold monasteries used the technology of the day to collect and store information. We are doing the same – just with different tools. <br />
  22. 22. In a world of easy communications it might be useful to remember why the humanities are “classics” – they are timeless and can instruct people across the ages. They are the signature of our humanity.<br />
  23. 23. References<br />

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