AM08 2008 START Conference Manager    

In form & informing: Materiality and Information Seeking

Theresa DIrndorfer Anderson, Helena Francke, Sara Kjellberg and Olof Sundin

ASIS&T 2008 Annual Meeting (AM08 2008)
Columbus, Ohio, October 24-29, 2008


This panel ties in with the theme of the conference – people transforming information and information transforming people – by addressing the relation between the technology and the social, the informative artifact and the human, the interconnected nature of which becomes particularly visible when we live in a society imbued with digital environments. Much of today’s information practices, including information seeking, take place in and through artifacts and systems. With a point of departure in sociomaterial and sociotechnical perspectives found in library and information science, science and technology studies, and social informatics, the panel will consider documentary practices and artefactual forms that shape and are shaped by our information practices. The panelists will discuss examples from their studies made in the area of scholarly communication, particularly focusing on the information seeking practices of academics, the use of blogs for research communication, and the design of electronic scholarly journals. The final presentation will provide a theoretical frame for the panel, considering the methodological split between user and information system as contributing to a lack of awareness of the ways information artifacts shape agency in different communities. The concept of practice allows us to also include an awareness of the materiality of information artifacts in information seeking and use research. The panel will invite the audience to discuss whether new understandings about the transformative people/information relationship allow us to break away from traditional dichotomies like human-centered and system-centered. Questions for discussion include: a) Can we conceive of alternative views that are neither what one might call traditionally document-centered or user-centered? b) Is there a hybrid perspective that draws on learnings from both communities? c) What elements of human practice and human-material interactions give us a way of examining informing practices in digital spaces, where fluid forms are the norm rather than the exception?

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