Tools of the trade

 I was participating in the Nordiska arkivdagar (Nordic archives conference) in Tavastehus in Finland. Much of the discussion I was been following in the first plenary session and the parallel session on archives and new information services was about users, participation and reception (in Swedish, bemötande). That is more or less directly. Anneli Sundqvist made some insightful remarks on user studies and archives and their users in her article on the state of (or, perhaps the relative lack of it) in 2007. Her remarks on the need to be explicit and resonant about one's own and others' implicit assumptions and explicit articulations of the identity, needs, wishes and wants of the users are still quite valid today, and it seems that this kind of reasoning both is and is not informing the contemporary discussion. The presentations and the emphases of presenters showed that user studies and insights gathered from working with different types of users had provided the biggest insights in the different projects and contexts from archival pedagogy to search applications. At the same time, however, the presentations, perhaps mine included (even if I tried to talk about particular tools as little as possible), had still a tendency to put the principal focus on new and prospective systems and tools. Even the proposition of Henrik Meinander in his keynote, to put more resources on hiring new professors in multimedia communication instead of hiring new people to the more traditional (humanities) disciplines seemed to suggest of a tools oriented solution. The very fundamental problem is perhaps still the easiness of talking about tools and the difficulty of talking about something else. 

Information Services and Digital Literacy provides an alternative perspective for understanding information services and digital literacy, and argues that a central problem in the age of the social web and the culture of participation is that we do not know the premises of how we know, and how ways of interacting with information affect our actions and their outcomes.

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Taking Health Information Behaviour into Account: implications of a neglected element for success- ful implementation of consumer health technologies on older adults (HIBA) is an Academy of Finland funded research project at Åbo Akademi University.

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ARKDIS project maps the implications and opportunities of the digitalisation of information and information work in the domain of archaeology and to develop and evaluate conceptual and practical methods and procedures for enhancing archaeological information work in the digitalised environment.

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