Classifying information interactions

Submitted by Isto Huvila on Sun, 12/19/2010 - 14:51

My CoLIS 7 paper is out in the Special Supplement of the new issue of Information Research.


Introduction. The complexity of human information activity is a challenge for both practice and research in information sciences and information management. Literature presents a wealth of approaches to analytically structure and make sense of human information activity including a faceted classification model of information interactions published by Cool and Belkin in 2002, which is discussed in this paper.

Method. The Cool and Belkin classification scheme and the version adopted by Huvila in 2006 for a study of archaeologists are compared and new qualitative empirical interview material is analysed by using the latter version of the scheme.

Analysis. Literature studies and qualitative analysis of interview material was carried out. Results. The discussed revisions proposed in the present study and earlier by Huvila broaden the scope of the classification system from information seeking to the broad scope of information activity and from description of interaction instances to their contexts.

Conclusions. It is important to consider the consequences of classifying information interactions, to balance between complexity and simplicity and to consider when it is significant to strive for complexity of classifications and when a generic level of description is enough.