Conceptualizing information work for health contexts in Library and Information Science

N Dalmer, Isto Huvila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to suggest that a closer consideration of the notion of work and, more specifically, information work as a sensitizing concept in Library and Information Science (LIS) can offer a helpful way to differently consider how people interact and engage with information and can complement a parallel focus on practices, behaviours and activities.Design/methodology/approach Starting with the advent of the concept of information work in Corbin and Strauss work, the paper then summarizes how information work has evolved and taken shape in LIS research and discourse, both within and outside of health-related information contexts.Findings The paper argues that information work affords a lens that can acknowledge the multiple levels of effort and multiple processes (cognitive, physical or social-behavioural) related to information activities. This paper outlines six affordances that the use of information work within LIS scholarship imparts: acknowledges the conceptual, mental and affective; brings attention to the invisibility of particular information activities and their constituents; opens up and distinguishes the many different lines of work; destabilizes hierarchies between professionals and non-professionals; emphasizes goals relating to information activities and their underlying pursuits; and questions work/non-work dichotomies established in existing LIS models.Originality/value This paper is a first in bringing together the many iterations of information work research in LIS. In doing so, this paper serves as a prompt for other LIS scholars to take up, challenge the existing borders of, and thus advance the concept of information work.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)96–108
JournalJournal of Documentation
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Information modelling
  • Information research
  • Information work
  • information theory
  • health information

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