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Human Information Behavior (17:610:510): Overview

Library research guide for Human Information Behavior (17:610:510).

Course Description

Behavior vis-a-vis information as it bears on problems in library and information services and forms a theoretical and professional base for such services. Diverse contexts of information behavior; processes of information seeking, searching, using, and valuing. Assessment of studies of human information behavior in terms of relevance to library and information services.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand human information behavior, library and information science, and the relationship between the two.
  • Read about, discuss, and write about information behavior.
  • Recognize the differences between professional and scholarly literature. 
  • Identify information behavior in all aspects of life.
  • Record, analyze, and conceptualize information behavior in professional settings.
  • Analyze specific research findings about information behavior in a variety of different contexts.
  • Facilitate the pursuit of a variety of information behaviors as an information professional.
  • Approach issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The Field

The study of Human Information Behaviour (HIB) is emerging as an important component and one of the most complex research areas in the field of Library and Information Science. HIB is a very broad interdisciplinary field that ranges from  cognitive psychology to human-computer interaction.  As in many emerging research areas, one challenge is to identify important aspects of HIB and understand how different methods can be best used to research  a variety of aspects of human information behavior.

“Human information behavior” is studied in a number of disciplines other than information science, such as psychology and sociology. Some areas of research might include different groups:

  • Information seeking behavior in the daily life of a homeless person
  • Gender differences in information seeking behavior
  • Studying children's questions
  • Information seeking behavior of graduate students
  • Information avoidance/rejection of cancer patients (to prevent or delay information)

and any other group you might think of!

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