Human Information Behavior

Spring 2006


Tefko Saracevic

Note: Not all items in the Bibliography are required readings. For each topic, required readings will be selected from the Bibliography as listed in the Schedule; however, additional readings may be selected during the semester.

Organization: Bibliography is organized by topics as listed and described in more detail in the section Outline of Topics in course syllabus.

Finding full text for items in the bibliography: journal articles can be obtained from Rutgers University Library (RUL) collection of electronic and print journals; all other items are either in Document Sharing file on class eCompanion site or an URL is given.


Textbook: Fisher, K.E, Erdelez, S. & McKechnie, L. (2005) Theories of Information Behavior. Medham, NJ: Information Today.
could be ordered from ASIST at


1. Basic phenomena

McKechnie, E.F., Goodall, G.R., Lajoie-Paquette, D. and Julien, H. (2005). How human information behaviour researchers use each other's work: a basic citation analysis study. Information Research, 10 (2) paper 220 [Available at

Pettigrew, K. E., Fidel, R. & Bruce, H. (2002). Conceptual models in information behaviour research. In M. Williams (Ed.), Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 37, 249-270. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Wilson, T.D. (1997). Information behavior: an interdisciplinary perspective. Information Processing & Management, 33 (4), 551-572.

Wilson, T.D. (2000). Human Information Behavior. Informing Science, 3 (2), 49-56.

2. Problems addressed over time

Case, D.O. (2006). Information behavior.In; Cronin, B, (Ed.) Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 40, 297-327 . Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Dervin, B., & Nilan, M. (1986). Information needs and uses. In M. E. Williams (Ed.), Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 21, 3-33. White Plains, NY: Knowledge Industry Publs.

Julien, H. & Duggan, L. (2000). A Longitudinal analysis of the information needs and uses literature. Library and Information Science Research, 22 (2), 291-309.

Pettigrew, K.E., Fidel, R. & Bruce, H. (2001) Conceptual frameworks in information behavior. In M. E. Williams (Ed.), Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 35, 43-78. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Wilson, T.D. (1994). Information needs and uses: fifty years of progress, in: B.C. Vickery, (Ed.), Fifty years of information progress: a Journal of Documentation review, (pp. 15- 51) London: Aslib. [Available at]


3. Key theoretical concepts

Dervin, B. (1992). From the mind's eye of the user: The sense-making qualitative-quantitative methodology. In Glazier, J.D. & Powell, RR. Qualitative research in information management (pp. 61-84). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (1993). A principle of uncertainty for information seeking. Journal of Documentation, 49 (4), 339-355.

Talja, S., Keso, H. & Peitilainen, T. (1999). The production of 'context' in information seeking research: A metatheoretical view. Information Processing & Management, 35 (6), 751-763.

Wilson, P. (1983). Second hand knowledge; Cognitive authority. In P. Wilson, Second-hand knowledge: An inquiry into cognitive authority (p.vii-viii, 13-37, 107-112, 120) Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

4. Theories on why people seek information

Belkin, N.J., Oddy, R.N. & Brooks, H.M. (1982) ASK for information retrieval. Part I: Background and theory. Journal of Documentation, 38 (2), 61-71.

Belkin, N.J. (1980). Anomalous states of knowledge as a basis for information retrieval. Canadian Journal of Information Science, 133-143.

Byström, K, & Järvelin, K.. (1995). Task complexity affects information seeking and use. Information Processing & Management, 31 (2), 191-213.

5. Theories involving broader constructs

Savolainen, R. (1993). The sense-making theory: reviewing the interests of a user-centered approach to information seeking and use. Information Processing & Management, 29 (1), 13-28.

Taylor, R. S. (1968). Question negotiation and information seeking in libraries. College & Research Libraries, 28, 178-194.

Talja, S. (1997). Constituting 'information' and 'user' as research objects: A theory of knowledge formations as an alternative to the 'information man' theory. In P. Vakkari, R. Savolainen, & B. Dervin (Eds.), Information seeking in context (pp. 67-80). London: Taylor-Graham.

Tuominen, D. & Savolainen, R. (1999). A social constructionist approach to the study of information use as discursive action. In P. Vakkari, R. Savolainen, & B. Dervin (Eds.), Information seeking in context (pp. 81-96). London: Taylor-Graham.


6. Information seeking models

Järvelin, K. & Ingwersen, P. (2004). Information seeking research needs extension towards tasks and technology. Information Research, 10 (1) paper 212 [Available at]

Wilson, T.D. (1999). Models in information behaviour research. Journal of Documentation, 55 (3), 249-270.

7. Models and empirical studies on how people search for information

Bates, M. (1989). The design of browsing and berrypicking techniques for the online search interface. Online Review, 13 (5), 407-424.

Greenberg, J. (2004). User comprehension and searching with information retrieval thesauri. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 37 (3), 103-120.

Kuhlthau, C. (1991). Inside the Search Process: Information Seeking.from the Userís Perspective. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42 (6), 361-371.

Schacter, J., Chung, G. & Dorr, A. (1998). Children's Internet searching on complex problems: performance and process analyses. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 49 (9), 840-849.

Spink, A., Park, , M. & Jansen, B. J. & Pedersen, J. (2006). Multitasking during Web search sessions Information Processing & Management, 42 (1), 264-275.

8. Studies in human-computer interaction, relevance

Hert, C. A. (1997). Understanding information retrieval interactions: theoretical and practical implications. Greenwich CT: Ablex. Chapter 1: Setting the stage for a new understanding of information retrieval interaction and Chapter 2: What do we know about user behavior in information retrieval systems? (pp. 1-50).

Saracevic, T. (in press). Relevance: A Review of the Literature and a Framework for Thinking on the Notion in Information Science. Part II. Advances in Libraianship.


9. Human information behavior in science, technology, medicine and health

Anderson, C., Glassman, M., McAfee, R., & Pinelli, T. (2001). An investigation of factors affecting how engineers and scientists seek information. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 18 (2), 131-155.

Brown, C.M. (1999). Information seeking behavior of scientists in the electronic information age: Astronomers, chemists, mathematicians, and physicists. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50 (10), 929-943.

Davis, P.M. (2004).Information-Seeking Behavior of Chemists: A Transaction Log Analysis of Referral URLs. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55(4), 326-332.

Ellis, D., Cox, D. & Hall, K. (1993). A comparison of the information seeking patterns of researchers in the physical and social sciences. Journal of Documentation, 49 (4), 356-369.

Eysenbach, G., & Kohler, C. (2002, March 9). How do consumers search for and appraise health information on the world wide web? British Medical Journal, 324 (7337), 573-577.

Gorman, P.N. (1995). Information needs of physicians. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 46 (10), 729-736.

Jones, P.H. (2005). Information practices and cognitive artifacts in scientific research. Cognition, Technology and Work, 7 (2), 88-100 .

Liaw, S.-S., Chang, W.-C., Hung, W.-H. & Huang, H.-M. (2006). Attitudes toward search engines as a learning assisted tool: Approach of Liaw and Huang's research model. Computers in Human Behavior,22(2), 177-190.

Pettigrew, K. E. (1999). Waiting for chiropody: contextual results from an ethnographic study of the information behaviour among attendees at community clinics. Information Processing and Management, 35, (6), 801-817.

Rutten L.J.F., Arora N.K., Bakos A.D., Aziz N. & Rowland J. (2005). Information needs and sources of information among cancer patients: a systematic review of research (1980-2003). Patient Education And Counseling 57 (3), 250-261.

10. Human information behavior in professions and government

Dilevko, J. (2000). "My mother can't quite understand why I decided to go to library school:" What patrons say about library staff when asking government documents reference questions at depository libraries. Journal of Government Information, 27 (3), 299-323.

Kuhlthau, C. C. & Tama, S. L. (2001). Information search process of lawyers: A call for 'just for me' information services. Journal of Documentation, 57 (1), 25-43.

Leckie, G. J., Pettigrew, K.E., & Sylvain, C. (1996). Modeling the information seeking of professionals: a general model derived from research on engineers, health care professionals, and lawyers. Library Quarterly, 66 (2), 161-193.

11. Human information behavior in arts, humanities, and education

Bates, M. J., Wilde, D.N., & Siegfried, S.L. (1993). An analysis of search terminology used by humanists: the Getty Online Search Project report number 1. Library Quarterly, 63 (1), 1-39.

Case, D. O. (1991). Conceptual organization and retrieval of text by historians: The role of memory and metaphor. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42 (9)672-689.

de Tiratel, S. R. (2000). Accessing information use by humanists and social scientists: A study at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 26, (5), 346-354.

Stefl-Mabry, J. (2005) The reality of media preferences: Do professional groups vary in awareness? Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,56 (13), 1419-1426.

Zach, L. (2005). When is "enough" enough? Modeling the information-seeking and stopping behavior of senior arts administrators. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,56 (1), 23-35.


12. Use of information resources and information in variety of social contexts

Agosto, D.E. & Hughes-Hassell, S. (2005). People, places, and questions: An investigation of the everyday life information-seeking behaviors of urban young adults. Library & Information Science Research 27 (12), 141–163.

Chatman, E.A. (1996). The impoverished life-world of outsiders. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 47 (3), 193-206.

Harris, R.M. & Dewdney, P. (1994). Barriers to information. How formal help systems fail battered women. Westport, CN: Greenwood. Chapters 4 & 8: pp. 47-60, 121-140.

Savolainen, R. (1995). Everyday life information seeking: approaching information seeking in the context of 'Way of Life.' Library and Information Science Research, 17 (3), 259-294.

Spink, A. & Currier, J.(2006) Towards an evolutionary perspective for human information behavior: An exploratory study. Journal of Documentation, 62(2), 171-193.

Todd, R. J. (1999). Utilization of heroin information by adolescent girls in Australia: A cognitive analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50, (1), 10-23.

13. Characteristics and requirements of information society

Kruger, H. (2005) I, librarian. Information Technology and Libraries 24 (3), pp. 123-129

Sawyer, S. & Rosenbaum, H. (2000). Social Informatics in the Information Sciences: Current Activities and Emerging Directions. Informing Science, 3 (2),89-96.


last update 13 April 2006 Tefko Saracevic