ASIS&T 2007: Leading by Using Social Networks: Facebook and Second Life

Pascal Calarco

Facebook started at Harvard, spread to U.S. higher education through 2006. Limited to higher education. Then opened to the world. Focus on connecting people. 47 million users; adding about 200,000 per day. Hosts applications — one of distinguishing characteristics of Facebook vs. MySpace.
Who uses in library-land? As of mid October. There’s now an ASIS&T group (created by Pascal Calarco).
Observations: Facebook is good at connecting and finding people. Good for sharing information, but Facebook is not good for discussion. Line between personal and professional can be fuzzy. User base’s fastest growing segment is in ages 25-44. Facebook applications are growing.
ASIS&T group has 172 members — of which 36 are paid members. 50 were planning to attend ASIS&T conference. 24 of the 36 ASIS&T members planned to attend the conference. Shows potential to a) expand membership and b) network people. But — social networking sites wax and wane, so to take advantage, ASIS&T needs to be aware of what the next new thing is going to be. But — opportunity for low-cost marketing and exposure. Not great for networking/job hunting.
Possible uses… Engage younger people (recent graduates). Create metagroups around topics, for discussion, sharing of knowledge, etc. SIG and chapter outreach tool. Event advertising and promotion (it’s free!). Attact new members.

Second Life
Allison Brueckner

Second Life [SL] offers potential for online meeting, collaboration, sharing.
SL is a 3-dimensional virtual world created and designed by its residents. Site is run by Linden Labs. Avatars buy “land” in SL from Linden Labs. Software is free; doing things in SL may not be. You can even buy an avatar. You can buy “linden dollars”.
Who’s in SL? Total — about 10 million. 450,000 have logged in during the last 7 days; 600,000 in the last 14 days. Not a lot of people return; the average life span of a resident is about 3 months. 46% of residents are from W. Europe, 30% from North America, 10% from South America, 8% from Asia.
What do you do in SL? Business, collaborate, education, entertainment, gaming, instruction, learning networking. There’s an SL knitting group; people get together, knit, and sell their knitting — all in SL.
What makes people stay? Investment — people put real dollars. People have real businesses there. Community and partnership building, sense of self (place to explore alternate personas), friendships, instruction and education.
Leadership challenges… Interoperability, platforms (SL doesn’t do Vista, yet), bandwidth, time zones, languages, culture, trust, currency (only US dollars and Euros are exchangable into linden dollars).
Leadership opportunities… business expansion, networking, communication & promotion, distance learning, global outreach, cost effectiveness, recruitment.
Average SL user is on 4-6 hours/day. Not for the faint of heart!
SL is way for ASIST to lead by example — embrace new technologies and adapt them to our needs.

ASIS&T 2007: Information-Related Behaviors

Modeling Task-based Information Behavior on the Web: Application of ISS Schema
Jeonghyun Kim

How do we understand, identify, or predict information seeking behavior (ISB)? Or, how do we analyze, measure, or categorize ISB?
Two classical modes of ISB: A) Classifications of behavior and B) Models of information behavior.
Different ways to describe ISB on the web
Belkin’s Information Seeking Strategies. Based on 4 dimensions:

  • method of searching,
  • mode of retrieval,
  • goal of retrieval,
  • and resources considered.

People often change from one strategy to another in the course of research.
What motivates ISB? Need, information problem, problem, goal, task. Researchers use different terms to seek the driving force between ISB. Kim focuses on “task” — ultimate goal is performing a task. Tasks require information. Satisfaction with search will depend on its assistance toward completing the task. This is not a novel approach; been around in literature since 1980s.
How can tasks be conceptualized?

  • As a process vs. as objective
  • A function
  • Task description as “an abstract construction”.

Kim focuses on task as objective.
Tasks have types: topical vs. factual; domain (in some fields — shopping and travel — people tend to spend more time exploring site and use directory); complexity.
Putting all these studies together, designed a conceptual framework.

Task Typology

Factual Task: Need to find a specific fact or piece of information.
Interpretive Task: Find general information on a particular topic, with “knowing more” as the goal.
Exploratory Task: You need to learn a lot about a broad subject, without a specific goal in mind.


30 LIS students were in the study. They were observed as they carried out sample tasks. Interviewed at conclusion to see how difficult they felt the search was.


Factual task — Most users type specific keyword, scroll results, try a page, go back, until they get the info they want. Very target-specific; people tried to find the word/phrase that would answer their question. Some users relied on the search results description, not title. They were in minority.
Interpretive Task — Goal-focused and selected. Went through Table of Contents and many sections. Scanned for a page on the target site.
Exploratory Task — Many people just stop when they found a page that had “lots of things”; defined enough as what they had, not by quality, necessarily.
Is there a pattern between strategies? Which ones are users likely to use in sequence? Certain strategies were used frequently by users.
Study shows a path to better building sites and tools to answer users’ questions. Information seeking research needs to be extended toward task. Information systems should be structured in ways that support tasks. Understanding probably tasks should lead to better site structure.

Information-Seeking Behaviors of Academic Researchers in the Internet Age: A User Study in the United States, China and Greece
Peiling Wang, Dimitris A. Dervos, Yan Zhang, Lei Wu

Why this study? Scholarly communication and information seeking is of great interest. Academic researchers are serious users of traditional (print) information systems. The internet has changed the research environment.
Two-dimensional framework:

A. Information Seeking Activities
A1 general — long-term research needs
A2. task-based — corresponding to project life-cycle)
B. Internet Information Communication Technology/Resources [IICT]

B1. Internet communication tools
B2 Internet-enabled information resources

Questions asked

  1. How do researchers engage in the two types of IS activities in today’s digital environment (A1 and A2)
  2. What IICTs do researchers use/not use for IS? (B1 and B2)
  3. Are there any differences in IS activities and the of IICTSs in different countries?


Ended up with 82 respondents as follows: 28 U.S. (computer science, engineering); 19 Greek (higher education), 35 China
IICT usage:

  • Communication: Email, Web, FTP, Listserv used by more than 50% in at least one country (listserv by only 14% in China)
  • Blogs, Wiki, IM — mentioned by participants, not in original questionnaire. Most CS and Engineering researchers do not use these tools for research.
  • Digital library, ejournal, database, OPAC. All use at least one of the four. The most used is digital library, least is e-journal.

Perceived IICT importance — web, email, digital library, e-journal were the most important overall. Chinese respondents thought e-journals viewed this as more important than others; value peer-review process. U.S. & Greece — think are not-peer-reviewed, less trust. Greek participants thought digital library more important than others did; Greece established a national consortium of journals in 1998, called a “digital library”.
Other sources — conferences are an important informal channel of communication and information exchange. In CS and Engineering, some conferences are rated higher than journals in value and impact.
What percent of information need is satisfied digitally? 85% (Greece), 81% (US), 74% (China).
Why aren’t IICT’s used? Time / information overload; availability, convenience, nature of projects, etc.
Challenges to libraries and librarians: I don’t need the library anymore, thanks to the Internet; I only to the library to get coffee; libraries need to change.
Web makes it easier to monitor what’s going on. Managing is getting harder. Archiving is underutilized — institutional repositories are not frequently reported in Greece; China, on the other hand, has a more developed system based on universities.
Managing digital information — how to organize files into folders, keep multiple categories, or keep copies on multiple computers.
Implications: Active researchers should maintain up-to-date homepages. Librarians and libraries must find new roles — especially in institutional repository. New digital tools and resources must meet needs of users. Incorporate what users know and how they use info into the tools we provide. Revamp personal bibliographic database tools with new models that incorporate information needs and seeking behaviors.

Toward an Integrated Framework of Information and Communication Behavior: College Students’ Information Resources and Media Selection
Soo Young Rich, Brian Hilligoss, Jiyeon Yang

Given many choices of information resources, knowing where to start is hard. What are the consequential and multidimensional aspects of information behavior over longer time period? A series of information activities in everyday life information seeking context.
How do college students select information resource and media differently depending on their information seeking goals and tasks?
To what extent do they rely on online information for their important information problems?
Each day, for ten days, students picked an information problem that was most important to them and answered an online questionnaire. What they needed, why, and most important, what they did to solve the task.
Followed up with interviews, going over each of the daily reports. Asked about the search process, how they rated sites, how they knew they had answers, etc.
Had 245 information seeking episodes from 24 subjects.
Found that in problem solving tasks — human resources (when the student communicated directly with a known person) 52% of the time. In other information needs, web sites had the most use, followed by print materials.
Students preferred to use multiple resources when resolving tasks. But time ended up being the determining factor. Best information in quickest way. If they think going to a person is most efficient, they’ll do it. But they’ll go to the place that’s most efficient, not necessarily most trusted.
Students prefer computer-mediated communication to face-to-face interaction when they engage in intentional information seeking (even when person is physically proximate or available). Perhaps because there’s a record of the transaction? Or because they assume the other person is just as busy and doesn’t want to be interrupted?