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2 Who and What

Page history last edited by Natalia Ermolaev 9 years, 3 months ago

Chapter 2.

Who and What?


A. What do social scientists and humanists study?


The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analyticalcritical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural science.


The humanities include ancient and modern languagesliteraturelawhistoryphilosophyreligion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatreHumanities subjects also considered social sciences include technologyanthropologyarea studiescommunication studiescultural studies, and linguistics


The social sciences are the fields of scholarship that study society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences. These include: anthropologyarchaeologybusiness administration,criminologyeconomicsgeographylinguisticspolitical sciencesociologyinternational relationscommunication, and, in some contexts, historylaw, and psychology


Library science (or Library and Information science) is an interdisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of managementinformation technologyeducation, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information.





B. User profile of humanities and social science information-seekers


They are:


  • Adults: researchers, scholars and students;
  • Generally affiliated with institutions of higher learning, and their information-seeking activities tend to be anchored in these institutions;
  • Come from various socio-economic, racial, ethnic, political, cultural backgrounds and contexts – what unites them is their pursuit and intellectual interpretation of information;
  • The academic library and its resources (print, digital, human, physical) play a key role in their information activities;
  • As a group, they exhibit broad range of engagement with information technologies. Both wholehearted embracing as well as skepticism, even rejection (though decreasingly so) are common. 
  • Age/generation is an issue. Today we are living through a time when people talk about a generational divide in research strategies: it is generally considered that older scholars are less eager to embrace technology, while for younger scholars this is given. In fact, the divide is between those who chose use technology and those who do not, regardless of their age. 
  • Research shows that humanists and social scientists tend not to consult librarians very often.



C. Key scholars in the HIB field who focus on the information behaviors of humanists and social scientists


(Information taken from scholars' websites)


A. David Ellis 


Ellis has a BA from Durham University and an MA and PhD in Information Studies from the University of Sheffield. He was a senior lecturer in the Department of Information Studies in Sheffield from 1984 to 2000 and is a Professor in the Department of Information and Library Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth since 2000.


His interest include information and knowledge management; information needs; user studies; information retrieval; academic communication; communication in organizations; non-technical aspects of information systems; information policy and strategy; information and communication audits.


B. Margaret Stieg Dalton 


A former reference librarian at Harvard University, Professor Dalton began her library education career at Alabama in 1971. She teaches reference services and on-line systems. A prolific scholar, she has written several books, including "The Origin and Development of Scholarly Historic Periodicals," which has received considerable acclaim; "Change and Challenge in Library and Information Science Education"(ALA, 1991), written with a grant from the Council on Library Resources; and "Public Libraries in Nazi Germany," for which she received the first Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History. Dr. Dalton has also been the recipient of a University of Alabama Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award and the ALISE Award for Professional Contribution to Library and Information Science Education.



C. Lokman I. Meho


Lokman I. Meho has MS in library science and a PhD in information and library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In Indiana University, he taught courses and did research in information technology, censorship, information-seeking behavior, humanities and social science information, collection development and management, evaluation of library sources and services, citation analysis, bibliometrics, scientometrics, and scholarly communication and network analysis. Meho is the associate editor of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

He is currently the Director, University Libraries, American University of Beirut and Associate Faculty, Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies, American University of Beirut.



D. Donald O. Case 


Donald O. Case holds the Ph.D. in Communication Research from Stanford University (1984) and the M.L.S. from Syracuse University (1977). He has held the post of Professor in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information Studies since 1994; between 1983 and 1994 Case was a faculty member at the University of California, Los Angeles. During 1989 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to lecture at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. His research interests include information behavior, social informatics and information policy. The first edition of the book, Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior (2002) was given the "Best Book of the Year"; Award by the American Society for Information Science Technology.





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