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Lars Höglund, Tom Wilson (eds.).  The new review of information behaviour research. Vol. 1: Studies of information seeking in context ISIC III, The third international conference on research in information needs, seeking and use in different contexts, Göteborg, 2000. London: Taylor Graham Publishing, 2000.  247 p. ISSN 1471-6313.   £70.

The third collection of papers presented at the International Conference on Information Seeking in Context (held in Göteborg in August 2000) represents a huge variety of research conducted in this area as well as a rich range of approaches and aspects and wide geographic distribution of researchers. A part of this wealth of studies is included in the first volume of the New Review of Information Behaviour Research published annually by Taylor Graham (Series editor Pertti Vakkari).

The editors have grouped the papers in this volume into three categories (Introduction, p. 1, 2):

  • on theoretical perspectives (5 papers)
  • on contexts of information seeking (7 papers)
  • on information searching issues (3 papers).

Some papers in all three groups may attract a wide audience as fascinating readings. The exploration of information habits from small world perspectives (by Elfreda Chatman); the metaphorical approaches to information use (by Reijo Savolainen); the differences between novices' and experts' information behaviour (by Charles Cole and Carol Kulthau); the impact of information technology on the success of the management of British 'pubs' (by Alistair Mutch), or sharing information among Web users (by Sanda Erdelez and Kevin Rioux) are intriguing and attractive by the very serious and humanistic scientific attitude to recognisable everyday areas.

On the other hand, the works that would scare off an occasional reader by specific language or statistical data are no less interesting for their new insights and approaches. There is an impressive attempt by Birger Hjorlund to build a general theory of information seeking on the basis of general principles of psychology. The rigorous "quantitative investigation of the ideas developed through qualitative research" (p. 82) by the group of UK and USA researchers allows to identify interesting relations of uncertainty to other variables experienced in information seeking (Tom Wilson and others). The study by Katrin Byström reveals the direct relation between task complexity and use of information sources. Together with the study of teleworkers' behaviour (by Crystal Fulton) and information behaviour of software designers (by Morten Hertzum) it once more proves the importance of people as information sources.

Some of the authors apply specific paradigmatic approaches or methods to information behaviour studies. Louise Limberg introduces the results of phenomenographic studies and their potential. Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson uses long-term ethnographic observation for better understanding of relevance judgements. Raya Fidel with a group of researchers applies a cognitive work analysis framework to explore collective information seeking. A rare treat to the eyes of the reviewer from Central Europe is the presence of the only "Easterner" - Aki Tibar's paper on information needs in Estonian industry.

As a general conclusion I would advise research and academic libraries of sociological and humanitarian profile to buy the volume (despite the prohibitive price) as it could be a good support to many research projects, providing new perspectives and supplying unexpected research results from a related field.

Dr. Elena Macevičiūtė
Högskolan i Borås
August 2001