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Lars Höglund and Tom Wilson, eds. The new review of information behaviour research. Vol. 2: Studies of information seeking in context ISIC III, The third international conference on research in information needs, seeking and use in different contexts, Goteborg, 2001. London: Taylor Graham, 2001. 232 p. ISSN 1471-6313. 70.00

In the second volume of the new journal of information behaviour, the editors have published the second half of the papers from the conference on information behaviour. In both volumes 29 articles are published. The first volume has already been reviewed. The contents in the second volume can be divided into two big groups. One of them deals with research problems (theoretical and methodology issues) of information behaviour. The second one with "information behaviour in learning contexts at different levels" (p. ii).

The authors of the papers on theoretical issues test the impact of gender and culture (Higgins and Hawamdeh), cognitive and task variables (Allen and Kim), research process (Chang and Lee) on information seeking. McKechnie et al., investigate how and what theories are used by information behaviour researchers, what new theories they propose themselves. The revealed picture shows the level of maturity of the field. Equally interesting are the articles discussing the merits and shortcomings of various reserach methods: information horizon maps (Sonnenwald et al.), random walk sample (Marcella and Baxter), or ethnographic analysis (Thomas and Nyce). From this point of view the work by Seldén is interesting as he uses Bourdieu's theory to analyse his findings about information seeking career in research. Enochsson applies Limberg's finding's to analyse her results about children's evaluation of Web-sites, thus drawing upon theories from information seeking field for her own basicly educational research. Light produced another paper investigating the factors influencing users responses to the websites.

Several other authors research specific contexts of information needs and use: Hersberger an analysis information needs and sources of American homeless parents; Kuhlthau and McNally the school library as a direct environment of information seeking and learning; Reneker et al.. characterise information users in a military university using focus groups as a research technique; and finally Vakkari and Pennanen widen the understanding of information seeking by young researchers with their longitudinal study of writing a research proposal.

Those who have acquired the earlier issues of the ISIC conference papers will need this volume to collect the full set of them and to be able to follow the development of the field and the conference itself. The deeper analysis of the changes in the subject, theoretical approaches, or methods of research used by the participants of the conference will require more time. I had only some time for a superficial glance at the authors who took part in the first three conferences.

All in all 95 papers were published from the three conferences. (ISIC I - 28; ISIC II - 42; ISIC III - 29). Most of the authors belong to the university community, which is not surprising for a research conference. The first conference attracted only researchers with academic background. Five persons from other research institutions than universities took part in the second conference and six in the third (two of them from research departments of Microsoft and Boeing companies). The authors come from a variety of study areas: LIS, Information systems, computer science, business and finance, education, health, biology, etc. Most of the authors come from the United States and Great Britain, but researchers from Asia and Eastern Europe took part for the first time in the third conference .

Table 1 : Geographic distribution of the authors of ISIC conference papers
USA 15 16 21
UK 6 21 10
Sweden 2 2 5
Finland 5 6 3
Canada 3 3 3
Denmark 1 2
Taiwan 2
Singapore 2
Australia 4 1 1
Estonia 1
Ireland 1
Germany 4 1
Norway 1 1
France 2
Spain 2
Netherlands 1
New Zealand 1

There is a group of researchers who presented papers in all three conferences: Bystrom, Kuhlthau, Limberg, Pettigrew, Savolainen, Spink, Sonnenwald, Vakkari, and Wilson.

A closer look should be taken to understand what factors influence the participation in the conference: the place where it is held, the criteria and the process of the selection of the papers, etc. However, it is clear that the conference attracts the participants from various fields and countries, sets research standards in the field and contributes to its. development.

Dr. Elena Maceviciute
Hogskolan i Boras
March 2002