Information interaction among computer scientists. A longitudinal study.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction. The information behaviour of a group of Swedish computer scientists has been studied over a period of 20 years (1987-2006). Changes in their information seeking are addressed in terms of collaboration levels and discussed as examples of social practice.
Method. Qualitative interviewing has been the main method for data collection.
Analysis. Interview transcripts have been content analysed by means of data reduction and data displays.
Results. The original study of the group in the late 1980s showed that interaction between group members was frequent and integrated social, collegial and informational aspects. They served as informal information providers for each other and their information seeking was predominantly internal within the department. It is clear from preliminary results of the follow-up study that the pattern of social interaction between the remaining five group members has changed dramatically. Today collegial interaction is mostly limited to the individuals' research teams. Social interaction and interaction for information purposes among the subjects are sparse. In Talja's (2002) terminology they have moved from social sharing within the group of team leaders to strategic sharing within their research teams. The scientists studied still prefer informal information seeking, but their information interaction is now mostly external and the social qualities of this interaction have changed.
Conclusions. The conclusions indicate that information behaviour in this group are based on social and professional practices that have undergone fundamental changes in the past 20 years.


  • Birgitta Olander
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Studies


  • information seeking behaviour., computer scientists, scholarly communication
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science—"Featuring the Future"

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Related projects

Birgitta Olander, Gustav Holmberg & Sara Kjellberg


Project: Research

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