Scholarly communication in transition. Computer scientists' information behaviour over twenty years.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction. The information behaviour of a group of Swedish computer scientists has been studied over a period of twenty years (1987-2006). Method. Five computer scientists have been interviewed and answered individual questionnaires. Together with four colleagues they were also the subjects of a qualitative study twenty years ago. Analysis. Data from interviews in 1987-88 and 2006, questionnaires and Websites have been processed and analysed to elucidate information behaviour changes from a socio-cultural perspective. The emphasis lies on careers, information seeking and personal networks. Results. The subjects are now all senior researchers. The tools for information seeking have changed but their needs are still dominated by monitoring. Information seeking remains a social activity, but the close interaction with colleagues in the department has ceased while personal networks are now wider. As expected, print journals and conferences have been replaced by Web access to digital resources. In the process, cognitive authority seems to have been transferred from colleagues to Google, the preferred search tool. Conclusions. The information behaviour of the researchers in this group is firmly rooted in social and professional practices that are very different today compared to 1987.


  • Birgitta Olander
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Studies
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch