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Friday Conversations at SLIS

Sharon Stoerger
Sharon Stoerger

On Fridays from 12:30-1:30 p.m., SLIS hosts a series "Friday Conversations". Sharon Stoerger (SLIS Ph.D. in Information Science student) is the current Coordinator. She responded to an email interview: "So far, the conversations have covered a wide-range of interesting topics such as library and information science issues, social informatics, research methodologies, and emerging technologies, just to name a few. The format for the conversations is flexible, and they have ranged from informal discussions to more formal, conference-style presentations. There are several open slots still available for the spring series, and I encourage anyone who is interested in leading a discussion to contact me at"

Abstracts from two recent talks are included here:

Elisabeth Davenport [SLIS Visiting Scholar, and an Emeritus Professor in the School of Computing, Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland] - Friday, 1/30/09

Dialogic Methods in Information Science

Abstract: Dialogue between researcher and subject is a long established technique in information science. The topic of conversation has varied as the LIS domain has developed from a focus on artefacts, documents and files to exploration of tasks, situation, context and inner states. The use of dialogic techniques in LIS is problematic for a number of reasons. They are used carelessly by many researchers who have not read adequately or understood the details of the techniques. They are combined in methodological mash-ups that cannot deliver robust findings. And they are used uncritically, as few researchers ask "What kind of reality emerges from dialogue?" or "How authentic can dialogue be?" The lunch-time talk will focus on three dialogic methods: critical incident analysis, focus groups and micro-moment time-line interviewing, and their use in a number of recent studies of everyday-life information seeking.

Lai Ma [SLIS Ph.D. in Information Science student] - Friday, 2/6/09

Critical Ethnography for Information Research

Abstract: The practical concerns of information research are not merely technical problems; rather, they are social in nature - the working of a system or the successful retrieval of relevant information involves an understanding of users and their relationship with contexts. Context, in turn, needs to be addressed in terms of cultural affordances and social situations together, including an examination of the cultural horizons by which certain material forms and expressions are considered to be "information." The understanding of human interactions, cultural affordances and social situations begs for a critical and conceptual space in research, on the one hand, and empirical approaches in which the understanding of the cultural and the social are central concerns, on the other. Critical ethnography is a critical and empirical research methodology that encompasses these two criteria.

Posted February 06, 2009