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The concept of usefulness in library and information science research
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9196-2106
Åbo Akademi och Uleåborgs universitet.
Åbo Akademi och Uleåborgs universitet.
Åbo Akademi.
2019 (English)In: Information research, ISSN 1368-1613, E-ISSN 1368-1613, Vol. 24, no 4, article id colis1907Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is not much doubt that information, information services and systems need to be useful. In this light, the relatively lack of conceptual elaboration of the concept of usefulness in the library and information science literature can be regarded as somewhat surprising. This paper provides a conceptual overview of the use of the notion of usefulness in library and information science literature, explicates its relation to key parallel concepts, and on the basis of an empirical vignette in the context of health information research, discusses the potential limits and advantages of referring to usefulness instead of and together with other related concepts. A review of literature relating to the concept of usefulness was conducted to examine how it has been used in library and information science. A close reading of the literature shows an overlap between related concepts but at the same time, diverging foci of interest in and emphasis on what and how information, information services and, for instance, information systems are considered beneficial or suitable for their users and particular uses. There is a need for better conceptual clarity in the literature regarding usefulness and related concepts. The review shows that usefulness can be literally a useful concept for addressing the user and use (versus e.g. system, content or topic) perspective to engagements with people, services, systems and beyond.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 24, no 4, article id colis1907
Keywords [en]
relevance; usefulness; information behaviour
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-400785OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-400785DiVA, id: diva2:1382411
Conference
Conceptions in Library and Information Science (CoLIS) 2019
Projects
Taking Information Behaviour into Account (HIBA)Available from: 2020-01-02 Created: 2020-01-02 Last updated: 2020-01-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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