B8.  ACCESSING AND BROWSING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION:
AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
Rice, R.E., McCreadie, M. and Chang, S-J.
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (2001)

BookcoverPREFACE
            The basic argument of this book is two-fold.  First, accessing and browsing resources are fundamental human activities, considered in a variety of ways and under a variety of terminologies across a variety of research areas.  Second, they are insufficiently understood or identified in any particular research area or service situation, so that unidentified aspects, or uninspected biases, prevent people from providing, and obtaining, the desired or necessary resources.  This book reviews literature from a wide range of research areas on these two fundamental human activities -- accessing and browsing resources.  Further, it considers two fundamental human resources -- information and communication.  These reviews are used to identify common and unique perspectives of each of the research literatures.   These perspectives are integrated to develop preliminary frameworks that are both more general and more comprehensive than any particular research area's treatment of the concepts.  Then, using multiple sources of evidence, these preliminary frameworks are evaluated, refined, and validated.
            Some notable features of this book include:
·        Extensive and comprehensive review of related theory, research, practice, and implications from a wide range of disciplines
·        Analysis of converging contexts such as mass media, online information services, libraries, public spaces, grocery stores, the Internet and World Wide Web, store windows, arthitectural design, advertisements, insects' searching patterns, organizational communication, information system evaluation, and more
·        Comparison of common and unique conceptualizaitons across multiple disciplines
·        Development and refinement of general, interdisciplinary frameworks
·        Explicit operationalization of concepts within a broad array of dimensions
·        Clear explanation of methodological procedures
·        In-depth qualitative and quantitative analysis of case studies, intentionally chosen to increase theoretical
variance
·        Extensive use of tables and figures to summarize and illustrate the concepts and analysis
·        Comprehensive bibliography
            This book is primarily intended for researchers, teachers, graduate students and service providers
interested in issues of accessing and browsing resources (here, information and communication).  We would
hope that the reviews, operationalized concepts, and refined frameworks could be of use to reference
librarians, organizational managers, system designers, message designers, consumer researchers,
policy-makers, social psychologists, and others.  Its scope, coverage and detail make this a rigorous
academic book, but there is very little statistical analysis, and all theoretical materials are fully described with
case-based examples.
            The development of the concepts from a wide variety of research literatures, and the detailed case
studies, should make the material broadly applicable and understandable.  As the fundamental conceptual and
empirical bases of the book come from a wide variety of related research literatures, it would seem that by
definition this book would be relevant to the over half-dozen areas represented here.  We would hope that this
book could become a foundation for a new aproach to information seeking, and could serve as part of an
established curriculum that wishes to extend its boundaries to factors earlier in the traditional
information-seeking process, to communication processes as well as to information, and across disciplines
and practice areas.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESSING AND BROWSING INFORMATION AND
COMMUNICATION; THE GENERAL APPROACH

                        Part I: Accessing Information and Communication
Defining the Parameters of Access
Barriers in Libraries and Information Science
Importance of Access as Focus of Research
Research Questions
                        Part II: Browsing Information and Communication
A Common but Not Well Understood Phenomenon
Confusion between Browsing and Searching
A Bias Toward Specific, Direct Searching
New Issues Raised by Information Technology
Research Questions
                                       General Approach
Framework Development
Framework Testing and Refinement
Framework and Implications

PART I: ACCESSING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION

2.  PERSPECTIVES ON ACCESS IN SIX RESEARCH LITERATURES
                                           Overview
                                        Library Studies
Traditional Library Approach:  Access to Information in Print
Access to Knowledge: Information Literacy
Transition from Ownership to Access
Information Democracy
                                      Information Science
Issues Related to Relevance
User Focus
                                      Information Society
Relevance of Access to the Information Society
                                     Mass Communication
Agenda Setting
                                 Organizational Communication
Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace
Management of Information Systems and Media Choice
Knowledge Management
                                   Economics of Information
Information as Public or Private Good
Buying Citizenship Rights
                                           Summary

3.  COMMON CONCEPTS ACROSS RESEARCH LITERATURES
                                           Overview
                                Conceptualization of Information
As Thing (Resource/Commodity)
As Data in the Environment
As Representation of Knowledge
As Part of Communication Process
                           Conceptualization of Access to Information
Access to Knowledge
Access to Technology and Media
Access to Communication
Access to Control
Access to Goods, Commodities
Access to (Knowledge of and Ability to Exercise) Rights
                            Facets of the Information Seeking Process
Context
Situation
Strategies
Outcomes
                                   Mediation and Technology
Potential Interactions between Mediation and Technology
Intensifying Potential
Compensating Potential
                              Influences and Constraints on Access
Physical
Cognitive
Affective
Economic
Social
Political
                                           Summary

4.      UNIQUE ASPECTS ACROSS RESEARCH LITERATURES,
AND A PRELIMINARY FRAMEWORK OF ACCESS
                         Unique Aspects Across Six Research Literatures
Library Studies
Information Science
Information Society
Mass Communication
Organizational Communication
Economics of Information
Summary
                               A Preliminary Framework of Access
Integrated Framework of Access to Information and Communication

5.  RESEARCH APPROACH
                                           Overview
                          The Pilot (1st) and Primary (2nd) Case Studies
Sense-making Methodology
Interview Protocol
Field Notes, Search Logs, Email Messages
                                Developing the Initial Framework
Content Analysis
Operational Definitions
First Coding
Re-coding and Inter-coder Reliability Testing
                       Follow-Up (3rd) Case Study: Framework Refinement

6.  RESULTS:  TESTING THE FRAMEWORK OF ACCESS
                                   Frequencies and Examples
Facets of the Information Seeking Process
Influences and Constraints
                              Addressing the Research Questions
Category Intersections
Discussion
                                   Summary and Conclusions

7.  RESULTS:  REFINING THE FRAMEWORK OF ACCESS
                                       Research Methods
The Research Setting
Data Analysis
                       Frequencies and Cross-Tabulations, with Examples
Facets of the Information Seeking Process
Influences and Constraints
Summary of Follow-Up Distributions
                                          Amy’s Story
General Themes
Care
Diggin’ and Buggin’
Voice
                                    The Refined Framework

8.  SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS OF THE FRAMEWORK OF ACCESS
                                      Research Questions
Research Question One:   If There are Common Issues and Concerns Implied by Discussions of
Access-Related Issues in Several Relevant Research Areas, What are They?
Research Question Two:  What Are the Influences and Constraints on Access to Information?
Research Question Three:  What are the Assumptions and/or Primary Issues or Foci of Each
Research Area that Lead to the Differences among Them?
Preliminary Framework
Research Questions Four and Five:  How Well Does the Proposed Framework Capture/Organize
Participants’ Perceptions of Access to Information Across Information Situations, Individuals, and
Social Settings?  And Do the Study Results Suggest Additional Components or Dimensions of The
Framework?
                                    Limitations of the Study
                  Synthesis of Elements of a Framework of Access to Information

PART II: BROWSING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION

9.  PERSPECTIVES ON BROWSING IN SIX RESEARCH LITERATURES
                                                What Is Browsing?
                                      Library User Studies
Research Questions
                          End-User Computing and Information Science
Research Question
                                      Consumer Research
Research Questions
                                      Audience Research
Research Questions
                                    Organizational Research
Research Questions for Environmental Scanning
Research Questions for Informal Communication
                        Environmental Planning and Architectural Design
Research Questions
                                           Summary

10.  A PRELIMINARY FRAMEWORK OF BROWSING
                                   Behavioral Characteristics
Scanning
Movement
                                  Motivational Characteristics
Motivation (Purpose)
Goal
                                    Cognitive Characteristics
Browser's Knowledge (contents vs. structure)
Planning
                                           Resource
Form of Resource: The Thing (Item) Itself and Its Representation
Focus: Content and Structure
                                       Contextual Factors
Interface (Display)
Organization (Structure)
Feedback: Form and Extent
Economic Factors
                                     Models and Examples

11.  RESEARCH APPROACH
                                           Overview
                                             Data
Data Sources
Data Collection Procedures
Data Collection Instruments
                               Analysis Methods and Procedures
Analysis Methods
Analysis Procedures
Characteristics of Cases

12.  RESULTS:  TESTING THE FRAMEWORK OF BROWSING
                            The Underlying Dimensions of Browsing
Definitions of Theoretical Constructs
Taxonomy of Browsing
Using the Browsing Taxonomy
Discussion

13.  RESULTS:  MOTIVATING THEMES AND PATTERNS OF BROWSING
                Theme I: Looking For a Specific Item (Object or Fact) to Begin With
Pattern 1 -- Non-browsing
Pattern 2 -- Situational Browsing
Pattern 3 -- Opportunistic Browsing
                 Theme II: Looking for Something(s) with Common Characteristics
Pattern 4 -- Systematic Browsing
Pattern 5 -- Evaluative Browsing
Pattern 6 -- Focus Browsing
                                 Theme III: Keeping Up To Date
Pattern 7 -- Monitoring Browsing
                               Theme IV: Learning or Finding Out
Pattern 8 -- Indicative Browsing
Pattern 9 -- Preparatory Browsing
                                      Theme V: Goal-Free
Pattern 10 -- Invitational Browsing
                                           Summary

14.  RESULTS: A REFINED FRAMEWORK OF BROWSING
                                A Model of the Browsing Process
                                Other Information Seeking Models
                              The Refined Framework of Browsing

15.   FUTURE RESEARCH AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FRAMEWORKS OF ACCESSING AND
BROWSING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
                           Accessing Information and Communication
Implications
Future Research
                           Browsing Information and Communication
Implications
Future Research
                                          Conclusion

16.  REFERENCES

INDEX

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Table 1.  Conceptualizations of Information
Table 2.  Conceptualizations of Access to Information
Table 3.  Facets of the Information Seeking Process
Table 4.  Potential Interactions of Mediation with Access
Table 5.  Influences/Constraints on Access to Information
Table 6.  Common Issues/Concerns by Research Literature
Table 7.  Influences/Constraints by Research Literature
Table 8.  Unique Perspectives by Research Literature
Table 9.  Interview Protocol
Table 10.  Background Questions
Table 11.  Operational Definitions of Categories for Content Analysis
Table 12.  Summary of Changes in Coding Procedures Resulting from Initial Coding
Table 13.  Example Additions to Operational Definitions
Table 14.  Confusion Matrix of Initial Coding: Facets of the Information Seeking Process
Table 15.  Confusion Matrix of Initial Coding: Influences/Constraints
Table 16.  Coding Clarifications Based on Inter-Coder Reliability Testing
Table 17.  Summary of Frequencies and Examples
Table 18.  Chi-Square Analysis of Intersections from Main Study: Actual, Expected and Chi-Square
Values
Table 19.   Summary of Chi-Square Analysis of Intersections with Examples
Table 20.  Chi-Square Analysis of Intersections from Follow-Up Study: Actual, Expected and
Chi-Square Values
Table 21.  Influences/Constraints on Access to Information
Table 22.  A Comparison of Browsing Models in IR Studies
Table 23.  Underlying Dimensions of Browsing by Research Literature
Table 24.  Factors Influencing Browsing by Research Literature
Table 25.  Consequences of Browsing by Research Literature
Table 26.  Evaluation of Successful Browsing by Research Literature
Table 27.  Dimensions and Subdimensions in the General Model of Browsing
Table 28.  Using Motivational Dimension -- Goal -- to Analyze Situations
Table 29.  Interaction between Goal and Resource
Table 30.  An Example of Data Analysis Procedures Followed: Case F007
Table 31.  Cases for Initial Analysis
Table 32.  Number of Cases from each of Three Libraries (W, F and L),
and Number of Episodes Analyzed
Table 33.  Attributes as Criteria for Evaluation
Table 34.  Examples of Goal of Evaluating
Table 35.  Dimensions and Elements in the Taxonomy of Browsing
Table 36.  Dimensional Taxonomy of Browsing Patterns
Table 37.  Underlying Dimensions of Browsing Process

Figure 1.  Framework Development Process
Figure 2.  Preliminary Framework for Understanding Access to Information and Communication
Figure 3.  Synthesis of Elements of Framework for Understanding Access to Information and
Communication
Figure 4.  A Preliminary Framework of Browsing
Figure 5.  A Tentative Typology of Browsing
Figure 6.  A Graphic Representation of Examples in the Taxonomy of Browsing
Figure 7.  A New Framework of Browsing (Browsing Pattern in Dotted Box)