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An observation to consider, however, and one I think may be present in
current information seeking behavior is the role the Internet and search
tools more generically play in modern information gathering behavior.

From a network perspective this is different than "asking your friends"
and different as well from "asking dedicated experts" (i.e. librarians).

In the example of Doctors, in 1966 this wasn't a realistic or viable
option, but I would suspect strongly that "do a Google search" followed
by "search on WebMD" (and perhaps other dedicated medical online
resources) would now be the first behavior for many doctors (and
patients) when facing uncertainty, often probably even before consulting
with others and almost certainly before turning to specific point
resources (a given journal, specific books/literature etc)

Also, consider the nature of inquiries into groups such as SOCNET. These
are not queries to a single person - i.e. one on one relationships, but
neither are they impersonal requests to a non-person resource (looking
up in the index of a reference work etc.) - there is a "network"
component - but one that is to some degree different than individuals.

I haven't seen this in any of the literature I have read in the field,
but it strikes me that mailing lists and other groups - especially when
the participants list is large and most "members" are unknown to each
other - represents an aspect of networks that should be considered, I
think when present groups such as SOCNET change the dynamics of the
network of relationships in crucial ways.

In a similar manner, large associative relationships without prior
personal connection - such as an alumni network or in the business world
the "McKinsey" network people who have worked for McKinsey in the past -
represent active, and very real parts of the social network for their
members. In the specific case of information gathering, I know I have
met many people who described how they very pro-actively used such
networks when gathering information - the network relationship serving
as a quick path to people otherwise unconnected. With the importance of
the relationship being the action taken by the other party, which
differed had the relationship not be mentioned and utilized.

Fascinating topic, hope this is helpful.

Shannon

Shannon Clark
Founder, MeshForum
"Connecting Networks"
www.meshforum.org
Join us May 1-3, 2005 in Chicago

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Gad Yair
Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 12:16 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: RE: people's information-seeking-behavior -- libraries versus
friends

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Hello Edith!

Always start with a root. Hence, look at Medical Innovation by Coleman,
Katz
and Menzel, 1966. Especially focus on chapter 5 (The Doctor's Decision).
The
book shows that under conditions of uncertainty (caused by medical
innovation), doctors talk to the Detail Man, read Journals and
Drug-House
information.  They further show that occupied with this objective
information doctors then turn to their community of peers and conform to
others' decision.  In Weber's terms, information is akin to conditions
for
practice; but networks constitute the switchmen who decide the specifics
of
action and concrete decisions.

This is the nutshell. Go for the real thing.

Gad

Gad Yair
Department of Sociology & Anthropology
School of Education
Rothberg School of Foreign Students
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jerusalem 91905
ISRAEL

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-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Bill Richards
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 7:17 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: people's information-seeking-behavior -- libraries versus
friends


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Edith <[log in to unmask]> wrote to ask:

Hello,
Can you recommend relevant articles regarding Social networks analysis,
dealing specifically with the subject of people's
information-seeking-behavior as related to libraries versus turning to
friends for information?
Thanks so much,
Edith.

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