Huvila, I., Enwald, H., Hirvonen, N. & Eriksson-Backa, K. (2019). The concept of usefulness in library and information science research. In Proceedings of CoLIS, the Tenth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 16-19, 2019. Information Research, 24(4), paper colis1907. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1907.html (Archived by the Internet Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20191216154115/http://informationr.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1907.html)
The concept of usefulness in library and information science research
|Author:||Huvila, Isto1,2; Enwald, Heidi3,2; Hirvonen, Noora3,2;|
1Uppsala University, Sweden
2Åbo Akademi University, Finland
3University of Oulu, Finland
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe202002175554
University of Borås,
|Publish Date:|| 2020-02-17
Introduction: 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.
Method: 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.
Analysis: A review of literature relating to the concept of usefulness was conducted to examine how it has been used in library and information science.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: 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.
Information research. An international electronic journal
|Type of Publication:||
A1 Journal article – refereed
|Field of Science:||
520 Other social sciences
518 Media and communications
616 Other humanities
© The authors, 2019. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).