Journal article

Towards an evolutionary perspective for human information behavior: an exploratory study

9 Nov 2006

Since the beginning of human existence, humankind has sought, organized and used information as it evolved patterns and practices of human information behaviors. However, the field of human information behavior (HIB) has not heretofore pursued an evolutionary understanding of information behavior. The goal of this exploratory study is to provide insight about the information behavior of various individuals from the past to begin the development of an evolutionary perspective for our understanding of HIB. This paper presents findings from a qualitative analysis of the autobiographies and personal writings of several historical figures, including Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Darwin, Giacomo Casanova and others. Analysis of their writings shows that these persons of the past articulated aspects of their human information behavior, including information seeking, information organization and information use, providing tangible insights into their information-related thoughts and actions. This paper has implications for expanding the nature of our evolutionary understanding of information behavior and provides a broader context for the HIB research field. This the first paper in the information science field of HIB to study the information behavior of historical figures and begin to develop an evolutionary framework for HIB research.

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