When is information work?

Information science researchers and practitioners discuss information activities using a large number of different terms. A concept that often appears in colloquial discussions of information activities but that has received less systematic attention in information science research is that of information work. A panel at the 2016 ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Copenhagen consisting of myself, John Budd, Annemaree Lloyd, Carole Palmer and Elaine Toms, all information science researchers who have explicitly used the notion of information work in their research or  conducted information work related research discussed how the concept can inform information science and technology research, and practice. 

In contrast to my expectations it seemed that the different takes on information work represented by the panelists were had many similarities. Instead of suggesting that information work would be a concept to replace other information activities related concepts like information practices or information behaviour, the panelists underlined the notion as a concept that binds together individual, related activities. Another central aspect of information work discussed by multiple panelists is its relation to the notion (or different notions) of work.

The published proceedings paper has references to the earlier work of the panelists, and the introductory slides to the panel discussion can be found below.

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