Concepts of Information Seeking and Their Presence in the Practical Library Literature. This essay is by Kelly Patricia Kingrey. It was published in Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring 2002).
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Searching for information, retrieving it, and using it lie at the heart of library studies and librarianship. Libraries function by and for the human act of information seeking. The where, why, when, and how of information seeking continues as the topic of debate and discussion on both the theoretical and practical level of a variety of social science disciplines. In fact, the fields of psychology and communication in particular offer perspectives and theories on information seeking that enhance and illuminate the study of information seeking in library and information science.
Such a multi-disciplinary effort creates the potential to draw connections across paradigms and to develop a more holistic understanding of information seeking. As theories of information seeking in the sister disciplines of library and information science, psychology, and communication are identified and compared, important ideas emerge – concepts and principles that inform libraries and librarians in their missions. Yet, one important consideration remains: are these theories, and their resulting implications, appearing in the practical journals read and used by public librarians in the field? The answer to this question lies, at least partly, in explicating these theories and in searching for them in the messages and discussions of the practical library journals.