Collaboration, information seeking, and technology use: a critical examination of humanities scholars' research practices

Lisa M. Given, Rebekah Willson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a rise in collaborative research, resulting in complex collaborative information seeking (CIS), few studies have explored the CIS experiences of academics in the humanities. This research explores the CIS activities of digital humanities scholars within the broader context of their collaborative research practices. Data from qualitative semi-structured interviews and guided interactions with digital tools are analysed using the conceptual lens of "parallel work" to best understand scholars' engagement with CIS. The results demonstrate the complexities of research contexts and how CIS is shaped by individuals' research needs, technology use and general information behaviours. The findings demonstrate how digital tools enable and constrain collaborative information work, and show how availability, ease of use, and other peoples' activities often determine which tools and seeking practices are used in collaboration. Additionally, while scholars in the digital humanities work collaboratively, they continue to work as solo scholars, at times working quite independently within a collaborative project. Of particular note are results that show a lack of group-based information seeking practices within collaborative research practices. The model of Parallel Research Practice is proposed as a way to understand how digital humanities scholars engage in collaborative information activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCollaborative Information Seeking
Subtitle of host publicationBest Practices, New Domains and New Thoughts
EditorsPreben Hansen, Chirag Shah, Claus-Peter Klas
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9783319185415
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2015

Publication series

NameComputer Supported Cooperative Work
ISSN (Electronic)1431-1496


  • collaborative information use
  • research collaboration
  • parallel work
  • digital humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Collaboration, information seeking, and technology use: a critical examination of humanities scholars' research practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this