The language of information need: differentiating conscious and formalized information needs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Information need is a fundamental concept within Information Science. Robert Taylor's seminal contribution in 1968 was to propose a division of information needs into four levels: the visceral, conscious, formalized and compromised levels of information need. Taylor's contribution has provided much inspiration to Information Science research but this has largely remained at the discursive and conceptual level. In this paper, we present a novel empirical investigation of Taylor's information need classification. We analyse the linguistic differences between conscious and formalized needs using several hundred postings to four major Internet discussion groups. We show that descriptions of conscious needs are more emotional in tone, involve more sensory perception and contain different temporal dimensions than descriptions of formalized needs. We show that it is possible to differentiate levels of information need based on linguistic patterns and that the language used to express information needs can reflect an individual's understanding of their information problem. This has implications for the theory of information needs and practical implications for supporting moderators of online news groups in responding to information needs and for developing automated support for classifying information needs.
LanguageEnglish
Pages77-90
Number of pages14
JournalInformation Processing and Management
Volume56
Issue number1
Early online date3 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Information science
Linguistics
Moderators
language
Internet
level of information
information science
Information needs
Language
linguistics
moderator
group discussion
news

Keywords

  • information needs
  • internet forums
  • emotion
  • cognition
  • sensation

Cite this

@article{15ce3afe434c4457aed286274e77fb1d,
title = "The language of information need: differentiating conscious and formalized information needs",
abstract = "Information need is a fundamental concept within Information Science. Robert Taylor's seminal contribution in 1968 was to propose a division of information needs into four levels: the visceral, conscious, formalized and compromised levels of information need. Taylor's contribution has provided much inspiration to Information Science research but this has largely remained at the discursive and conceptual level. In this paper, we present a novel empirical investigation of Taylor's information need classification. We analyse the linguistic differences between conscious and formalized needs using several hundred postings to four major Internet discussion groups. We show that descriptions of conscious needs are more emotional in tone, involve more sensory perception and contain different temporal dimensions than descriptions of formalized needs. We show that it is possible to differentiate levels of information need based on linguistic patterns and that the language used to express information needs can reflect an individual's understanding of their information problem. This has implications for the theory of information needs and practical implications for supporting moderators of online news groups in responding to information needs and for developing automated support for classifying information needs.",
keywords = "information needs, internet forums, emotion, cognition, sensation",
author = "Ian Ruthven",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "31",
doi = "10.1016/j.ipm.2018.09.005",
language = "English",
volume = "56",
pages = "77--90",
journal = "Information Processing and Management",
issn = "0306-4573",
number = "1",

}

The language of information need : differentiating conscious and formalized information needs. / Ruthven, Ian.

In: Information Processing and Management, Vol. 56, No. 1, 31.01.2019, p. 77-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The language of information need

T2 - Information Processing and Management

AU - Ruthven, Ian

PY - 2019/1/31

Y1 - 2019/1/31

N2 - Information need is a fundamental concept within Information Science. Robert Taylor's seminal contribution in 1968 was to propose a division of information needs into four levels: the visceral, conscious, formalized and compromised levels of information need. Taylor's contribution has provided much inspiration to Information Science research but this has largely remained at the discursive and conceptual level. In this paper, we present a novel empirical investigation of Taylor's information need classification. We analyse the linguistic differences between conscious and formalized needs using several hundred postings to four major Internet discussion groups. We show that descriptions of conscious needs are more emotional in tone, involve more sensory perception and contain different temporal dimensions than descriptions of formalized needs. We show that it is possible to differentiate levels of information need based on linguistic patterns and that the language used to express information needs can reflect an individual's understanding of their information problem. This has implications for the theory of information needs and practical implications for supporting moderators of online news groups in responding to information needs and for developing automated support for classifying information needs.

AB - Information need is a fundamental concept within Information Science. Robert Taylor's seminal contribution in 1968 was to propose a division of information needs into four levels: the visceral, conscious, formalized and compromised levels of information need. Taylor's contribution has provided much inspiration to Information Science research but this has largely remained at the discursive and conceptual level. In this paper, we present a novel empirical investigation of Taylor's information need classification. We analyse the linguistic differences between conscious and formalized needs using several hundred postings to four major Internet discussion groups. We show that descriptions of conscious needs are more emotional in tone, involve more sensory perception and contain different temporal dimensions than descriptions of formalized needs. We show that it is possible to differentiate levels of information need based on linguistic patterns and that the language used to express information needs can reflect an individual's understanding of their information problem. This has implications for the theory of information needs and practical implications for supporting moderators of online news groups in responding to information needs and for developing automated support for classifying information needs.

KW - information needs

KW - internet forums

KW - emotion

KW - cognition

KW - sensation

UR - https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/information-processing-and-management

U2 - 10.1016/j.ipm.2018.09.005

DO - 10.1016/j.ipm.2018.09.005

M3 - Article

VL - 56

SP - 77

EP - 90

JO - Information Processing and Management

JF - Information Processing and Management

SN - 0306-4573

IS - 1

ER -