Skip to content

2016 Joint SIG-USE/SIG-SI Symposium

Information Behavior in Workplaces (SIG-USE)

This year’s SIG USE symposium focuses on information issues at work. It acknowledges social, individual and technological perspectives on the roles and flows that information takes as part of physical and digital work. The broad approach relates to the conference theme with a focus on information behavior (IB) or on information practices (IP) in connection to workplaces.

Earlier generations were accustomed to stable and localized work; now work activities and contexts have and are radically changing. During their work life, people may experience several career changes, are expected to learn new skills and adapt to new ideas as well as manage the increasingly fluid boundaries between work and leisure. Moreover, much of information and data are internetworked and accessible simultaneously by multiple mobile devices supporting networked communities anyplace, anywhere, anytime. This challenges both the creation and consumption of information used for work – or at work; it also affects how, when and where people work, as well as their productivity, collegiality and innovativeness.

Despite, or perhaps due to, the advances in technology, today’s workplaces remain challenged by how to create, discover, share, value and enhance information and knowledge at and for work; and, how to design and manage the systems that support these functions, which are so critical to organizationally effective and individually rewarding work. The issues are many, from the consequences of new devices that are stretching the ways that an organization works, to the efficacy dynamics (stress, motivation, collaboration, productivity, age, etc.) and to the new skills and expertise required to work in such changing and changeable environments. Information is indispensable in many, if not all, workplace activities; as a resource for getting work done as well as for learning, managing change, developing and maintaining processes and creating professional networks.

Specific issues to be addressed depend on the interest of the participants and the issues they bring into the workshop. Welcome topics include:

  • Critical cultural information behavior – how do we infuse our workplaces and practices with diversity and social justice sensibilities?
  • Collaborative IB; virtual team
  • Digital workplaces, peopleless offices & officeless people – what happens when the physical workplace dissolves?
  • Everyday Life Information (in the workplace)
  • Frameworks for understanding IB/IP in work settings
  • IB/IP and  workplace or information systems design
  • Organizational behaviour research – what can we learn from this field of research that is relevant to IB/IP?
  • Organizational information genres
  • Personal Information Management (in the workplace)
  • The blurring of lines between personal and professional in digital information use in the workplace
  • The impact of mobile devices on IB/IP in the workplace
  • Workplace culture, diversity and inclusion – how these shape and are shaped by information behaviour (IB)/information practices (IP)?
  • and any other work-related informational topics

We aim to an interactive workshop to enable the fullest exchange of ideas amongst attendees. For this reason, we encourage participants to submit; even if participation without a paper/poster is an eligible option. The workshop features a keynote by Professor Hazel Hall (preliminarily confirmed), presentation of selected papers, a joint poster session between the SIGs, and roundtable discussions based on short papers and posters by participants.

Documentation: short papers and posters are shared digitally among the participants. Roundtable discussions are documented by a designated person in each group and collated by symposium chairs to a short summary that is made available for the participants afterwards.

SIG-USE symposium chairs

  • David Allen, Leeds University, UK
  • Katriina Byström, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway
  • Nicole A. Cooke, The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA
  • Luanne Freund, University of British Columbia, Canada


Getting-Started featuring the SIGUSE posters: 12.45-13.45

  • 13.45-14.45  USE – opening keynote
    • Hazel Hall, University of Napier, UK – Watching the workers: researching information behaviours in, and for, workplace environments
  • 14.45-15.45  Short Paper Session
    • Diane Pennington, University of Strathclyde, UK – Supporting Workplace Information Needs of People with Dementia
    • Morten Hertzum, University of Copenhagen, Denmark – Information Behavior and Workplace Procedures: the case of emergency-department Triage
      Helena Vallo Hult, University West, Sweden – The Emergence of Sharing and Gaining Knowledge: Towards Digital Collaboration in Everyday Work
  • 15.45-16.00  Break
  • 16.00-17.30  Roundtable discussions based on papers & posters, including summary in plenum:
  • 17.30-17.45  SIG USE Awards session
    • 2014 Award Winner Diane Sonnenwald, University College Dublin, Ireland – Visioning a New Future for Rare Historic Books and Manuscripts
    • 2015 Award Winner Debbie Rabina, Pratt University, USA – Information needs of people in prisons and jails: A discourse analytic approach
    • Presentation of 2016 Award Winners
  • 17.45-18.00  USE – closing remarks

SIG USE posters:

  • David Allen, A. Norman, Carly Lightowlers, Fiona McLaughlin & Nicolas Malleson, Leeds University, UK – Collaboration,  Information Behaviour, Information Systems and Activity Theory:  Building a Data Clearing House
  • Katriina Byström, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway – Work in progress: The notion of peopleless offices or digital work
  • Emma Forsgren, Leeds University, UK – Finding a Place for Social Media at Work
  • Isto Huvila, Uppsala University, Sweden – Informational Metagames and their Implications in Workplace
  • Anna Sigridur Islind, Livia Norström & Helena Vallo Hult, University West, Sweden – From Digital Fight to Digital Pride in Public Sector
  • Aleksandra Irnazarow, Leeds University, UK – Application of Activity Theory to study information behaviour and decision making in development of complex engineering systems
  • Wade Kelly, Charles Sturt University, Australia – Information Behaviour of Community-Engaged Scholars in Academia
  • Anita Nordsteien, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway – Workplace learning: transition of nursing practices
  • Natalie Pang* & Stan Karanasios**, Nanyang Technological University*, Singapore; RMIT University**, Australia – Helping the left behind: Understanding information practices and ICT use of the elderly from the eyes of first responders during crises
  • Sarah Polkinghorne & Thane Chambers, Charles Sturt University, Australia – Embodied information in workplace contexts
  • Diane H Sonnenwald, University College Dublin, Ireland – A darker side of human information behavior in the workplace: a call for research on workplace bullying information behavior
  • Ella Schwab, Ben Heuwing, Christa Womser-Hacker & Thomas Mandl, University of Hildesheim, Germany – Challenges of Digital Workplaces in practice: A Focus Group with middle mangers
  • Eric Thivant, University of Lyon, France: Diversity of Information Workplace: the cross-cultural question in Information Behaviour The case study of French ITES rural firms
  • Åse Kristine Tveit, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway – The impact of digital information and online discussion fora on translators’ work
  • Gunilla Widén*, Jannica Heinström*, Thomas Mandl** & Christa Womser-Hacker**, Åbo Akademi University*, Finland; University of Hildesheim**, Germany – Exploring intergenerational information practices and knowledge sharing
  • Barbara Wildemuth, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA – Social Dimensions of Information Practices in an Academic Workplace


  • Members – SIG-SI session: $100 – $120 after Sept. 2, 2016
  • Members – SIG-USE session: $100 – $120 after Sept. 2, 2016
  • Members – attending both SIG-SI and SIG-SI sessions: $180 – $200 after Sept. 2, 2016
  • Non-members – SIG-SI Session: $120 – $140, after Sept. 2, 2016
  • Non-members – SIG-USE Session: $120 – $140, after Sept. 2, 2016
  • Non-members – attending both SIG-SI and SIG-SI sessions: $230 – $250 after Sept. 2, 2016