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JASIS&T Special Issue on Information Behaviour & Information Practices Theory: Call for Papers

There are several challenges to the development and application of theory in the field(s) of information behaviour and information practices. While there is a long and rich tradition of creating models and frameworks in information behaviour (e.g., Case & Given, 2016a; Ellis, 1993; Godbold, 2006; McKenzie, 2003; Wilson, 1999), this has not been the case with the development of theories. This is not to say that that theoretical work has not happened, as evidenced by work such as Chatman (1999), Dervin (1998), Savolainen (2008), as well as the collection of theories published in the book Theories of Information Behavior (Fisher, Erdelez, & McKechnie, 2005). However, criticism remains that there is a lack of cohesive theory and/or that theory borrowed from other fields may be treated in shallow ways. Deficiency in theoretical development has contributed to a lack of shared definition and boundaries of the field, evident in the split between information behaviour and information practices research (e.g. Savolainen & Wilson, 2009).
As a relatively young field – originating in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Ellis, 2011) – an important step in the evolution of information behaviour and information practices is the continued development of its own theory, as well as the systematic incorporation of relevant theories from related fields. This special issue proposes to continue and extend the work began in Theories of Information Behavior (Fisher et al., 2005), a book composed of the contributions from the participants of the 2003 ASIS&T SIG-USE Symposium.
Relating to information behaviour and information practices, this special issue is particularly interested in:
• theoretical explorations of the field of information behaviour and information practices;
• expansion and evolution of information behaviour and information practices theories;
• examination of the current use of information behaviour and information practices theories;
• development of new theories that advance information behaviour and information practices;
• examination of models and their relation to information behaviour and information practices theory; and
• systematic approaches to incorporating well-established theories from other fields.
This issue seeks relevant and rigorous submissions in the above areas. Submissions that offer a descriptive analysis only – and not a contribution to theory – will not be considered for review. Submissions will be evaluated using the criteria set out in JASIS&T.
Paper Development at the 2020 SIG-USE Symposium
The 2020 SIG-USE Symposium will take place on October 24th at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology in Pittsburgh, USA. The 2020 Symposium theme is “Grand Challenges in Information Behaviour Research – Theory” and will provide Symposium presenters who choose to submit full papers with an opportunity to present papers-in-development for discussion and to get feedback. In this way, the SIG-USE Symposium is coordinated with the special issue of JASIS&T and will help to ensure a sufficient number of papers are submitted. (Participation in the Symposium is optional for those wishing to submit to the special issue.)
In addition to discussion and feedback, a mini-workshop (of approximately half an hour) will also take place at the Symposium, where the special issue editors can discuss the special issue and the process of submitting work. A more formal paper development opportunity will be set up the day after the Symposium, before the official start of the Annual Meeting. Authors who wish for more mentorship and development will be paired with mentors (guest editors and editorial team members) to discuss their papers. While these opportunities will be available for those attending the Symposium and the Annual Meeting, authors unable to attend will not be disadvantaged as all submission will go through the same full JASIS&T peer review process.
Submission Guidelines
Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the JASIST Submission Guidelines ( The complete manuscript should be submitted through JASIST’s Submission System ( To ensure that your submission is routed properly, please select “Yes” in response to “Is this submission for a special issue?” and specify “Information Behaviour & Information Practices Theory” when prompted. Manuscripts of up to 10,000 words are accepted for this SI.
Submission Deadline
Paper submission due date: February 15, 2021
Note: please do not submit until after February 1, 2021 – the manuscripts will not be reviewed until after the submission deadline passes
Guest Editors
Rebekah Willson, McGill University (
David Allen, University of Leeds (
Heidi Julien, University at Buffalo (
Gary Burnett, Florida State University (
Special Issue Reviewers
Denise Agosto
Dania Bilal
Katrina Bystrom
Donald Case
Nicole Dalmer
Sanda Erdelez
Lisa M. Given
Tim Gorichanaz
Devon Greyson
Jenna Hartel
Isto Huvila
Lynne McKechnie
Michael Olsson
Sarah Polkinghorne
Reijo Savolainen
Sue Yeon Syn
Ross Todd
Yan Zhang
Case, D. O., & Given, L. M. (2016a). Metatheories, theories, and paradigms. In Looking for information: A survey of research on information seeking, needs, and behavior (4th ed.) (pp. 177-216). Bingley: Emerald.
Case, D. O., & Given, L. M. (2016b). Models of information behavior. In Looking for information: A survey of research on information seeking, needs, and behavior (4th ed.) (pp. 141-176). Bingley: Emerald.
Chatman, E. A. (1999). A theory of life in the round. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50(3), 207–217.<207::AID-ASI3>3.3.CO;2-#
Chatman, E. A. (1996). The impoverished life-world of outsiders. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 47(3), 193–206.
Dervin, B. (1998). Sense‐making theory and practice: An overview of user interests in knowledge seeking and use. Journal of Knowledge Management, 2(2), 36–46.
Ellis, D. (2011). The emergence of conceptual modelling in information behaviour research. In A. Spink & J. Heinström (Eds.), New Directions in Information Behaviour (pp. 17–35). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Ellis, D. (1993). Modelling the information-seeking patterns of academic researchers: A grounded theory approach. The Library Quarterly, 63(4), 469–486.
Fisher, K. E., Erdelez, S., & McKechnie, L. (2005). Theories of information behavior. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.
Godbold, N. (2006). Beyond information seeking: Towards a general model of information behaviour. Information Research, 11(4).
McKenzie, P. J. (2003). A model of information practices in accounts of everyday-life information seeking. Journal of Documentation, 59(1), 19–40.
Savolainen, R. (2008). Everyday information practices: A social phenomenological perspective. Scarecrow Press.
Savolainen, R. & Wilson, T. (2009). The behaviour/practice debate: a discussion prompted by Tom Wilson’s review of Reijo Savolainen’s Everyday information practices: a social phenomenological perspective. Information Research, 14(2). Retrieved from
Wilson, T. D. (1999). Models in information behaviour research. Journal of Documentation, 55(3), 249–270.