Everyday life information seeking behaviour in relation to the environment: disposable information?

Janet Mawby, Allen Foster, David Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)
323 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – This paper describes one of the preliminary results from interviews conducted as part of a larger study entitled Examining the Role of Peer and Family Influences on Information Seeking Behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach – The principal method of data collection was 38 semi-structured critical incident interviews, based on an interview guide and a short questionnaire to collect factual data. Some social network analysis of interviewees’ information sources is considered. Both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis were used to code the interview transcripts. A naturalistic approach to everyday information seeking is taken.

Findings – One of the preliminary findings of this research is that the notion of a new type of information has emerged – disposable information. A new type of information seeking behaviour is also suggested here for disposable Information – disposable information seeking. Disposable information is task-specific and likely to only be required by an individual on a one-off basis, causing different everyday life Information seeking (ELIS) patterns to emerge. Ultimately, people are only prepared to expend effort to get quality information if they perceive a value or further, continued use for that information.

Research limitations/implications – Because of the research location and participant population, the results may lack transferability. Further research into this area is advised.

Practical implications – The paper has implications about how people may search for and use information in certain situations where information is perceived as relevant to a particular task but unlikely to be needed in the future.

Originality/value – This paper introduces the new concept of disposable information and disposable information seeking behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-479
JournalLibrary Review
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • disposable information
  • information seeking behaviour
  • information behaviour
  • principle of least effort


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