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Talking, looking, flying, searching: information seeking behaviour in Second Life

Talking, looking, flying, searching: information seeking behaviour in Second Life Purpose – This research seeks to answer, “How do everyday Second Life users go about finding needed information?” as the primary research question. Design/methodology/approach – A virtual ethnographic approach couched in grounded theory was utilized to conduct semi‐structured interviews with everyday users of Second Life, accompanied by participant observation. Findings – Information seeking behaviors within the virtual world of Second Life were found to be rich, complex interaction with multiple facets. Five themes emerged to illuminate how users seek information. Research limitations/implications – This research took place over a six‐week period, although most enthographies last at least one year. Conclusions were drawn solely from interviews because participant observation did not penetrate a given community with enough depth to adequately address the research question. Practical implications – Virtual worlds offer the promise of becoming an integrated part of the information seeking landscape for an increasing number of users. Understanding the factors influencing information seeking behavior that are outlined in this article will equip librarians and information professionals to best utilize virtual worlds and continue to create innovative, user‐focused services there. Originality/value – This article extends current scholarship by offering a practical, five‐factor approach to understand how people seek information in virtual worlds. The literature is robust in description about library services and the nature of information in virtual worlds. Yet, investigation into information seeking behavior in this environment is in its nascent stages. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Library Hi Tech Emerald Publishing

Talking, looking, flying, searching: information seeking behaviour in Second Life

Library Hi Tech , Volume 26 (4): 13 – Nov 21, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0737-8831
DOI
10.1108/07378830810920860
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This research seeks to answer, “How do everyday Second Life users go about finding needed information?” as the primary research question. Design/methodology/approach – A virtual ethnographic approach couched in grounded theory was utilized to conduct semi‐structured interviews with everyday users of Second Life, accompanied by participant observation. Findings – Information seeking behaviors within the virtual world of Second Life were found to be rich, complex interaction with multiple facets. Five themes emerged to illuminate how users seek information. Research limitations/implications – This research took place over a six‐week period, although most enthographies last at least one year. Conclusions were drawn solely from interviews because participant observation did not penetrate a given community with enough depth to adequately address the research question. Practical implications – Virtual worlds offer the promise of becoming an integrated part of the information seeking landscape for an increasing number of users. Understanding the factors influencing information seeking behavior that are outlined in this article will equip librarians and information professionals to best utilize virtual worlds and continue to create innovative, user‐focused services there. Originality/value – This article extends current scholarship by offering a practical, five‐factor approach to understand how people seek information in virtual worlds. The literature is robust in description about library services and the nature of information in virtual worlds. Yet, investigation into information seeking behavior in this environment is in its nascent stages.

Journal

Library Hi TechEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 21, 2008

Keywords: Communication technologies; Electronic media; Information retrieval; Behaviour

References