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Dissertation Information for Pamela Effrein Sandstrom

NAME:
- Pamela Effrein Sandstrom

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Indiana University (USA) (1998)

ADVISORS:
- Judith Serebnick

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- George Whitbeck
- Stephen P. Harter
- Carol J. Greenhouse

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Information foraging among anthropologists in the invisible college of human behavioral ecology: An author co-citation analysis

Abstract: This study develops an optimal foraging model for understanding how scholars seek and use information in creating new knowledge. It assumes that scholars attempt to maximize benefits and cut costs in pursuing useful information, analogous to the way that human and animal foragers search for and process food resources in unpredictable environments. The study focuses on human behavioral ecology, an interdisciplinary specialty created by anthropologists, psychologists, biologists, and others. By following the empirical trace of co-cited authors, the study analyzes specialty intellectual structure (bibliographic topography) from the perspective of its anthropological contributors. The problem investigated is how bibliographic artifacts and invisible college identity are related to information foraging behavior.

From a purposive sample of five active contributors, I derived names of recently referenced authors and significant colleagues to create multidimensional scaling maps of areas of research concern. These renderings of the bibliographic topography reflect the consensual view of authors publishing in Social Sciences Citation Index source journals, but are based on the range of information sources actually selected by individual contributors. Cluster analysis classified co-cited authors into three center-periphery zones: contributor's own cluster, other core clusters, and omitted clusters. Results show that scholars, searching and handling mechanisms vary by zone, variations that are accounted for by the optimal foraging model.

Findings suggest that behaviors such as regular reading, browsing, or the deliberate information search (relatively solitary information-seeking activities) yielded resources belonging mostly to peripheral zones. Peripheral resources tended to be first-time references, previously unfamiliar to citing authors, and retrieved (handled) through temporary loan from colleagues or libraries. By contrast, resources belonging to core zones emerged from routine monitoring of key sources and such socially mediated activities as graduate training, colleague recommendation, review of prepublication drafts, and reprint exchange. Core resources had been referenced previously, retrieved from existing personal collections, and the authors were often collaborators or acquaintances. The center-periphery model illuminates how core-scatter bibliometric distributions describe the likelihood of encounter with given pairs of authors in a given bibliographic environment. A balance between the redundancy or novelty of resources relative to the overall scholarly resource mix is proposed as a measurable currency for scholarly information behavior.

Repeated co-citation of others' work is one mechanism whereby scholars create and maintain boundaries that facilitate the rejection of irrelevant information. Such boundaries constitute invisible colleges. A pair of maps of the specialty at large reveal boundaries to be both stable and permeable. Principal components analyses show boundary-spanning authors to integrate the bibliographic topography.

Biologists and anthropologists have developed powerful theories to describe and explain the decision-making processes of animal and human foragers as they exploit variable habitats. This study applies some of the methods and principles developed in behavioral ecology to investigate the communication practices of its own members. Findings from the study make theoretical and methodological contributions to the synthesis of bibliometrics and the study of information users.

MPACT Scores for Pamela Effrein Sandstrom

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:08:08

Advisors and Advisees Graph

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Students under Pamela Effrein Sandstrom

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None