Dissertation Information for Michael C. Anderson
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Title: Analysis of an informal communication process with implications for information retrieval
Abstract: A significant problem encountered by scientists today is how to gain continuing exposure to new information in their field. The difficulty arises in part because of the complex nature of scientific communication. This process consists of two components: an informal channel of communication which has as its basis personal contacts with important colleagues, and a formal channel of information transfer through media, such as journals and monographs. Within his discipline, a scientist uses both channels to obtain information. Outside of the discipline, however, he must rely more heavily on the formal channel. Often the characteristics of formal communication present obstacles to the search for knowledge. Consequently, we must develop the most effective types of formal communication in order to overcome these obstacles and provide the researcher with the most adequate information. One way in which this may be accomplished is by using informal communication to describe the interaction between members of a scientific community.
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