Title

Information seeking and use in the context of minimalist lifestyles

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Journal

Journal of Documentation

Volume

72

Issue

6

First Page

1228

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JD-03-2016-0035

Last Page

1250

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe information seeking and use (ISU) within the context of minimalist lifestyles and connect characteristics of living with less to theories of information poverty and resilience.

Design/methodology/approach

Naturalistic methods of inquiry describe minimalist lifestyles in a remote, rural context through semi-structured interviews with 24 adults. Environmental scanning and visual methods extended data collection retrospectively and longitudinally to span almost 118 years of community history. Qualitative thematic coding and analysis proceeded inductively and reflexively.

Findings

Living minimally in this environment results in adaptive strategies that compensate for lack of resources in general, and information resources specifically. Positive psycho-social attitudes such as optimism, creativity, curiosity, resourcefulness, and self-sufficiency continue to be important factors in developing resilience in information seeking practices.

Research limitations/implications

Information poverty is usually defined relatively, and often in relation to formal, macro-level environments. Focussing attention on informal, local level ISU reveals alternate varieties of knowledge, ways of knowing and characteristics that create information resilience in the face of sometimes profound deficits.

Practical implications

Highlights of positive aspects to ISU in this remote, rural context will be of interest to researchers and practitioners serving rural library systems.

Originality/value

This study provides an historical and contemporary glimpse into the ISU patterns of a previously unexamined population and context, those who live minimalist lifestyles in a remote and rural location.