Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Library & Information Science


Dr. Lynne (E. F.) McKechnie


Background: A considerable amount of effort has been spent studying information behaviours and practices associated with formal, professional contexts and documentary, tangible sources of information. Comparatively, relatively little is known about non–documentary and experience-based information found in informal, nonformal, blue collar and rural contexts. Experiences of everyday life are often neglected from a research standpoint because they are seen as common, familiar, and unremarkable. Research Question: By exploring familiar experiences of everyday life in one specific, marginalized context, my goals were to contribute to the body of interdisciplinary literature describing non–problem–based phenomena and non–documentary, experience-based sources of information; to extend our understanding of work, leisure and everyday life information practices in informal and non-professional contexts; and to elevate these less frequently studied experiences and information sources above the trivial theoretically. To address this gap, the present study asks, what is the nature of experience in the remote, rural village of Whitney, Ontario, Canada across the domains of work, leisure and maintenance activities? Method: I interviewed 24 adult residents of the village ranging in age from their early twenties to their late eighties using a semi–structured interview protocol. I also gathered data through several photo–methodologies including documentary photography, photo–voice, and photo–elicitation. Printed documentary evidence reflecting experiences in the village were obtained through environmental scanning. I analyzed data according to grounded theory from the perspective of everyday life information seeking theories, drawing support from serious leisure, lifelong learning, and experiential education theories where appropriate. Discussion: Reinforcing previous Information Behaviour theory, results show that informal information channels and interpersonal sources are frequently preferred over formal ones, and that contextual factors continue to influence information seeking and use across the domains of work, play and everyday life. More study is required to explain the characteristics and qualities that insulate small worlds like this from information poverty, as well as the effects of interruptions in the network of interpersonal sources relied on heavily in this context. This research also highlights how the social characteristics of information seeking and use add depth to discussions of leisure experiences. A working definition of experiential information is provided.

Keywords: Experiential Information, Everyday Life Information Seeking (ELIS), Informal Information Behaviours, Information Poverty, Information Seeking Behaviours, Information Seeking and Use (ISU), Rural Information Seeking, Tacit Knowledge, Leisure Experience, Everyday Life Experience

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