Mental models of the organisation of scholarly information across the Academy: disciplinary similarities and differences

Hye Lim Joy Nam, University of Glasgow, in partnership with the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

AHRC-funded Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) CDA student, supervised by Professor Paul Gooding and Professor Lorna Hughes (Glasgow), and Dr Frankie Wilson (Oxford)

Google has had a profound impact on the way we look for information. Not only has this affected information-seeking behaviour; it has also transformed the way the library and information sector operates and the role it plays in facilitating research. Joy's project questions the assumption of the universality of information behaviour that search technologies have imposed upon us and attempts to trace the nuances and complexity in the ways that contemporary researchers seek, use, and share information, both on- and offline. Joy's study focuses on mental models (internal representations of how external things work and/or are organised) as a way of understanding researchers’ information-related behaviours and examines how disciplinary background plays a role in shaping said mental models. Through case studies based at the University of Oxford and the University of Glasgow, and using data collected via qualitative and ethnography-inspired methods with researchers in these two locations, this project will explore the role of mental models and disciplinary background in the landscape of research behaviour in academic libraries today.

Joy has a BA in German Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA), an MA in Transcultural Studies from the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Germany), and an MSc in Information Management and Preservation from the University of Glasgow (UK). Her dissertation for the MSc degree explored the use and accessibility of the GeoCities web archive. Joy previously worked in the archive and library of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, where she developed an interest in the theory and discourse that underpins practice in the library and information sector.

Image by Freepik