Towards positive information science?



This panel offers a refreshing counterpoint to the predominantly problem-oriented perspective of theory and research in information science. Drawing inspiration from the fields of positive psychology and sociology, we explore the idea of a positive information science. This line of inquiry focuses on the positive qualities of information systems and the positive characteristics and habits of information users, as well as on the positive contexts of or factors in information phenomena. Insights into positive information phenomena provide a benchmark and target for improving information environments. The positive perspective also reflects a new generation of information-users who harbor an upbeat sensibility concerning the tools and practices of the Information Age. The panel makes its case by

  • 1offering an interdisciplinary comparison to positive social sciences,
  • 2reporting results from two positively-oriented investigations of information use in gourmet cooking and spirituality, and
  • 3viewing the idea in the context of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science (Bates & Maack, forthcoming), an important benchmark and rubric of the field.

To encourage a dynamic session, panelists and audience will see a list of positive features compiled and displayed in real time, serving as a basis for lively discussion.