Information access: Toward a more robust conceptualization



Information access is implicated in multiple research areas in library and information science (LIS). This paper argues that information access should receive more explicit attention from researchers. First, the two predominant conceptualizations of information access are examined and synthesized, noting the particular strengths and weaknesses of each. Next, the paper illustrates the centrality of information access by examining several LIS research areas; this explication demonstrates that information access is an important, though often implicit, concern of LIS researchers. Information access is studied across several research areas, but these typically remain isolated and unconnected. By integrating multiple analytical approaches to information access, this paper improves upon the current understanding of information access. The brief examination of information access suggests that a more refined framework, incorporating additional dimensions, would be fruitful, both to promote research into information access and to better integrate disparate research streams. This paper has three goals: to draw attention to the centrality of information access across LIS, to incorporate multiple research streams' perspectives on information access, and to suggest further refinements to the study of information access.