Collaborative Information Behavior in Completely Online Groups

Collaborative Information Behavior in Completely Online Groups

Sean Goggins (Drexel University, USA) and Sanda Erdelez (University of Missouri, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-797-8.ch007
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This chapter situates collaborative information behavior in completely online groups as a phenomenon distinct from prior work understanding collaborative information behavior in face-to-face groups, free and open source software groups and Wikipedia groups. The unexpected diversity of information resources utilized by completely online group members is analyzed through Sonnenwald’s Information Horizons theory. Information practices of completely online group members are described, and the key themes of groups as information resources, the influence of tool change on collaborative information behavior online, and the focusing potential of collaborative information tools for completely online group work are explicated. Future research directions that explore the potential of COGs for distributed innovation; new types of collaborative information behavior and breaking down the digital divide are reviewed.
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Patterns of collaborative information behavior emerge as COGs perform tasks, maintain social relations and coordinate member responsibilities. Similar technology-mediated collaborative information behavior has been explored through the free and open source software (FOSS) movement, Wikipedia and through ethnographically informed work studies of technology use in mixed mode (face-to-face and technology-mediated) groups.

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