ASIST K-Blog Panel

Monday, October 11, 2004

Does this make sense: PKM blogging in support of the berry-picking process?

Feedback requested, please! I have a half-formulated (or should I say half-baked?) idea. I was trying to map the PKM blog posting process to Kulthau's information seeking process (fairly successfully in some cases) and came to the idea that perhaps for many bloggers, PKM blog posting (as in the act of formulating and posting a single post, not the comprehensive idea of the blog in its entirety) is better seen as a useful supporting technology for Bates' berry-picking process. I had to look this up again since my notes are at home so I'll assume it's worth reviewing here. The article is: Marcia J. Bates. "The design of browsing and berrypicking techniques for the on-line search interface." Online Review, v13 n5 (1989):407-431. Basically, she proposes that instead of the classical linear model which moves from need to resolution, it's more like berrypicking where users find a little something, reformulate their search, look again, find a little something... the information is scattered (like our current state of affairs) and the search is evolving.
the query is satisfied not by a single final retrieved set, but by a series of selection of individual references and bits of information at each stage of the ever-modifying search.
So my assumption is that a chemist, say, is always looking for information on chemistry, but individual searches vary with project, changing state of knowledge, collaboration with internal and external colleages so over time the chemist can post the various things she finds in categories and then see a path or an evolution of thought. -OR- maybe to prevent berrypicking -- If she is searching to solve a very specific problem and runs across something that requires more thought or could solve an unspecified future problem, PKM blogging allows her to note, follow that thought a little, and move on with minimal disruption and also little fear of losing the thought. You should be able to hit a bookmarklet on your browser when you're in a database and have it add the doi and citation to the post automatically for future retrieval... but that's another topic.


  • I /really like/ the analogy of a blog as a berry basket. I think it works really well. I think that's how a lot of people do their research, especially with long-term questions or issues people monitor. I will probably use this analogy in an upcoming talk (but not the ASIST panel, since I think you'll want to do it then) because I think it's a good way to get people to think about doing and saving research, it's easy to understand, and it's more catchy than me saying "You can store things on your blog."

    I didn't know/remember any of the theories about doing research, so I'm glad you spelled them out.

    By Blogger j, at 3:02 PM  

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