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Journal Article

An Optimal Foraging Approach to Information Seeking and Use

Pamela Effrein Sandstrom
The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy
Vol. 64, No. 4 (Oct., 1994), pp. 414-449
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4308969
Page Count: 36
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An Optimal Foraging Approach to Information Seeking and Use
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Abstract

This article explores optimal foraging theory, derived from evolutionary ecology, for its potential to clarify and operationalize studies of scholarly communication. This approach assumes that scholars make strategic decisions in exploiting their information environments and that these decisions can be modeled mathematically. Specific parallels between the worlds of subsistence foragers and scholarly information seekers are drawn in the areas of prey choice and diet breadth, time allocation and patch choice, and group formation and settlement. Recommendations of hypotheses to test the models are offered, along with a discussion of the place of ethnographic and bibliometric techniques in modeling processes of scholarship.

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