The Impact of mobile tablet devices on human information behaviour


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    41 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – Mobile computing devices are a significant access point for information activities. Theories and models of human information behaviour have developed over several decades but have not considered the role of the user’s computing device in digital information interactions. The purpose of this paper is to explore the information behaviours of young adults when they are given unlimited access to mobile tablet devices. Design/methodology/approach – As information tasks, behaviours and communities shift into digital environments, a researcher of these phenomena is required to mirror that movement with techniques that allow a full exploration of human behaviour and interaction in the online world. Following Kozinets (2009), “netnography” (ethnography in online communities) is applied in this study and all data are collected online from within a community of iPad users, established for the research purpose. Findings – This study reveals that access to mobile tablet devices creates significant shifts in the behaviours of young adults whose lives are immersed in digital information. Mobile tablet devices establish the potential for constant access to digital information and that opportunity is grasped by the participants in this research. Extensive use of mobile device applications or “apps” establishes a more selected and restricted view of information than that encountered in the open and expansive World Wide Web. Originality/value – This paper invites extension to human information behaviour theories and models to include a consideration of computing access device and of new mobility and constancy of access – all of which changes the circumstances and behaviour of the information actor.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)622-639
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Documentation
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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