This paper takes a user-centric approach to the study of information, access and access to information. Access to information is a highly contextual process dependent on the entirety of a user’s experience. The focus of the paper is the geographical aspect of accessing. The paper is based on a larger study which took a multidimensional, interdisciplinary approach to the complex issue of access and information utilising a combined methodology (closed questionnaire surveys – quantitative; and in-depth interviews – qualitative). To further our understanding of these issues, access to information by newcomers and specifically immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) to Israel in the Nineties, was used as a case study.
Immigrants have a recognized need for information and on arrival in the receiving country need to learn new information accessing skills. Information is defined here as a tangible entity, one that can be bought, sold, transferred, altered, etc. Information sources were categorized as – informal; semi-formal; and formal – based on the level of skill needed to access them. This forms the framework for the research.
The study demonstrates that the immigrants are not a homogeneous group and their information accessing differs. The analysis shows that there was a differentiation in sources used to find, both housing and work. As for the focus of this paper, the dichotomy between the metropolis and the periphery can be clearly seen in the immigrants’ accessing. Also shown is the link between the existence of a strong social network use of informal sources and geography.
|Keywords:||User-Centric, Information, Access, Access to Information, Social Networks, Geographical Access, Combined Methodology|
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