Creating a Space for “Lowbrow” Information Behavior: From Dime Novels to Online Communities

  • Diana FloegelEmail author
  • Heather Moulaison-Sandy
  • Ariel Hammond
  • Sarah G. Wenzel
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12051)


Both information behavior and social informatics research concern themselves with the formation and evolution of digital communities and online environments. However, literature to date focuses heavily on formal, professionalized, and normative resources and contexts at the expense of other materials and environments, including those centered around “entertaining” content such as fiction. In this paper, we present a historical narrative centered on paperback fiction and its creation, then relate that narrative to other fiction formats and current online fiction collectives, such as fanfiction archives. We adopt the perspective that fiction—often denigrated as “lowbrow” material, especially within an information science scholarly canon—can and should be considered an information resource in order to broaden social informatics and information behavior work so that they move away from normative conceptions of information and its interactors. We conclude with promising theoretical and practical directions to continue this work in the future.


Information behavior Social informatics Cultural studies Mass-market formats 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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