Social Information Behaviour in Bookshops: Implications for Digital Libraries

  • Sally Jo Cunningham
  • Nicholas Vanderschantz
  • Claire Timpany
  • Annika Hinze
  • George Buchanan
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8092)


We discuss here our observations of the interaction of bookshop customers with the books and with each other. Contrary to our initial expectations, customers do not necessarily engage in focused, joint information search, as observed in libraries, but rather the bookshop is treated as a social space similar to a cafe. Our results extend the known repertoire of collaborative behaviours, supporting further development of models of user tasks and goals. We compare our findings with previous work and discuss possible implications of our observations for the design of digital libraries as places of both information access and social interaction.


participant observation social space collaborative information behaviour book-based social networking 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Aabø, S., Audunson, R.: Use of library space and the library as place. Library & Information Science Research 34(2), 138–149 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baharin, H., Mühlberger, R.: Living with the sound of the past: experiencing sonic atomic interaction using the sound diary. In: Procs. 10th Intl. Conf. NZ Chapter of the ACM’s Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 101–104. ACM (2009)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barden, P., et al.: Telematic dinner party: Designing for togetherness through play and performance. In: Procs. Designing Interactive Systems, pp. 38–47. ACM press (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bohley, K.T.: “Browsing madness” and global sponsors of literacy: The politics and discourse of deterritorialized reading practices and space in Singapore. Journal of Audience and Reception Studies 8(2), 85–119 (2011)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bryant, J.E., Matthews, G., Walton, G.: Academic libraries and social learning space: A case study of Loughborough University Library, UK. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 41(1), 7–18 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Buchanan, G., McKay, D.: In the Bookshop: Examining Popular Search Strategies. In: Proceedings of ACM/IEEE JCDL 2011 Ottawa, Canada, pp. 269–278. ACM (2011)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cunningham, S.J.: Children in the physical collection: Implications for the digital library. Procs. American Society for Information Science and Technology 48(1), 1–10 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hinze, A., McKay, D., Vanderschantz, N., Timpany, C., Cunningham, S.J.: Book selection behavior in the physical library: implications for ebook collections. In: Procs. ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, pp. 305–314 (2012)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hertzum, M.: Collaborative Information Seeking: The Combined Activity of Information Seeking and Collaborative Grounding. Information Processing & Management 44(2), 957–962 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hyldegard, J.: Collaborative information behavior–exploring Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process model in a group-based educational setting. Information Processing & Management 42, 276–298 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    McKay, D., Hinze, A., Heese, R., Vanderschantz, N., Timpany, C., Cunningham, S.J.: An Exploration of ebook Selection Behavior in Academic Library Collections. In: Zaphiris, P., Buchanan, G., Rasmussen, E., Loizides, F. (eds.) TPDL 2012. LNCS, vol. 7489, pp. 13–24. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    McKay, D., Buchanan, G., Vanderschantz, N., Timpany, C., Cunningham, S.J., Hinze, A.: Judging a book by its cover: interface elements that affect reader selection of ebooks. tba, OzCHI (2012b)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mehta, V., Bosson, J.K.: Third places and the social life of streets. Environment and Behavior 42(6), 779–805 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Oldenburg, R.: The Great Good Place: Cafes. Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts, and How They Get You Through the Day (1989)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pearson, J., Owen, T., Thimbleby, H.T., Buchanan, G.: Co-reading: investigating collaborative group reading. In: Procs. JCDL 2012, pp. 325–334. ACM Press (2012)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Precop, P.: A qualitative study of collaborative information seeking. Journal of Documentation 58(5), 533–547 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Procter, R., Goldenberg, A., Davenport, E., McKinlay, A.: Genres in support of collaborative information retrieval in the virtual library. Interacting with Computers 10(2), 157–175 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Raffle, H., et al.: Family story play: reading with young children (and elmo) over a distance. In: Procs. ACM SIGCHI, pp. 1583–1592. ACM Press (2010)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Reddy, M., Spence, P.R.: Collaborative information seeking: a field study of a multidisciplinary patient care team. Info. Processing & Management 44(1), 242–255 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Shah, C.: Toward collaborative information seeking (CIS). In: JCDL Workshop on Collaborative Information Retrieval (2008),
  21. 21.
    Sonnonwald, D.H., Pierce, L.G.: Information behavior in dynamic group work contexts: Interwoven situational awareness, dense social networks and contested collaboration in command and control. Inf. Processing and Management 36, 461–479 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Timpany, C., Alqurashi, H., Hinze, A., Cunningham, S.J., Vanderschantz, N.: Shared browsing and book selection in an academic library. In: Workshop on Collaborative Information Seeking, San Antonio, TX (in press, 2013)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Trager, K.D.: Reading in the borderland: An ethnographic study of serious readers in a mega-bookshop café. The Communication Review 8(2), 185–236 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Twidale, M., Nichols, D.M., Paice, C.D.: Browsing is a Collaborative Activity. Information Processing and Management 33(6), 761–783 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Winget, M.: Social Reading and Its Implications for Preservation. Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture 42(1) (in press, 2013)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally Jo Cunningham
    • 1
  • Nicholas Vanderschantz
    • 1
  • Claire Timpany
    • 1
  • Annika Hinze
    • 1
  • George Buchanan
    • 2
  1. 1.University of WaikatoNew Zealand
  2. 2.City University LondonUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations