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The information-related behaviour of emerging artists and designers Inspiration and guidance for new practitioners

Mason, H. & Robinson, L. (2011). The information-related behaviour of emerging artists and designers Inspiration and guidance for new practitioners. Journal of Documentation, 67(1), pp. 159-180. doi: 10.1108/00220411111105498


Purpose – This paper aims to report an empirical study of the information-related behaviour of emerging artists and designers. It also aims to add to understanding of the information behaviour of the group both as practising artists (a little understood category of information users), and also as “new practitioners”.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature analysis is used to guide creation of an online questionnaire, eliciting both qualitative and quantitative data. A total of 78 practising artists participated, all having graduated in the seven years prior to the survey.

Findings – The group have generally the same information practices as more established artists. They place reliance on internet and social networks, while also using traditional printed tools and libraries. Browsing is important, but not a predominant means of accessing information. Inspiration is found from a very diverse and idiosyncratic set of sources, often by serendipitous means. Their status as emergent practitioners means that their information behaviour is governed by cost factors, and by needs for career advice and interaction with peers.

Research limitations/implications – The study group are a convenience sample, all having access to the internet. No observation or interviews were carried out.

Practical implications – The results will provide guidance to academic and public librarians serving artist users, and to those providing career advice to them. It will also be valuable to those providing services to “new practitioners” in any field.

Originality/value – This is one of a very few papers reporting empirical studies of the information behaviour of artists, and has the largest sample size of any such study. It is one of a very few papers considering the information needs and behaviour of new practitioners.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Science & Technology, Technology, Computer Science, Information Systems, Information Science & Library Science, Computer Science, Arts, Visual media, Information retrieval, Individual behaviour, Internet, Social networks, SEEKING BEHAVIOR, VISUAL-ARTISTS, NEEDS, HUMANITIES, CREATIVITY, LIBRARY, HABITS
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
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