I'm currently smack in the middle of watching Everything is Illuminated from a perspective based on Dervin's info-gaps, and since I'm drowning a little in IB theory, figured I could use a quick blog break before heading back to it.
Writing papers for this program, even though I've only completed one so far (not counting the midterm), is unlike any kind of writing I've done before in a really interesting way. I was an English Lit major in college with a smattering of History, Religion, and European Studies thrown in, so most of the papers I've written deal with relatively concrete ideas, concepts, and events. I took a grand total of one literary criticism class, which was both my least favorite lit class at Linfield and my only exposure to stand-alone literary theory. Studying information behavior theory independent from context, which is mostly what we've been doing this quarter, has been a definite learning experience for me. I'm much more used to applying theory to example situations or works, so figuring out how to discuss IB theory from a broader perspective has been challenging.
As things stand, I feel much more comfortable than I did a month ago with the multitude of IB theories out there. I'm really starting to be able to quickly identify the key elements of the work of certain theorists, and some of what I've read is absolutely fascinating. Favorites so far include Csikszentmihalyi's Flow Theory, Kuhlthau's Information Search Process (ISP), Salvolainen's Everyday Life Information Seeking (ELIS), Erdelez's Information Encountering, and Dervin's Sense-Making. We've done so much reading for this course that sometimes it feels like I can't stuff any more theory into my brain, but of what we've read, these theories and models have stuck more than most. I've decided to focus primarily on Dervin and Kuhthau for my IB paper, mostly because Dervin's discussion of the affective factors of information seeking fits in well with the emotional tone of the search in the film and because I think Kuhlthau's model thoroughly represents the typical information search by including those affective factors instead of glossing over them as some of the other models we've examined tend to do.
All that being said, I'm having a hard time not letting myself sink into a bit of a panic. The IB paper is due in a week, but even more dauntingly, our IB group presentation is due in two weeks, and although some good work has been done on it all so far, consolidating the vast amount of information and research we've gathered in into a coherent, focused thirty minute presentation is going to be a pretty enormous challenge. I think my strategy is to get the paper written as quickly as I can (ideally over the next two or three evenings) so that all my energy can be focused on putting the presentation together.
I seriously can't wait for the end of this quarter. For better or worse, shit will get done, but it'll be so nice to have a break.
On the plus side of things, I ordered myself a Droid 2 on Friday, so I should have a shiny new toy to play with come tomorrow evening. :)