Information Ecology - Emerging Framework for Digital Scholarship

Jela Steinerova


Concepts of information and information ecology are briefly reviewed with the emphasis on interconnections between social actors, information objects and information technologies. Results of a study of the academic information environment in Slovakia are reported. The main question of the study concentrates on possible benefits of the information ecology concept for new models of information activities. Information ecology is determined as harmony among social actors, information resources and systems and includes information objects re-use, value-added services, and visualizations of rich semantic and social contexts. Three methods of data acquisition were used, namely semi-structured interviews with information managers, a questionnaire survey of university repositories, and concept mapping of final theses. Data were analyzed and categorized in six categories: values, problems, community, tools, ecological elements, information literacy. Information strategies of universities should support collaboration and communication and conceptual infrastructure. Results confirmed importance of integrated approach, values, and tools (concept mapping) for learning and research. In conclusion an ecological model of digital library is presented (behavioral, semantic, and visual dimensions). Implications for digital scholarship are derived including ecological information strategies, and knowledge sharing. Benefits of ecological models of digital scholarship are interpreted as part of data-intensive science and science 2.0. New features of ecological digital libraries emerge from manipulations with scientific records, modeling of social networking, creative information strategies and roles of scholars. Ecological filtering based on conceptual modeling and digital objects management are sources for new digital scholarship framework.

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