Back in 2015, I stumbled upon a research paper that would significantly change the trajectory of my career. Little did I know that this seemingly ordinary moment would have such a lasting impact on my approach to instruction. The paper, titled “Everyday Life Information Seeking: Approaching Information Seeking in the Context of ‘Way of Life‘” by Reijo Savolainen, would become the bedrock of my educational philosophy, especially when teaching first-year university students which produced the ELIS series for teaching information literacy.
This video does an excellent job identifying the core ideas of Savolainen’s 1995 work but also looks at the updated models in 2008 and 2021.
Everyday Life Information Seeking: Approaching Information Seeking in the Context of “Way of Life” (1995)
Savolainen’s initial work draws heavily on Pierre Bourdieu’s 1984 theory of habitus which describes “Way of Life” or “the order of things” and “Mastery of Life” or “keeping things in order”. At the time, this theory took information seeking behaviour in a new direction, changing the popular exploration of academics with a purely research focus to a more mainstream information need of the everyday person.
Since Savolainen’s cornerstone piece in 1995 the work has been updated in 2008 and 2021 respectively.
Everyday Information Practices (2008)
In 2008 Savolainen published Everyday Information Practices which updated the initial model to include a more versatile inclusion of everyday life needs known as perceived life-world. The newer model embraces an evolving information landscape that includes technological advances such as the internet.
Assessing the theoretical potential of an expanded model for everyday information practices (2021)
In 2021 the model evolves again, this time in collaboration with Leslie Thomson, a researcher with the School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The newest model further expands the everyday information practices model by incorporating Thomson’s recent 2018 study which includes not only information seeking, but also information creation and information sharing.
The evolution of Savolainen’s work around the everyday information needs of people has been truly inspirational to my work in the field of library and information sciences. It solidified the importance of information on the average person’s daily life.