Normative Behavior and Information: The Social Aspects of Information Access

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Information Access, Information Science, Library Science, Information Behavior


Information access is central to library and information science, yet explorations of its conceptual nature have been limited. Given the importance of information access to the discipline, there is a need for research to create a better understanding of the concept and its many roles in all activities and behaviors related to information. Drawing on the theoretical work of Elfreda Chatman, this article proposes that the study of information access can be facilitated through the recognition and examination of the physical, intellectual, and social aspects of information access. These types of access are examined through three case studies in terms of different information behaviors and contexts, with a particular focus on the importance of social access. The article also discusses the future roles that considerations of social access can play in research and theory.