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Title: Impact of globalisation on information seeking : the role of cultural lenses and indigenous knowledge
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Title: Impact of globalisation on information seeking : the role of cultural lenses and indigenous knowledge
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Publisher: Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries,
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Table of Contents
    Cover
        Cover
    Abstract
        Abstract
    Main
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    Conclusion
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    Bibliography
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    ACURIL XXXVI: Information and human rights: The social, cultural, and ethical aspects of the information society, Aruba, 28 May - 3 June 2006
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X(Jn1limited

traducciones vertalingen tradukshon tradup5es traductions lbersetzungen


o Titulo: Impacto de la globalizaci6n en la bfsqueda de informaci6n: el papel de los
lentes culturales y el conocimiento aut6ctono
o Resumen:

La Internet ha crecido tanto como espacio social como mercaderia de informaci6n. La
misma ha tenido efectos significativos, y posiblemente ani ignorados, en la procura del
conocimiento desde una perspective acad6mica y piblica. Con una perspective cada vez
mis global, la forma c6mo entendemos los comportamientos de bfsqueda de informaci6n
es de vital importancia. A6n mas alli, la forma c6mo entendemos esti estructurada por
marcos implicitos de conocimiento que cambian debido al context social e hist6rico. De
acuerdo al desarrollo que experimenten nuestras nociones de evoluci6n del espacio, el
tiempo y la comunidad, lo haran tambidn nuestros concepts de conocimiento aut6ctono
o nationall"; y esto es particularmente cierto en el Caribe, donde cultures nacionales
construidas de una manera unica han reemplazado a las cultures prenacionales.

En vista de que la tecnologia de la comunicaci6n ha cambiado radicalmente el concept
de "naci6n" como "lugar" por uno de "naci6n" como "espacio", surgeon preguntas tales
como: iC6mo puede el hecho de entender los lentes culturales ayudarnos a repensar
construcciones que se ban dado por sentadas y contribuir a identificar nuevos problems
de significancia en la entrega de informaci6n y particularmente en el establecimiento de
cibercomunidades discretas, basadas en la cultural? iC6mo identifica un individuo (o
entidad political) los prejuicios en la informaci6n y luego puede adquirir informaci6n que
ofrezca el mas complete panorama sobre el t6pico en cuesti6n, la cual puede entonces ser
revisada e interpretada en el context del conocimiento aut6ctono? Para las bibliotecas y
los centros de informaci6n, iqud normas deberian adoptarse en la elaboraci6n de
metadatos tendentes a asegurar acceso a trav6s de lenguas y normas culturales? Esta
ponencia discute la cultural, lentes culturales y conocimiento aut6ctono en el desarrollo de
comportamientos de b4squeda de informaci6n y el disefio de sistemas de informaci6n
dentro de un context de lugar, naci6n y cultural en evoluci6n.

o Nombre: Ardis Hanson
o Titulo: Director de la biblioteca
o Afiliaci6n professional: University of South Florida
o Direcci6n para correspondencia:
The Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute

13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd
Tampa. Florida USA 33612
o Tel6fono: 1.813.974.6428. Fax: 1.813.974.7242
o Correo electr6nico: hanson@fmnhi.usf.edu




1


John g. Emanstraat 110, Oranjestadc, ru6a, WI. Phone: (297) 588-2842 Fax,: (297)588-4678
E-mail unlimitedtranslations@hotmailCcom










ACURIL XXXVI: Information and Human Rights: The-ocial, Cultural, and Ethical
Aspects of the Information Society, Aruba, 29 May 2006



Impact of globalisation on information seeking: the role of cultural lenses and indigenous
knowledge

Ardis Hanson & Susan Jane Heron



Overview

"If one should look at a map, there are clearly defined boundaries that separate the
various countries of the world, reinforcing a sense of territoriality, identity and
nationality." (Grant-Wisdom, 1995).



Previously, this quote would sum the notion of place. Today, however, globalisation requires
that geography is reconfigured, i.e., social space is no longer wholly mapped in terms of
-territorial places, distances, or borders (Aart Scholte, 2000). Globalisation also manifests itself in
local contexts, that is, social space is no longer wholly mapped in terms of territorial places or
territorial borders (Giddens, 1996). It tratisforms and transcends social, economic, cultural, and
demographic processes within national and local boundaries (Held, McGrew, Goldblatt, &
Perraton, 1999). Therefore, the impact of the internet as both social space and an information
commodity has significant, and possibly still unknown, effects on the on information society.

With an increasingly global perspective, how we understand information seeking behaviours
is of key importance. Further, how we understand is structured by underlying frameworks of
knowledge which shift by social and historical context. As our notions of evolution of space,
time, and community evolve so do our concepts of indigenous or "national" knowledge; this is
particularly true in the Caribbean, where uniquely constructed national cultures have replaced
pre-national cultures. Clearly, communication technology has radically changed the concept of
"nation" as "place" to one of "nation" as "space."










This paper will discuss culture, cultural lenses, and indigenous knowledge in the
development of information-seeking behaviours and information systems design within an
evolving context of place, nation, and culture.



Can understanding cultural lenses help us rethink knowledge constructs that have been taken
for granted?



"All cultures are involved in one another; none is single andpure, all are hybrid,
heterogenous, extraordinarily differentiated, and unmonolithic." (Said, 1993)



By 1952, of the over 300 cultures that were postulated to exist, 164 definitions of culture had
been defined (Kroeber & Kluckhohn, 1963). However, none of these definitions focused on
complex cultural identities. Globalisation, particularly viewed from the perspective of new
national identities established within the Caribbean, has created complex transnational identities.
It is suggested that pre-national culture was replaced by uniquely constructed national cultures:
"The nation is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most
of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the
image of their communion ..." (p.6) (Anderson, 1983).

A key issue in understanding cultural and national identities is "the tendency of every culture
to exhibit greater complexity, greater variation in the institutions of some of its aspects than
others. So striking is this tendency to develop certain phases of life, while others remain in the
background, so to speak, that in the shorthand of the disciplines that study human societies these
focal aspects are often used to characterize whole cultures" (Herskovits, 1948). Fifty years later,
another researcher stated: "We have never been as aware as we are now of how oddly hybrid
historical and cultural experiences are, of how they partake of many contradictory experiences
and domains, cross national boundaries..." (Said, 1993).

In 2001, the UNESCO General Conference adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural
Diversity. Articles 1 and 3 emphasise the importance of cultural diversity in development and
quality of life (Indigenous Peoples' Centre For Documentation, Research And Information,










2002). There are two points to remember during this presentation: first, "culture takes diverse
forms across time and space" (p. 14); second, culture is "the common heritage of humanity and
should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations" (p. 14).

If we incorporate these perspectives, then national culture becomes the "set of meanings"
owned by a given culture which sets it apart from other cultures across time and space
(geographical or virtual). It can seen be "a functional blueprint for group member's behavior,
social roles, and cognitive processes ... for making sense out of the world" as well as
communication {Altman Klein 2004 #41}. It is because of these complex transnational,
international identities, and local identities that librarians need to understand the use of multiple
cultural lenses to accurately review and perceive information (Hanson, 2003, July #14). What is
a cultural lens? According to Altman Klein, a cultural lens model explains why and how people
from different national groups "identify different problems, make different plans, negotiate and
coordinate differently, and make different decisions during complex cognitive tasks" {Altman
Klein 2004 #41}. The cultural dimensions (education, socialisation, society norms, etc.) create a
lens through which each member of a national group "sees" the world. This lens affects how an
individual filters and organizes incoming information, and creates sense of complex or new
information. It also affects how he or she plans and adapts. Most importantly, it affects how he or
she frames interactions and communication. Because members of a national group tend to share
the way they see the wokld, a common ground is provided during complex cognition in natural
settings. This changes when he or she interacts with members of another cultural group.



Can cultural lenses assist in identifying new problems in the delivery of information,
particularly with the establishment of discrete, culturally based cyber-communities?



"When you don't actually live in the country to which you profess to belong, then you
naturally begin to create an imagined homeland which is designed only to suit your own
needs rather than be true to the country which you left behind." (Ghose, 2001, December 28)



Clearly the internet has had an impact on traditional and emerging concepts of national
identity, the role of migration, and changes in the concept of diasporic identities. Just as printing










revolutionised the medieval world of local knowledge to global knowledge and allowed for the
development of national cultures (Anderson, 1983), the Internet has changed the concept of
"nation" as "place" to one of "nation" as "space."

Further, the ubiquitousness of online access has provided the impetus to relocate formerly
"grounded" diaspora communities into cyberspace, with the advent of online newspapers, chats,
and forums. This would also include social movements that have developed in parallel with
some public activity or policy within specific physical and/or cultural spaces, e.g., national
boundaries; social, economic, and political infrastructures; or common cultural traits. In many
respects, the internet can almost be couched in terms of the 'world brain,' that is: "an efficient
index to all human knowledge, ideas, and achievements...a complete planetary memory" (p.60)
(Wells, 1938). It has dramatically changed the ability of a local individual to access information
globally. This has grave implications for seeking and acquiring information. Millions of
individuals with varied backgrounds, knowledge, objectives, and cultures author web-based
information. Furthermore, the low cost and ease of creating poor-quality information on the Web
means that the poor-quality information may eventually swamp high-quality resources. It can be
difficult to preserve determine the authoritativeness, credibility, or reliability of the online
cultural identity.

Emerging political, social, economic, cultural, and educational infrastructures are creating a
new knowledge industry, where information is seen as a "raw" resource waiting to be processed.
These new "information spaces" have multi-directional flows of both domestic and international
goods and services (Cruise O'Brien & Helleiner, 1980). It has been suggested that the internet be
made "usable and useful" by enabling local control of information production and distribution to
"ensure the survival and continuing vitality of indigenous cultures" (p.1) (Gurstein, 2003)).
Other suggestions include opening up "space for ideas and put in place long-term
'invisible'/virtual structures for organic exchange of ideas that will give meaning to 'indigenous
knowledge and capacity building'" (Onyango, 1996).These cultural lenses impact information
seeking. If a cultural lens provides common values, beliefs, and reasoning "scripts" that group
members use to interpret and react to the information environment, then it is important to
remember that these lenses influence how people query and select information. The Cultural
Lens Model postulates a dynamic system in which the outcome of one action provides feedback
for future actions and a mechanism for long-term awareness.












How does an individual (or political entity) identify biases in information, then acquire
information that provides the most complete picture on that topic, which can that be reviewed
and interpreted in the context of indigenous knowledge?



"The conceptualization of national identity is partially formulated on the premise that
the elements which characterize a nation's identity are also the components which serve to
tie sub-cultures together within national boundaries"(Keillor & Hult, 1999)



Cultural lenses explain inherent bias in the search.for information. Bias, in this discussion, is
seen as a cultural lens. If one is an optimist, then one has a bias to see the cup as half-full. A
pessimist has a bias to seeing the cup as half-empty. Information is no longer seen as just a fact,
but the context for which the fact may be used that is fruly important. Information seekers must
now also address the perspectives of the information providers, i.e., the "cultural lenses" upon
which the content is filtered, to ensure the accuracy of interpretation of that information. There
are increased emphases on both information seekers and resources, which compound the
problem of information literacy and how to effectively manage the disparate forms of
information in multiple formats and multiple languages. As these newest online communities of
practice continue to evolve, what is the librarian's role related to collaboration, learning, and
knowledge sharing? And how can the librarian best understand the impact of globalisation on
knowledge creation and knowledge needs?

There will be over 200 million sites on the Web by 2003. A significant number of them will
be designed and developed for firms using the Web as a medium for international
communication and transactions. Indigenous national portals cater to the needs of distinct
national and cultural groups, thereby reflecting the characteristics of their cultures and countries
both in their appearance and the list of services they provide (Zahir, Dobing, & Hunter, 2002).
Different cultures and nations have a variety of characteristics which may make them unique, but
a catalog listing of these traits provides little usable information as there is likely to be only a few
"core" traits which the culture recognizes as setting it apart from others; that is its "national
identity" (Clark, 1990). The use of cultural markers (i.e., elements that are most prevalent, and










possibly preferred within a particular cultural group) may directly impact user performance,
hence the merging of culture and usability (Barber & Badre, 1998). Sites can be culturally deep
or shallow (A culturally deep web-site occurs in the native language of its country of origin and
links to other native-language sites; a culturally shallow site is one that occurs in a secondary
language and links to other secondary language sites).

With the rise of English as a global lingua franca, English is spoken or read by 1.7 billion
people across the world, including those individuals who have never set foot in a country where
English is the native language (BT, 2000). However, the new 'global' English uses phrases and
vocabulary that would appear foreign to native English speakers. Further, the average poor
person lives in a country where at least half of the population (including the poor) does not speak
the official or most popular language. In the great majority of cases, the languages that the poor
speak instead are not global languages, such as English, French or Spanish, but minority
languages. This diversity of languages creates challenges in the access of accurate and authentic
cultural information.



For libraries and information centers, which standards should be adopted in the development
of metadata to ensure access across languages and cultural norms?



"As more sophisticated means of tracking and measuring Internet site usage are
emerging every day, electronic information content providers are in a position of better
knowing who users are and what their information needs and habits are. Yet, this data isn't
enough to manage a site effectively. These tools cannot determine user expectations and
needs. They cannot reveal how electronic information is used." (Jevec, 1997)



Users have naive expectations about the quality and extent of information on the internet.
Digital information is affected by many intricate and often antithetical factors, such as technical
factors, political factors, and human resource factors. Digital information is also compounded by
the added factor of currency, i.e., the life span of digital information. Determining
authoritativeness, credibility or reliability of cyber information becomes more difficult.
Information from political and social movements, particularly of diasporic communities, must be










verified by-other sources known to be authoritative. Otherwise, librarians run the risk of
providing incomplete views of an information topic.

Globalisation is also transforming academia, with continued emphases on multidisciplinary
(multiple), inter-disciplinary (integrated), and post-disciplinary methods (new methodologies that
do not rely upon separate fields of study). Students now learn from trans-national textbooks in
trans-border franchises of coursework or through virtual universities that are trans-continental.

Traditionally, academicians and researchers have turned to librarians to assist in the
organisation and, ultimately, the retrieval of information. Since the beginning of time, libraries
have organized information and have created standards by which to best retrieve and find
information. Today libraries organize myriad online resources to assist selected user
communities, again based upon areas of study through the development of subject gateways or
portals. However, a critical issue remains how best to broker access to heterogeneous
information and learning resources. We believe that knowledge is best organised according to
some sort of data structure or framework.

In librarianship, there are standards for data frameworks. The first is the International
Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), a bibliographic format developed to easily translate
data across physical borders and machine environments. Endorsed by the International
Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the ISBD uses standard set of punctuation to
delineate the fields of a cataloging record, in any language or character set. ISBD transcends
international boundaries, allows records to be incorporated into catalogs of other countries, and
finally, allows records to be converted into machine-readable form with a minimum of effort.

A standard record format accepts data into pre-defined fields, is governed by a set of rules
defining what information goes where, and is extensible. There are standards for data entry and
configuration to allow for easy retrieval and precision and relevance in one's recall. The
importance of frameworks in knowledge organisation and management can best be explained by
the concept of 'cognitive miserliness', the tendency of the human mind to expend the least effort
in acquiring information. The term 'cognitive miser' describes an individual's interest in
conserving energy and reducing cognitive load, i.e., sifting through the mass of information that
bombards us everyday, ignoring anything unimportant to us, and retaining the information that is
important (Fiske & Taylor, 1991).










The use of metadata, MARC, or any other knowledge-organisational tool is based upon some
form of Cutter's principles of organisation. Cutter's Objects were to 1) enable a person to find a
book of which either the author, title, or subject is known; 2) show what the library has by a
given author, on a given subject, or in a given kind of literature; and 3) assist in the choice of a
book, as to its edition (bibliographically) or to its character (literary or topical). His Means, or
method of doing so, provides numerous access points, including author-entry with necessary
references; title-entry or title-reference; subject-entry, cross-references, and classed subject-table;
form-entry; edition and imprint, with notes when necessary (Cutter, 1904). His observations of
patron behaviour are echoed in a 1998 IFLA report on the functional requirements for the
bibliographic record (FRBR) (IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for
Bibliographic Records, 1998). Users still use data to find materials that match the user's stated
search criteria; use the data to identify specific materials; select which item they need (language,
etc.); and obtain access to that item via an on-line link, interlibrary loan, or check-out. (p. 9).

These principles are still the foundation of best cataloging practice, including the notion of
specificity, the consideration of the user as the principal basis for subject-heading decisions, the
practice of standardizing terminology, the use of cross-references to show preferred terms and
hierarchical relationships, and solving the problem of the order of elements. They organize the
information in such a way that allows the user to eliminate irrelevancies or false cognates and to
focus on specifics, thereby reducinQ cognitive overload.

The library approach -- to use experts to impose order on the available materials to facilitate
precise retrieval -- is the approach we should take in developing web-based resources.
Researchers do not want thousands of irrelevant items; they want an exhaustive list of relevant
material or a short list of only the most focused items. Consider that seventy percent of Web
users typically type in only one keyword or search term (Butler, 2000). Therefore, web users
seldom bother with more than one keyword, are unable to think of an appropriate second
keyword, or have not yet mastered the art of the Boolean operator. A quality search result is "not
a long list of hits, but the right list" (Bergman, 2001). Further, "effective searches should both
identify the relevant information desired and present it in order of potential relevance -- quality.
Sometimes what is most important is comprehensive discovery -- everything referring to a
commercial product, for instance. Other times the user requires the most authoritative answer, for
example, the complete description of a chemical compound. The searches may be the same for










the two sets of requirements, but the answers will have to be different" (Bergman, 2001). Again,
context of the information and how the user intends to use it becomes a critical component in the
information seeking interaction.

The area of most importance to the authors is the capability to use seamless languages by
the reference provider and the library patron (Ercegovac, 2001). Search languages will need to
ensure consistency, accuracy, precision, and negotiation power between the remote parties as
well as to accommodate whatever communication languages will be needed for disadvantaged
users. This becomes even more important as librarians and other information professionals
across national boundaries will be relying upon their library-based bibliographic systems as well
as commercial and general Internet reference tools to provide reference and research assistance
to their patrons.

For example, simply allowing the user to search through all of the words in a site, while
inexpensive and easy, is ultimately crude and inadequate for the goal of optimal retrieval. An
understanding of the context of the information should be built into a site, expressing its
relationship to the field of knowledge is essential, especially in a multicultural setting.

By creating these indexes based on the conceptual components of a resource, vendors and
developers are essentially creating taxonomies, which provides a "correlation of the different
functional languages used by the enterprise ... to support a mechanism for navigating, and
gaining access to, the intellectual enterprise ... by providing such tools as portal navigation aids,
authority for tagging documents and other information objects, support for search engines, and
knowledge maps ... and possibly ... a knowledge base in its own right" (Gilchrist, 2001). These
taxonomies are dependent upon authority control, that is, a controlled vocabulary that maps
across domains and languages to create functional crosswalks.

As our environment becomes more complex and more international, the need to handle
information in an appropriate, efficient, and verifiable manner has grown. One of the issues that
the all libraries grapple with is how to ensure that catalogers will guarantee the quality and
relevance of bibliographic access within the exploding world of online materials. If so, what
kind of bibliographic records will be required to meet the different uses and user needs? How
should these bibliographic data be organized and structured for intellectual and physical access
to the documents? How best to deal with multiple cultures and languages? We feel that workable










solutions can be found within the theoretical and applied aspects of cataloging and classification
within the library world.

Quality assurance issues, such as authenticity, provenance, permanency, reliability, and
validity, take on new meaning as librarians interact with remote patrons who expect a level of
integrity in the material they are receiving (Wells & Hanson, 2003). Display of complex
bibliographic information is increasingly vital as we look at fullness of records, related and
associational links, and contextually related materials.



Subject Access, Naming Conventions, and Keywords

"That is, they [researchers] seek to exploit what is already known, so as to create new
knowledge." (Smiraglia, 2002)



With the stated aim of creating an inventory of globalization resources available
electronically, there will be groupings of identified materials based upon some sort of subject
access. If the assumption is that the users of this database will be searching for works by a
particular author or group of authors, titles of works, and or subject areas, there will be a need to
establish naming conventions for these access points. There are a number of the studies across
the library science and information science literature that attest to the need for naming
conventions to enhance precision and relevance in one's retrieval when searching (Hjorland &
Albrechtsen, 1999; Svenonius, 2000; Taylor, 1988). In fact, the literature attests to user
frustration when trying to find a relevant something and then having to sift through hits that are
contextually irrelevant although their terms) might be somewhere in the record. Thesauri that
can create the hierarchical and bibliographical relationships among content and context of items
are critical. Catalogers attempt to create listings of various depths and degrees of detail to record
the existence of research materials. Researchers then search for answers to their questions and to
make the best possible use of recorded knowledge.

Some of the most important aspects of these databases are the enhancements added to the
base record, such as the extensive "keywords" added by database vendors. These are not truly
"keywords" as traditionally defined; they are part of a controlled vocabulary that is assigned by
an individual who reviews the context and content of each item and adds these words to enhance










precision and relevance in one's search. So many people assume that "keyword" searching
(which is really "natural language query") will retrieve all relevant or pertinent topics within a
database.

There are many reasons why this is a false assumption. First, my "keyword" may not be your
keyword. Second, if my "keyword" isn't in a relevant document, the document will not be
retrieved. Third, if the concept for which I am searching is in the database does not explode or
map terms to analogous (related) terms, my retrieval will be degraded. In actuality, few
databases map to online thesauri. In addition, most "home-grown" online databases use the
"keyword" as their base.

Language

If this to be a globally defined collection, what is the primary language for searching? If
English is assumed to be the primary language, then titles and subject areas will need to be
enhanced with translations, particularly for transliteration for non-Latinate languages. Further, if
this is to be a multi-lingual database, defining the search parameters becomes fairly critical.
There will also be a need to create variant or translated titles/abstracts, etc., for non-English
materials to provide access to those items and possibly a translation engine to create some sort of
translation of the item (if in HTML, Word, etc.) and vice-versa.

Differing formats and hardware/software necessary to view opntent would require notes to
inform the user that to view this data one would need X software/plug-in applicationss, Y
amount of space on their drive to install and run said plug-in, etc. An example would be plug-ins
to display kanji or other Asian syllabary or ArcView to visually display geographic or spatial
data.



User Behaviors

Developers of the back-end of the database will need to review anticipated user behaviors
for the database. For complex multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual databases, fields and limiting
factors need to be defined. These would include language, subject, format of data, software and
hardware needs to access that data, etc. In addition, how do people search? Librarians have
decades of experience with a wide variety of user populations searching for information.












Conclusion


The growth of complex national identities creates issues in retrieval of accurate, relevant, and
available information. The growth of the internet also creates problems in finding relevant, and
available information.

Clearly, national culture affects how we perceive the world, how we use technology and
technology tools, and how we view information. As librarians, it affects how we perceive the
world, how we use technology and technology tools, and how we view information.
Understanding cultural lenses enable librarians and their patrons to see the world through the
eyes of each other. It can facilitate effective interaction. It can facilitate information interactions,
also known as reference services or public services. It can assist us working more effectively
with researchers and practitioners. Cultural lenses can also assist in the preparation of
instructional material for classroom and distance learning. And, from a cataloguer/metadata
perspective, it assists in providing better, more relevant access through library catalogues.

One of us works in a mental health research facility, and both of us are intrigued by cognitive
and perceptual processes in information seeking, probably because we are both cataloguers. We
know the name of a thing isn't the thing, it is merely one of its attributes. It is critical to
understand and appreciate relevant similarities and differences among national cultures,
particularly those singular cultural elements which are important enough to give a culture its own
sense of distinctiveness. Such an approach can provide a deeper understanding of the culture, or
cultures, under study, and avoid the misinterpretations which are often the result of misinformed
stereotypes {Keillor & Hult 1999 #25}. It can provide a richness and depth to all aspects of
librarianship, from public service interactions to cataloguing and metadata.

In summary, multinational interactions work best when participants understand how each
other "see" the situation. This demands common ground and shared understanding a real
challenge for librarians in an increasingly multinational world. Librarians cannot ignore these
challenges facing us or the strengths that multinational interchanges provide. We need to work
together to build better tools to avoid barriers in service and in resources. ACURIL provides
opportunities to capitalise on what such interchanges can offer.










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' . 4







ACURIL XXXVI: Information and Human Rights: The Social, Cultural, and
Ethical Aspects of the Information Society, Aruba, 28 May -3 June 2006


Impact of globalisation on information


seeking: the role
and indigenoi


of cultural lenses
us knowledge


Ardis Hanson & Susan Jane Heronw
University of South Floridaj











"If one should look at a map, there are clearly
defined boundaries that separate the various
countries of the world- reinforcing a sense of
territoriality, identity and nationality."
(Grant-Wisdom, 1 995).







"All cultures are involved in one another; none is single and pure, all are
hybrid, heterogenous, extraordinarily differentiated, and unmonolithic."


Globalisation, particularly viewed from the perspective of
new national identities established within the Caribbean,
has created complex transnational identities.

National culture affects behavior, social roles,
communication, and cognitive processes ... for making
sense out of the world

It is because of these complex transnational,
international identities, and local identities that librarians
need to understand the use of multiple cultural lenses to
accurately review and perceive information.







Assumptions


o Intelligent and thoughtful people from different national groups
sometimes identify different problems, make different plans,
negotiate and coordinate differently, and make different decisions
during complex cognitive tasks.
o Cutting edge technology and procedures carefully and
competently developed in one nation, may be incompatible with
the equipment, procedures, and professional practices of other
nations.








Cultural Lens Model


"The Cultural Lens Model postulates a dynamic system in which the
outcome of one action provides feedback for future actions and a
mechanism for long-term awareness."

Altman Klein, H. (2004). Cognition in natural settings The cultural lens model. In M. Kaplan
(Ed.), Cultural ergonomics. Advances in human performance and cognitive engineering research,
Volume 4 (pp. 249-280). Elsevier Press Ltd.






"The conceptualization of national identity is partially formulated on the premise
that the elements which characterize a nation's identity are also the components
which serve to tie sub-cultures together within national boundaries"

o Inherent bias (cultural lens) in the search for information.
o Context of information is more than fact
o Information seekers must now also address the perspectives of the
information providers
o Accuracy of interpretation of information
o Information literacy
o Multiple formats and multiple languages
o Over 200 million sites on the Web
o Indigenous national portals cater to the needs of distinct national
and cultural groups appearance and services
o Cultural markers may directly impact user performance, merging
culture and usability

All are challenges in the access of accurate and
authentic cultural information






"As more sophisticated means of tracking and measuring Internet site usage are
emerging every day, ...these tools cannot determine user expectations and
needs. They cannot reveal how electronic information is used."


o Users have naive expectations about the quality and extent of
information on the internet
o Digital information is affected by technical factors, political factors,
and human resource factors.
o Digital information is also compounded by the added factor of
currency, i.e., the life span of digital information.
o Authoritativeness, credibility or reliability of cyber information
o Academia has continued emphases on multidisciplinary, inter-
disciplinary, and post-disciplinary methods.
o Students now learn from trans-national textbooks in trans-border
franchises of coursework or through virtual universities that are
trans-continental.






"Today's libraries organize myriad online resources to assist selected user
communities, again based upon areas of study through the development of
subject gateways or portals."


o However, a critical issue remains how best to broker access to
heterogeneous information and learning resources.
o Library standards and frameworks
o Cutter (1904) and FRBR (1 998) + "Cognitive miserliness"
notion of specificity,
the user as the principal basis for subject-heading decisions,
standardizing terminology,
cross-references to show preferred terms and hierarchical
relationships
order of data elements.
eliminate irrelevancies and false cognates
All reduce cognitive overload.






"Quality assurance issues, such as authenticity, provenance, permanency,
reliability, and validity, take on new meaning as librarians interact with remote
patrons who expect a level of integrity in the material they are receiving."


o Seventy percent of Web users typically type in only one keyword
or search term
o Effective searches should both identify the relevant information
desired and present it in order of potential relevance -- quality.
o Sometimes what is most important is comprehensive discovery.
Other times the user requires the most authoritative answer. The
searches may be the same for the two sets of requirements, but the
answers will have to be different.
o Search languages will need to ensure consistency, accuracy,
precision, and negotiation power







"That is, they [researchers] seek to exploit what is already known, so as to
create new knowledge."

o Subject Access, Naming Conventions, and Keywords
Thesauri create the hierarchical and bibliographical relationships
among content and context of items are critical.
Catalogers attempt to create listings of various depths and degrees
of detail to record the existence of research materials.
Researchers then search for answers to their questions and to make
the best possible use of recorded knowledge.
o Language
Translations and transliteration, Latinate and non-Latinate languages
Numeric and data based languages
Variant or translated titles/abstracts/subject headings
Plug-ins syllabary, geospatial data

And all these issues tie back into assisting user with
behaviors driven by cultural lenses







In closing

o National culture affects
how we perceive the world,
how we use technology and technology tools
how we view information.
o Understanding cultural lenses
enable librarians and their patrons to see the world through the
eyes of each other.
can facilitate effective interaction
facilitate information interactions
preparing instructional material -
Provides richer access through libraries' catalogues and resources




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