CREATING A SPACE FOR “LOWBROW” INFORMATION BEHAVIOR: FROM DIME NOVELS TO ONLINE COMMUNITIES
Information behaviors outside of academia and the workplace are less studies than they ought to be, particularly in areas where the publishing apparatus is not of high renown.
This conference paper traces the history of "lowbrow" publications, and reassesses their significant merit in distributing ideas that are outside of the norm.
ABSTRACT: "Both information behavior and social informatics research concern themselves with the formation and evolution of digital communities and online environments. However, literature to date focuses heavily on formal, professionalized, and normative resources and contexts at the expense of other materials and environments, including those centered around “entertaining” content such as fiction. In this paper, we present a historical narrative centered on paperback fiction and its creation, then relate that narrative to other fiction formats and current online fiction collectives, such as fanfiction archives. We adopt the perspective that fiction—often denigrated as “lowbrow” material, especially within an information science scholarly canon—can and should be considered an information resource in order to broaden social informatics and information behavior work so that they move away from normative conceptions of information and its interactors. We conclude with promising theoretical and practical directions to continue this work in the future."