A model for understanding collaborative information behavior in context: A study of two healthcare teams

Madhu C. Reddy*, Bernard J. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Collaborative information behavior is an essential aspect of organizational work; however, we have very limited understanding of this behavior. Most models of information behavior focus on the individual seeker of information. In this paper, we report the results from two empirical studies that investigate aspects of collaborative information behavior in organizational settings. From these studies, we found that collaborative information behavior differs from individual information behavior with respect to how individuals interact with each other, the complexity of the information need, and the role of information technology. There are specific triggers for transitioning from individual to collaborative information behavior, including lack of domain expertise. The information retrieval technologies used affect collaborative information behavior by acting as important supporting mechanisms. From these results and prior work, we develop a model of collaborative information behavior along the axes of participant behavior, situational elements, and contextual triggers. We also present characteristics of collaborative information system including search, chat, and sharing. We discuss implications for the design of collaborative information retrieval systems and directions for future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-273
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Processing and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Collaborative information behavior
  • Collaborative information behavior model
  • Healthcare information behavior
  • Healthcare teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Library and Information Sciences


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