Genre containers: Building a theoretical framework for studying formats in information behavior
By Brittany Brannon, Amy G. Buhler, Tara Tobin Cataldo, Ixchel M. Faniel, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Joyce Kasman Valenza, Christopher Cyr
Prior studies have shown high-level differences in people's perception and use of various information formats. However, the lack of a coherent and theoretically informed framework of elements of format has inhibited a nuanced understanding of the role that formats play in information behavior. This paper draws on theories from the field of rhetoric and composition to ground the study of information format in a social constructivist perspective that foregrounds action in context. Specifically, rhetorical genre theory is discussed in detail and the limitations of previous information behavior studies using rhetorical genre theory are explored. One of the main problems of earlier studies is confusing genres and their containers.
This paper introduces and defines the concept of containers as typified ways of collecting and presenting texts of certain genres for publication. Building on rhetorical genre theory, the paper offers a theoretical exploration of the role that containers play in the formal and/or public sharing of information within discourse communities. An illustrative example of the concepts applied to data from a study funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services is provided.
The published Journal article is available from the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24600.
Suggested preprint citation:
Brannon, Brittany, Amy G. Buhler, Tara Tobin Cataldo, Ixchel M. Faniel, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Joyce Kasman Valenza, and Christopher Cyr. 2021. “Genre Containers: Building a Theoretical Framework for Studying Formats in Information Behavior.” Preprint. Published 26 October 2021. Updated 6 December 2021. Dublin OH: OCLC Research. https://doi.org/10.25333/bfd4-bk96.