Information and Embodiment
Looking for and gathering information is usually viewed as a primarily cognitive process. But information is absorbed and processed through the body as well. A fuller understanding of human interaction with information requires the integration of a sense of physical embodiment as well. The study of embodiment has infused anthropology, psychology, and biology in recent years. In the paper, portions of this research are brought to bear on the study of human information seeking and use. Topics addressed briefly in a targeted way include: Information and Survival, the Law of Requisite Variety, Information Literacy, Ecological Psychology, the New Unconscious, Grounded and Embodied Cognition, the Extended Phenotype, Niche Construction, and Cognitive Assemblages. In the talk, some of these topics will be used to exemplify the embodiment approach.
Marcia J. Bates is professor emerita in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Department of Information Studies. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she is a leading authority on information search, human-centered design of information systems, and information practices. She was editor-in-chief of the 7-volume Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, 3rd ed., and is the recipient of many awards for her research and leadership. In addition to her teaching and scholarship, she has been a technical consultant to numerous organizations in government, foundations, and businesses, including technology startups. A graduate of Pomona College (B.A.) and of this school (M.L.S. '67, Ph.D. '72), Bates also served in Thailand in the Peace Corps.