Every day, people from different professions and disciplines need to use information to make decisions, plan courses of action, discover patterns in big data, solve problems, analyze situations, make sense of phenomena, learn new concepts, make forecasts about future trends, and so on. People whose professions involve the frequent or continual performance of such activities include scientists, healthcare specialists, medical researchers, librarians, journalists, engineers, stock brokers, archeologists, educators, social scientists, and others—i.e., the so-called knowledge workers. As the amount and complexity of information is on the rise, it is becoming more important to understand how humans use and interact with information to support their everyday tasks and activities.
Although some research toward this end has been done in the past, it has often been in the context of specific domains (e.g., human–computer interaction, information visualization, information science, learning science), specific tasks (e.g., memory recall, sorting lists of items), and/or specific groups of people (e.g., students, doctors, analysts). Human–information interaction (HII) is the field of study that is concerned in general with how and why humans use, find, consume, work with, and interact with information in order to solve problems, make decisions, learn, plan, make sense, discover, and carry out numerous other tasks and activities. HII is a broad area of research, and researchers are interested in many different aspects of HII, including those related to information behavior, information search and retrieval, information foraging, sharing, and seeking; information design, architecture, representation, and visualization; personal information management; information spaces; medical, health, and bioinformatics; human–computer interaction; and information systems. Although the focus of HII research varies according to the dominant discipline in which researchers are situated, the common thread underlying all HII research is the investigation of relationships between humans and information, rather than those between humans and technology per se. Technology may be intimately involved in any given activity, but the focus of research is not on the technology itself. HII is inherently interdisciplinary and draws from research in information visualization, human–computer interaction, information science, cognitive and perceptual sciences, health and medical informatics, educational technologies, and information systems.
This Special Issue of the Informatics
journal welcomes submissions on the topic of human–information interaction (HII). We encourage authors to submit their original research articles, work in progress, surveys, reviews, and viewpoints in this field. Submission of applications, theories, models, and frameworks—whether conceptual, analytical, prescriptive, predictive, design-related, or otherwise—that are concerned with (but not limited to) the following topics as they relate to HII are invited:
Data and Information Visualization
Thinking and Reasoning
Interactive Cognition and Learning
Mental Models and Representations