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Tuomas Harviainen: Information Practices in Practice

Published on 8.6.2023
Tampere University
Henkilökuva Tuomas Harviaisesta
Tuomas Harviainen is a Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media in a Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences. He specializes in the study of information practices.

According to Harviainen, the study of practices ties to issues of sociology, philosophy, communication, strategy and the ways in which we perceive communities as being structured.  

Harviainen says, that some information practices are formalized, as in the case of organizational information sharing or preparing an agenda for a meeting. Others are less official, yet equally established. These practices are tied to the information needs that spark them. Some needs lead us to seeking, searching and eventually retrieving information from storage systems. 

“When sharing information, we in turn often make careful assessments about what we share. For instance, can we talk about a film or a game without sharing spoilers of its contents, or will we do more harm by telling of a friend’s spouse’s infidelity than by keeping that information a secret? These are the kinds of issues information practices research considers.” 

Harviainen has been explored issues related to particularly information sharing. Lately, his work has focused on the Finnish game industry and online trading of illegal narcotics in Dark Web. He says that both topics are from his perspective about the role information sharing and information withholding play in establishing, maintaining and sometimes also losing trust. 

“Information practices is a very flexible and versatile discipline and the digital shifts in societies keep it increasingly relevant. You will meet its practitioners and professionals in many places – libraries and archives, but also, more and more often, in various types of businesses and public organizations. And the practices it studies are ever-present in your everyday lives and activities.”

Tuomas Harviainen's contact information