This website is devoted to research and discussion related to Social/community Information Seeking. Broadly, this includes information seeking, retrieval, and sharing in participatory online social sites, such as Yahoo! Answers, AnswerBag, and WikiAnswers. Highly related topics involve traditional and digital referencing services, information retrieval and extraction, and knowledge representation. Here is a physical representation of how Social Information Seeking exists in the broader realm of Information Behavior, Seeking and Retrieval:

The below image is how we conceptualize Social Information Seeking (SIS) in terms of elements that must be in place before a social information seeking behavior will occur as well as what elements might be in place to enhance the behavior. We also conceptualize SIS in terms of what element should come out of a SIS behavior as well as what elements might result.

Before a SIS behavior can occur a person must have an information need, a social tie and a channel of communication. They might also have a degree of trust in that social tie, knowledge of what the social tie knows, an evaluation of the cost/benefit of seeking information from this tie and other contributing elements. In order for a SIS behavior to be completely successful, the information need should be fulfilled with a piece of information that comes from the original social tie via the original channel of communication. If the information need is not fulfilled, the SIS behavior may still have effects on the person performing the behavior. For example, their trust in that social tie might change or the strength of the tie might change. If the information need is fulfilled, other possible outcomes might take place such as a collaboration between the asker and their social tie, an adjustment to or complete change of the information need, or a change in knowledge to name a few. More on this in a separate blog!