DR. JULIE HERSBERGER
is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Her teaching areas encompass organizational management and several specialty
areas involving information seeking in everyday contexts. These topics are
integrated into various research projects, which primarily focus on information
needs, information seeking and information
use by varied populations of homeless people.
For the past twelve years, Dr. Hersberger has been involved
in attempting to improve the daily lives of the homeless,
particularly in working to improve the information exchanges
between the homeless and social service providers. Resources to
aid the homeless are scarce and increasingly in demand and often
information needs and information seeking are tied to efforts to
access these important services and resources. Social network analysis
plays an important role in Dr. Hersberger's work as much of the information
seeking behaviors primarily are tied to interpersonal sources- both formal
and informal- rather than information media based. Social networks often
function also as information networks. The social/information networks of
many homeless persons are very small, often with fewer than seven contact
sources, which limits the everyday opportunity for social connections and
information sharing. Some of the homeless report that they purposefully limit
their social contacts in order to reduce their exposure to the deviant activities
of others. Past friends, family members or other associates may have encouraged
criminal behaviors (drug abuse, thefts, etc.) or have inflicted physical abuse
on the individual. By limiting their social interactions, they can somewhat
control their exposure to such undesirable environments. Others have used up
their existing social capital and social support with family and friends who
are no longer willing or able to provide temporary housing, money, food or other
resources. In other words, their safety nets have disintegrated
and they are cautious about rebuilding a new network.
Research publications by Dr. Hersberger in the area of Information Behavior in Everyday Contexts include:
Hersberger, J. A. (In Press). Are the economically poor information poor? Does the digital divide affect the homeless and access to information? Canadian Journal of
Information and Library Science
Hersberger, J. A. (In Press). A qualitative approach to examining information
transfer via social networks among homeless populations. The New Review of
Information Behavior Research:
Studies of Information Seeking in Context
Hersberger, J. A. (2001). Everyday information needs and information sources of
homeless parents. The New Review of Information Behavior
Research: Studies Information Seeking in Context, 2: 119-134.
Hersberger, J. A. (1999). The homeless, public libraries, and outreach services.
North Carolina Libraries, 57.1, 8-14.
She is currently working on a three-phase project examining the diffusion of HIV/AIDS
information among the various sub-populations of the homeless.
Dr. Hersberger received her doctorate in Information Science from Indiana University
in 1999. Prior to beginning her degree work, she was the Director of the Batesville
Memorial Public Library in Batesville, Indiana. She was hired as the library director
at the age of 23. In this position, she was first intrigued with observing the everyday
life information seeking of a wide range of individuals and this intellectual curiosity
has been frequently revisited in both her research and teaching. She received her Masters in Library Science from Indiana University in 1977
and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the same institution in 1976.
For further information about Dr. Hersberger, please visit:
Dr. Hersberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org