Julie HersbergerDR. 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:
http://lis.uncg.edu/faculty/hersberger

Dr. Hersberger can be reached at jahersbe@uncg.edu

 

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