Access and Use of Information by 'Newcomers': The Case of the Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union to Israel in the 90s

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The study takes a user-centric approach to the study of information, access and access to information. This study views access to information as a highly contextual process dependent on the entirety of a user's experience and therefore takes a holistic approach – social, their demographic and socio-economic characteristics; spatial, their location in relation to the available sources of information; and temporal, looking at changes over time. The study adopts a multidimensional, interdisciplinary approach to the complex issue of access and information utilizing a combined methodology, two closed questionnaire surveys (1997; 2000) – quantitative analysis, and a series of 18 in-depth interviews – qualitative. To further our understanding of these issues the study looks at newcomers, immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) to Israel in the Nineties.
Immigrants have a recognized need for information and on arrival in the receiving country need to learn new information accessing skills. Information is defined here as a tangible entity, one that can be bought, sold, transferred, altered, etc. Information sources were categorized as – informal; semi-formal; and formal – based on the level of skill needed to access them. This forms the framework for the research.
The study demonstrates that the immigrants are not a homogeneous group and their information accessing differs. It shows when and for whom, social variables contribute most of the explanation of the variance in the source of information used and when physical/geographical variables contribute most of the explanation. The analysis shows that there was a differentiation in sources used to find, both housing and work. It also shows that there were changes over time in information accessing and identified those immigrants for whom the change is likely to occur more quickly and those who are likely to retain their information accessing patterns longer.

Keywords: User-Centric, Information, Social Access, Geographical Access, Combined Methodology
Stream: Sociology, Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Access and Use of Information by ‘Newcomers’

Dr. Lara Liora Daor

Affiliation not supplied
Tel-Aviv, Israel

Ref: I08P0608