Types of lexicographical information needs and their relevance for information science

Henning Bergenholtz, Heidi Agerbo Pedersen

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In some situations, you need information in order to solve a problem that has occurred. In information science, user needs are often described through very specific examples rather than through a classification of situation types in which information needs occur. Furthermore, information science often describes general human needs, typically with a reference to Maslow’s classification of needs (1954), instead of actual information needs. Lexicography has also focused on information needs, but has developed a more abstract classification of types of information needs, though (until more recent research into lexicographical functions) with a particular interest in linguistic uncertainties and the lack of knowledge and skills in relation to one or several languages. In this article, we suggest a classification of information needs in which a tripartition has been made according to the different types of situations: communicative needs, cognitive needs, and operative needs. This is a classification that is relevant and useful in general in our modern information society and therefore also relevant for information science, including lexicography.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJISTaP, Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2017


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