Thursday, June 27, 2013

An introduction to my narrative information source analytical framework

In my previous blog post, I made mention of my shifting focus to study library consultants. My study however, will still retain a focus on the study of blogs and tweets (or Twitter) as sources of information as well as social information spaces. It is on the point of categorizing information sources that I want to blog about in this post. Specifically, I want to discuss my framework for information source analysis of blogs and tweets

I have created a theoretical or analytical framework for analysing the types of information sources that exist in blogs and tweets  that differs from the traditional categories of people and documents in much of library research literature. Instead I propose a method that classifies information into types of narratives, rather than into types of media/channels. In this sense, narrative information sources can transcend media and is increasingly applicable to the online and social media world, where the lines between storage medium and communication with people are blurred. In this framework, narrative refers to an account of either an event or an experience. This account can be told in varied ways where a person can either attempt to tell the account in a factual and objective way or can perform the account in an interestingly and aesthetically pleasing way to interest in one's audience (sacrificing some of the facts for emotional effect) (Gabriel, 2000).

In my model narrative information sources fall into four main types or genres:
  • non-fiction (or objective) narrative information sources
  • fictional (or imagination based) narrative information sources
  • reality-based, but subjective narrative information sources and
  • interpretative or referral narrative information sources

Non-fiction narrative information sources - is my term to cover categories of narratives such as those that exist in academic journals, newspapers, magazines and other documents that aim to be objective and present different viewpoints of an event or different experiences, or even the coverage of a single event or experience supported by fact gathering. The intention and purpose of non-fiction narrative information sources is to be accurate and objective in its reporting of an event or experience.

Fictional narrative information sources - is my term used to cover the set of narratives that are based on imagination or even re-imaging one's world or reality (real event or experience). In this account of an event or experience, the creator may use imaginary characters, create an imaginary world, embellish and reconstruct reality or experience in ways that violate what we know about the real world or simply be creative with their event or experience in order to make it interesting and appealing to their audience's imagination and emotions. Sometimes fictional narrative information sources (like parables) aim to instruct others about real world events or experiences.

Reality-based narrative information sources - for me are those narratives that are based on one's memory, viewpoint, or personal experience. These include biographical sources, auto-biographical sources, opinions and viewpoints, views or advice that comes out of knowledge that one possesses due to personal experience or the acceptance of the experience of others.

Finally, interpretative or referral narrative information sources - is the term I ascribe to the category of narrative information sources that point to or refer to other sources, interpret other sources, provide viewpoints on other sources, or summaries commentaries or reviews. These sources are essentially based on and provide information (whether opinion or facts) about other narrative information sources.

In conclusion, this is the framework that I hope to use when conducting my analysis of tweets and blog postings. However, it is still in the beta or development stage, and I welcome your comments on it. Nonetheless, my preliminary beta test analyses have made me excited about the framework. In my next upcoming post, I hope to blog about how I have been finding this analytical framework useful and effective in understanding blogs and tweets as business information sources. Stay tuned this blog for more exciting details.


Gabriel, Y. (2000). Storytelling in organizations: Facts, fictions, and fantasies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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