Brenda L. Dervin was born on November 20, 1938 . Dr. Dervin currently is Professor of Communication, and Joan N. Huber Faculty Fellow in Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Communication at Ohio State University. She has previously held posts on the communications faculty of Syracuse University and the University of Washington.
Dr. Dervin received her BA in journalism and home economics from Cornell University in 1960. She went on to earn both a MA (1968) and a PhD (1971) in Communications Research from University of Michigan. Dervin was also awarded an honorary PhD in social sciences from the University of Helsinki in 2000.
Contribution to Reference
Dr. Dervin’s background in the field of communications has provided a unique vantage point at which to view the work of reference librarians. She has made significant contributions to the field of reference, specifically to the nature of the reference interview. Her research and writing focus on various aspects of how people make sense of their environments. Dr. Dervin’s development of a Sense-MakingMethodology has been applied to numerous disciplines, including health communication (Teekman, 2000), understanding deaf culture (Linderman, 1996), feminist studies (Clark, 1999) and workplace processes (W-Y Cheuk, 1998).
Within the reference transaction, the Sense-Making Methodology frames the interaction between user and librarian as one in which the goal is to “bridge the gap.” Dervin’s research in this area explores the idea that people generally come to the reference transaction (or another instance of communication) with an obstacle or gap in understanding that serves as a fundamental block. The role of the reference librarian, Dervin argues, is to approach the reference transaction with a goal of understanding the “gap” from the user’s perspective. Through a series of query negotiations, the librarian attempts to paraphrase the information problem, and understand the context in which the question is being asked. The librarian must also determine the depth and scope of answer that is required, and elicits any relevant constraints. Such an approach may employ a mixture of Open Questions and Closed Ended Questions; though Dervin argues that a series of Neutral Questions ought to guide the interview, with the librarian careful to avoid imposing judgments or assumptions on the information need or the potential uses for the information.
Dervin is a fellow of the International Communication Association, and served as its first female president in 1986. She is a prolific author, with over two hundred journal articles to her credit, and is also one of the most cited authors in her field. Through the years, she has served on the editorial board of various scholarly journals, including Communication Studies, Journal of Communication,Library Quarterly and Information and Behavior. In 2005, Dr. Dervin was honored an award from the American Society for Information Science and Technology for Outstanding Contribution to Information Behavior Research. She has advised numerous dissertations and masters theses, including the dissertation of Patricia Dewdney, with whom she collaborated on the 1986 article, “Neutral questioning: A new approach to the reference interview,” in Reference Quarterly.
Godfrey Adams 20:01 September, 23 (UTC)
Brenda Dervin has a very successful career, whether it was her impressive education background or her rapid rise into positions that some considered too high for the amount of time, she has been there. Dervin has made no excuses and reached incredible highest in the workplace. Her education is nothing less than incredible; Dervin has received a Bachelors of Science at Cornell University and Masters at Michigan State University. She has also received a Ph.D at Michigan State University, and a Ph.D at the University of Helsinki.
- From 1961 to 1962 she started her career as a public relations assistant for the American Home Economics Association.
- From 1963-1965 she worked as a communication specialist at the Center for customer affairs at the University of Wisconsin.
- 1966-1967 she was a teaching assistant for the Department of Business Law and Office Administration at Michigan State University. She eventually became a research associate for the Department of Com 1966-1970.
- 1970 worked as assistant professor at Syracuse University.
- 1972-1986 Dervin was an assistant professor at the University of Washington. She was promoted in 1977 to a new position as associate professor.
- 1986 Dervin took the job as a professor and chairperson at Ohio State University. She is no longer chairperson at OSU but she is still a professor there. She even has a good rating on the ever-popular “ratemyprofessor.com” for her classes at Ohio State University, which is typically a battleground of students roasting their professors with ratings for the public to view.
“Dervin’s most documented contribution to the field of information science has been her insights on “sense-making,” an interdisciplinary program that includes aspects of psychology, sociology, and cognitive science. (Dervin)
Sense-making in general includes the following characteristics: “identification,” both of the viewer and the information being viewed, “retrospection,” in which information is processed after the fact, “action,” in which people take their understanding of information and project it onto their outward actions, and “sociality,” in which these changes entire into the societal narrative. Typically, the streamlining that takes place between “identification” and “sociality” replaces information that is accurate with information that is plausible. (CHI 2008)
Dervin’s contribution to the field of information science was to shed light on what she called the “cognitive gap,” or the break between observed “data” and the connotations that data carries, which can only be bridged by human intuition. “Data” is in quotation marks here because she purports that all information is in some way designed to fit into a worldview, even if it appears to be raw statistic, according to her article “Chaos, Order, and Sense-Making: A Proposed Theory for Information Design.” Further, given that there is no such thing as plain, straightforward, unambiguous “information,” but only “communication” between the author and their audience, how the information is catalogued and presented is of the utmost importance.
Her work has fostered the general opinion that sense-making is an interdisciplinary study and information science, when sense-making is utilized, is as closely related to rhetoric as it is to computer science. (Strategies for Dealing with Human Needs.”
"Brenda Dervin." Brenda Dervin. 2010. Ohio State, School of Communications. 9/27/2012 <http://www.comm.ohio-state.edu/people/faculty/userprofile/183.html>
Sensemaking: Organzing Information to Understand the World. George Furnas, Mark Stefik, Stuart Card, Peter Pirolli. 2008. CHI 2008. 9/27/2012. <https://sites.google.com/site/dmrussell2/sensemakingworkshopchi2008>
Dervin, Brenda. 2003. Information Design. Chaos, Order, and Sense-Making: A Proposed Theory for Information Design. Volume 4. Pages: 325-340. Issue: 3/4.
Dervin, Brenda. 1976. Journal of Broadcasting. Strategies for Dealing with Human Information Needs: Information or communication? Volume 20. Pages: 323-333. Issue 3.
Publications, Patents, and other Intellectual Property
Brenda Dervin has been quite successful in her publication career. She is a very frequent author. The main or most popular publishes have been her research about information seeking and information use. This led to the creation of the Sense-Making approach. Her individual publications and contributions include:
- · Rethinking Communication (International Communication Association)
- · Audiences and the Arts : Communication Perspectives
- · Audience as listener and learner, teacher and confidante: The sense-making approach. Selected writings of Brenda Dervin
- · Information as non-sense; information as sense: The communication technology connection. Sense-making methodology reader: Selected writings of Brenda Dervin
- · "From the mind's eye of the user: the Sense-Making qualitative-quantitative methodology"
- · Methodology between the cracks: Sense-Making meta-theory, theory, methodology, method; Volume 1 & 2
- · Neutral Questioning: A New Approach to the Reference Interview
- · "Information<--->Democracy: An Examination of Underlying Assumptions" (JASIS)
- · "Verbing communication: a mandate for disciplinary invention" (Journal of Communication)
- · "Who needs POTS-plus services? A comparison of residential users along the rural-urban continuum" (Telecommunication Policy)
- · "Comparative theory reconceptualized: from entities and states to processes and dynamics" (Communication Theory)
As far as patents and other intellectual property, Dervin has not created or owned any. She is focused primarily on her publications and research. Her well known books on Sense-Making “details the approaches philosophic underpinnings, theoretic assumptions, and implementation in method, including question framing, interviewing approaches, content analysis, and analytic designs.” (UCLA) Dervin is taking one step further in her publication and is reporting the needs and assessments of phone users on a large-scale application of the Sense-Making approach.
Austin Dudley 21:14, September 23, 2012 (UTC)
Awards and Recognitions
Dervin is a prolific author, with over two hundred journal articles to her credit, and is also one of the most cited authors in her field.
As an active participant in ASIST'S SIG-USE, which consists of members who are concerned with people’s behavioral and cognitive activities as well as their affective states as they interact with information, she received that SIG's 2005 award for Outstanding Contributions to Information Behavior Research; and was elected a SIG fellow in 2009. Her contributions, research, and impact on information science set such a high standard along with a few others, which is why she received this award. In 2006, she received one of ASIST's top awards -- the Information Science Research Award.
She is also a fellow and past-president [the first female so elected] of the International Communication Association. Even after becoming the first female elected president of the International Communication Association, she wouldn’t stop there. She also received the organization’s highest Research and Productivity Award. The International Communication Association is the largest international academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication.
She is also one of few US representatives to actively serve on the board of the European based International Association of Media and Communication Research. The International Association for Media and Communication Research - IAMCR - is the preeminent worldwide professional organization in the field of media and communication research. Its members promote global inclusiveness and excellence within the best traditions of critical scholarship in the field.
Thaddeus Hughes (talk) 20:24, September 23, 2012 (UTC) Dervin is a fellow of the International Communication Association, and served as its first female president in 1986. She is a prolific author, with over two hundred journal articles to her credit, and is also one of the most cited authors in her field. Through the years, she has served on the editorial board of various scholarly journals, including Communication Studies, Journal of Communication, Library Quarterly and Information and Behavior.
Cricital Analysis and Interpretation
In 2005, Dr. Dervin was honored an award from the American Society for Information Science and Technology for Outstanding Contribution to Information Behavior Research.
She has advised numerous dissertations and masters theses, including the dissertation of Patricia Dewdney, with whom with whom she collaborated on the 1986 article, “Neutral questioning: A new approach to the reference interview,” in Reference Quarterly.
Dervin’s contributions to her field of study and multiple awards for her studies have given her a highly respected role in the field of information science. Without her many works and studies, there wouldn’t be a lot of information that there is today. She has worked with multiple other scientists in her study and they all speak highly of each other. She is also one of few US representatives to actively serve on the board of the European based International Association of Media and Communication Research. Dervin is highly cited: about 2300 ISI cites; 1610 Google scholar; and 41,000 Google general.
Joseph Klos 02:02 September 23, 2012 (UTC)
http://ucla245.pbworks.com/w/page/8751349/Brenda%20Dervin Godfrey Adams 20:16, September 23, 2012 (UTC)
Contributions Dervin, Brenda. 2003. Information Deisign. Chaos, Order, and Sense-Making: A Proposed Theory for Information Design. Volume 4. Pages: 325-340. Issue: 3/4.Sc11isnotavailable (talk) 19:41, September 22, 2012 (UTC)
Dervin, Brenda. 1976. Journal of Broadcasting. Strategies for Dealing with Human Information Needs: Information or communication? Volume 20. Pages: 323-333. Issue 3.Sc11isnotavailable (talk) 19:41, September 22, 2012 (UTC)
Publications, Patents, and other Intellectual Property
UCLA. "Social Aspects of Digital Libraries Workshop Contributed Participant Biographies." UCLA Digital Libraries Workshop. UCLA, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://is.gseis.ucla.edu/research/dig_libraries/bio.html>
Austin Dudley 20:53, September 23, 2012 (UTC)
Awards and Recognitions
Crictical Analysis and Intrepretation
Joseph Klos 02:02 September 23, 2012 (UTC)