The stories I tell challenge assumptions that privilege problem–based research and tangible documentary sources of information. I do this by looking for stories that tell of common and/or positive experiences at work, leisure and in everyday life, and showing in empirical terms that they do in fact, have a great deal of scientific potential.
Although this variety of story may easily be overlooked by researchers, the implications are enormous. We know very little theoretically about this sphere of life, and so discoveries have the potential to connect with existing LIS theory in many ways - everything from curation and preservation of information, to collaboration, knowledge transfer, and knowledge management. The opportunities for interdisciplinary investigation are limited only by the imagination.
The scientific study of problems and anomalies in all forms and in all disciplines gets the lion’s share of resources because it is universally accepted that the potential for discoveries to remove constraints is valuable. Studying the ‘trivial’ world of everyday life is neither obviously extraordinary, specific in its findings, nor inherently valuable according to contemporary prevailing thought. While it may naturally include examining problems, it also includes a distinctly non–pathological element as well. It is, in many ways, the study of things we see all the time, but don’t recognize; the things we hear often, but don’t listen for; the things we touch or that touch us, but which we remember only in their absence. Naturally, studies of this variety are significantly more nebulous, often less conclusive, and consequently, frequently underfunded. They are, however, critical to our heritage, to our individual and collective narratives, and to our future. They help us to better recognize and understand things taken for granted. They highlight elements of current experience that contribute positively to society in general and to well being individually. They build strength, rather than removing weakness. I am particularly interested in everyday life rural contexts, because the skills associated with living rurally and remotely in Canada are often marginalized and invisible. Yet they offer us the opportunity to learn from each other in very organic ways.