Convergent flows: humanities scholars and their interactions with electronic texts

08 October 2008

This article reports research findings related to converging formats, media, practices, and ideas in the process of academics’ interaction with electronic texts during a research project. The findings are part of the results of a study that explored interactions of scholars in literary and historical studies with electronic texts as primary materials. Electronic texts were perceived by the study participants as fluid entities because the electronic environment promotes seamless interactions with a variety of media and formats. Working with electronic texts combines some traditional information and research practices into new patterns of information behavior. The practice called “netchaining” combines aspects of networking with information-seeking practices to establish and shape online information chains, which link sources and people. Different forms of exploration of participants’ research questions were enabled by interactions with electronic texts.