A Model of Fan Information Behaviour

It’s been well over a year since I completed my thesis and earned my PhD. Since then I’ve had time to reflect on what I learned, and on my findings. There are several findings that I think would be worth investigating and expanding upon in the future, but one of the most important of these is the model of fan information behaviour that I developed through my research.

Model of Fan Information Behaviour

Model of Fan Information Behaviour

This model is based upon my research findings, and highlights some of the unique information behaviour that fans display, particularly the following:

  • The constant reuse of information and resources in the creation of the fan text, and even the source text;
  • The use of information in the creation of two types of works – encyclopaedic/affirmational works (i.e works that affirm the source text), and transformative works (i.e. works that build upon, expand and transform the source text);
  • A general ambivalence towards copyright;
  • Information does not merely take textual or artistic forms – semiotic and enunciative forms are also important;
  • Some fans act as mentors in the passing on of knowledge towards ‘novice’ fans, albeit generally in what might be considered an amateur capacity (i.e. fans are not experts in the traditional sense);
  • Money-making and entrepreneurial activities can be part of the information flows;
  • Complex relationships exist between fans-fans and fans-producers, e.g. friendships, activism, charity, support, etc.

This model is meant to be a general one; i.e. it is meant to be applicable to all types of media fans, of all different fandoms. As such, it would be interesting to have this model tested on individual fandoms or fan communities in the future, and see whether it can be either validated or further refined and improved.

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