Library and Information Science Research and Neurodiversity: So Much Potential if We'd Just Apply Ourselves

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link





Neurodivergent people consistently face less optimal outcomes than neurotypical people in education, their careers, and other areas of life. Anecdotally, personal knowledge management (PKM) is a useful tool for neurodivergent individuals. However, there is sparse research involving the information practices of neurodivergent adults in the field of library andinformation science (LIS). A survey with both close-ended and open-ended questions, partially based on Dervin's Sense-Making Methodology (Dervin, 1992, 2000), was distributed online and received over 300 self-identifying neurodivergent participants. The results indicated that neurodivergent people use PKM most heavily in the Learning, Job, and Everyday domains for the purposes of Managing Tasks and Projects, Building Knowledge, Creating, and Self-Improvement. Common PKM activities engaged included Storing Information and Using It Later, Remembering What Needs to be Done, Understanding and Ideating, and Planning and Prioritizing. The most helpful benefits of PKM that were described were Connecting Ideas, Improving Thinking, and Having Fun. Overall, key themes regarding neurodivergent individuals’ PKM usage included Reducing Stress, Memory, and Externalizing. These findings provide a foundation for a much-needed LIS research agenda exploring the PKM practices of neurodivergent adults.