Mobile notifications as an information medium: an ethnographic study of mobile human-information interaction attitudes of Egyptian and German higher education students


  • Hossam El-Zalabany Assistant Lecturer, Department of Library, Archives and Information Science, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, Egypt. Ph.D. Candidate, Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany


Mobile Notifications, Information Behavior, Human-Information Interaction (HII), Ethnographic Study, Higher Education Students, Mobile Information Literacy (MoIL)


This study explores the impact of mobile notifications on the information behavior and interaction attitudes of higher education students in Egypt and Germany. Using an ethnographic approach, the research investigates how mobile notifications serve as a crucial medium for information delivery, transforming user interaction with information. The study identifies significant challenges posed by the influx of notifications, such as information overload, distraction, and stress. It also examines the skills and strategies students employ to manage and prioritize notifications, emphasizing the need for improved mobile information literacy (MoIL). Interviews and observations reveal varied user engagement with notifications, highlighting the dual role of notifications as both end-point information containers and triggers for deeper information-seeking behavior. The findings suggest that while notifications enhance efficiency and immediacy in accessing information, they also necessitate new coping mechanisms to mitigate negative impacts. This research contributes to the field of information behavior by offering insights into the effective use of mobile notifications and proposing better notification system designs to foster enhanced information literacy in an increasingly connected world.


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How to Cite

El-Zalabany, H. (2024). Mobile notifications as an information medium: an ethnographic study of mobile human-information interaction attitudes of Egyptian and German higher education students. Cybrarians Journal, (71), 1–33. Retrieved from