With the advent of increased attention towards language endangerment comes the need for a better understanding of how speakers of endangered languages interact with information, specifically health information resources. This paper builds on health information behavior literature and participatory research models with indigenous communities to develop strategies for future work with indigenous communities of speakers of endangered languages, proposing a participatory methodology for future work with these communities related to health, using ethnographic interviews and focus groups. Lack of infrastructure, multilingualism, and distrust of outsiders are found to be major barriers between this population and health information resources. Approaching health information behavior research with an interdisciplinary and participatory model incorporating ethnographic and linguistic field methods into traditional information behavior methodologies can mitigate the challenges these barriers present. Understanding the health information behavior of speakers of endangered languages will aid in future efforts to make health information resources accessible to wider audiences and to document indigenous knowledge. Currently, fieldwork with speakers of endangered languages is confined to linguistic and anthropological investigation. Through the proposed methodology, community members can work alongside linguists and information professionals to create culturally appropriate health information resources in their native language.
Journal of Librarianship and Information Science