Information behaviour of farmers, foresters, and advisors in the context of digitalisation in the EU
This paper provides insights into the information behaviour of European farmers, foresters, and advisors in the context of the ongoing digital transformation. Data collection and analysis for this study were carried out as part of a substantial innovation project to create a new online knowledge platform, called EU FarmBook, for primary sector practitioners. Besides informing the design and development of this user-centred platform, this study also provides useful inputs to better understand the perceived information needs, preferences, and information behaviour of primary sector practitioners, which is an underexplored area of Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) in Europe. This paper presents and draws on 40 semi-structured interviews conducted with farmers, foresters, and advisors from 20 different countries. The results reveal some of the major ways in which the rapid advancements in digital information and communication technologies have affected farmers, foresters, and advisors. The problem-solving strategies of primary sector practitioners now rely largely on online resources. Searches for photos and videos have become a particularly integral activity that reflects their practice-oriented and solve-it-yourself attitudes. This has implications for agricultural extension services, which must be prepared for the challenges and changes that the digital revolution will bring to extension work.