Information foraging theory is an approach to understanding how strategies and technologies for information seeking, gathering, and consumption are adapted to the flux of information in the environment. The theory assumes that people, when possible, will modify their strategies or the structure of the environment to maximize their rate of gaining valuable information. The theory is developed by (a) adaptation (rational) analysis of information foraging problems and (b) a detailed process model (adaptive control of thought in information foraging [ACT-IF]). The adaptation analysis develops (a) information patch models, which deal with time allocation and information filtering and enrichment activities in environments in which information is encountered in clusters; (b) information scent models, which address the identification of information value from proximal cues; and (c) information diet models, which address decisions about the selection and pursuit of information items. ACT-IF is instantiated as a production system model of people interacting with complex information technology.
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Pirolli, P., & Card, S. (1999). Information foraging. Psychological Review, 106(4), 643–675. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.106.4.643
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