century reacted to the advent of flight, it would provide a useful example of an organization's interactions with its environment. They probably read about it in the newspapers with some curiosity, but did not perceive it to be the start of a new transportation system that would eventually supplant their thriving passenger railway systems. In short, they failed to define adequately what was important in their environment, to conceive of alternative ways of doing their business, and to expand their noosphere to gather detailed information about this phenomenon. An adequate recognition of what was important would have led inevitably to much greater information seeking related to the future development of this new means of transportation. In sum, the world outside the organization has many implications for the internal information field of the organization and the urgency of information seeking.
In sum, then, individuals are embedded in an information field that shapes the context of their information seeking. The nature of this field determines their exposure to information that triggers a desire to seek more information. For example, weak ties may expose an individual to information that suggests changes should be explored, triggering an expansion of the individual's information field. In addition, the mediated channels in information terminals may incidentally contain information that causes them to seek more information. Of course, an organization's information environment can also cause individuals to expand their information field to obtain information concerning potential threats to them or to their organization. The expansion of the individual's field is often determined by their knowledge of, and beliefs concerning, the efficacy of various information carriers, which is the focus of the next chapter.