This article provides a general review of the literature on the nature and role of empathyin social interaction for information professionals working in a variety of informationand knowledge environments. Relational agency theory (Edwards, 2005) is used asa framework to re-conceptualize education for empathic social interaction betweeninformation professionals and their clients. Past, present and future issues relevant toempathic interaction in information and knowledge management are discussed inthe context of three shifts identified from the literature:
(a) the continued increase incommunication channels, both physical and virtual, for reference, information and re-search services,
(b) the transition from the information age to the conceptual age and
(c) the growing need for understanding of the affective paradigm in the informationand knowledge professions.
Faye Miller and Jake Wallis