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LIS 950: Libraries and community

The purpose of this seminar is to explore an important topic in library and information studies in depth — in all its intertwined historical, cultural, philosophical, and political aspects — through a graduate reading/discussion seminar. The topic varies each time the course is taught; this time around, we will focus on "libraries and community"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pettigrew et al.

  1. I think this is different from that of Leckie and Hopkins where researchers approached their subjects in a setting, a library. Pettigrew et al. did something that led me to think about how did they gain entry to the human subjects and conduct their data collection such as a telephone interview. I look to see, in the article, if there is a reflection of who holds the keys? How did the researchers gain entry to their subjects and what were supports from gate-keepers to them? Also, did they break through a chain of gate-keeping process of a certain community to get the data?
  2. Is a major public sphere, in this case, the CI Web sites? Or are these Web sites serve as a public space for members of the community who share the same goals and have something in common? Does this mean that those who do not share the same goals and/or do not have the “something” in common cannot participate? I think the first thing they have to have is the share interest in exploring the Web sites and some computer literacy. With this “techy” requirements, I think it yields different perspectives if the study is focused on the down – the poor or those with lower incomes. To them, no matter how or in what formats the CI comes, what really matter is they can make use of the information and the information can help them fulfilling their needs. The issue is an uneven access and literacy among social classes.
  3. Thanks to Irene, I wonder if it fits with our “public sphere” topic since the sense-making is something to do with helps, functions, and consequences, impacts, and effects that each unit in a community has to interplay to each other as a mechanism. I am wondering if it is similar to how individuals or institutions in a community become gate-keepers that can strongly influence others and can serve as a mechanism that filters good and bad for the public.
  4. Then, if library is one mechanism that helps, functions, and impacts the members of a community, in what way we, in the profession, see ourselves fit in the process of public outreaches helping them bridge their thoughts to achieve or to realize shared goals according to Dervin’s sense-making metaphor? To me, this article is a good example on how to link a study to particular theory.
  5. In this article, it is interesting to see how information is more accessible across geographical and time barriers. However, I am wondering if the good of online information networks like these work so well for those who “feel comfortable” with technology and virtual setting where personal identity does not do anything with opportunity to communicate and express ideas. For example, I can express ideas and ask questions about the readings on this blog more than in a real class setting when it is hard for me to break in a round of discussion.
  6. Another concern is that in the very near future, do you think people will participate more and more in online communities since there are more of those native to information technology in the world?

So, can anyone help let me know if I am on the right track or if I am off the track here? Reading is always hard, and it is harder to work on sense-making especially on what the readings try to say and how I can make use of the readings.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jacob said...

Although Leckie and Hopkins approached their subjects in a traditional library setting I find it odd that there is no mention of the Canadian equivalent of and IRB supervising their research protocol. Do IRBs or some type of equivalent exist in Canada? Should there be a concern about the 37 respondents under the age of 18? I know from overhearing discussions about the Madison Public Library survey and reading information put out by the IRB here at Madison that studies that use subject under the age of 18 major problems hurdles exist to get proper informed consent when dealing with minors.

I have many questions about the methodology utilized in this article but the article references out to Pettigrew and Durrance (2000) that was presented at the First Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers. The website listed does not lead to the First conference but to the 2001 conference not the 2000 conference. Even once I found the 2000 conference website I could not access the article. With a little bit of extra searching it seems that the Pettigrew and Durrance article will be contained in the proceedings from the conference, which I now have on order from UW-Milwaukee. As a reader of the Pettigrew, Durrance, and Unruh article, I find it intolerable that I have to invest so much time and energy to find out information about the methodology utilized in the article. The difficulty of finding the methodology my help shied the authors from criticism but for me I find it difficult to believe in their results of this article does not provide details about its methodology. I will try and follow up on these methodology concerns once I have the Proceedings.

The Pettigrew, Durrance, and Unruh focus their attention on the three freenets that provide digital CI functionality. I decided to look at the three examples (NorthStarNet, Three Rivers Free-Net, and CascadeLink) on the web to see what they look like today and found some startling results. The NorthStarNet as far as I can tell no longer exists. The Three Rivers Free-Net still exists but no longer provides web hosting, email, or Internet access. All of the CI features of the Three Rivers Free-Net have been absorbed into Carnegie Library of Pittsburg library website under what they call “Discover More.” Of the three examples, only CascadeLink seems to operate as it did at the time of the study and is hosted by the Multnomah County Library Community Information Program.

7:05 PM  

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