Doctoral Posters #1-4

1. Cindy Welch
At the Intersection of Technology and Librarianship: Librarians and Early Radio Broadcasting
2. Rachel A. Fleming-May
Use: The Discursive Construction of a Concept and a Typology of its Application in the Literature of Library and Information Science
3. Stephanie A. Jones
The Occupational Choice of School Library Media Specialists
4. Wei Li
Online Knowledge Sharing in a Multinational Corporation: Chinese and American Practices
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History of Libraries and Library Science
1. Cindy Welch
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library & Information Science
At the Intersection of Technology and Librarianship: Librarians and Early Radio Broadcasting

Abstract: Commercial radio broadcasting’s emergence in America in the 1920s and 1930s created an unexpected and previously unparalleled opportunity to promote libraries and literacy. Both library users and non-users could be reached, the literate and illiterate, money and distance were of no consequence. As librarians interacted with the new medium (radio) and its gatekeepers (stations and networks), they developed new skill sets and made decisions about the limits and opportunities of this first electronic technology. New skills included scriptwriting and on-air speaking, and librarians who broadcasted regularly became local experts and provided guidance within the profession as more libraries took advantage of the opportunity to get on the air. Because of radio’s enormous potential and because this technology was the first of its kind, librarians had to consider how – or even if – it fit their mission and goals. There were conversations about the appropriateness of the technology for various audiences and whether libraries should even be involved with it. Library radio program content and format reflected standard library services of the time, e.g. children’s story time and readers’ advisory services. Recommended lists (bibliographies) of programs and additional reading appeared, and many libraries purchased receiving sets for use in the library by those who did not have access at home or in school. This same response – use/appropriateness, publicity use/awareness, evaluation/recommendations, transfer of current practice to the new media, providing access – was recreated as libraries encountered television, the Internet/Web and now social networking. Library response to education/entertainment technology has its roots in the profession’s experiences with radio and has remained essentially unchanged since that time.

Purpose/Objective of study: To explore the history and emergence of librarianship, particularly in regard to technology.

Sample and Setting/Method: This historical study utilizes archival records from the American Library Association (ALA), the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and the National Advisory Council on Radio in Education (NACRE), journals and newspapers of the 1920s and 1930s, and secondary sources related to librarianship and broadcasting.

Data collection technique(s): Archival research

Results: Librarians in the 1920s and 1930s were radio broadcasting pioneers, and the way they approached and interacted with that technology (radio) created a pattern of response that is still prevalent today.



 The Discursive Construction of a Concept and a Typology of its Application in the Literature of Library and Information Science

2. Rachel A. Fleming-May
The University of Alabama College of Communication & Information Sciences

Use: The Discursive Construction of a Concept and a Typology of its Application in the Literature of Library and Information Science

I. Purpose/Objective of study: Although use is frequently presented in LIS literature as a phenomenon to be measured and studied, many authors treat it as a primitive concept: an idea so fundamental to the theoretical framework at hand as to be indefinable, even when presented as an operational variable. However, an examination of the LIS literature reveals that use is, in fact, a multi-dimensional concept that requires clarification for effective empirical examination. My dissertation is an examination of the construction of the use concept in the LIS literature from 1905-2007. Specifically, I employed discourse analysis to consider the representation of use in different areas of inquiry within LIS, paying particular attention to portrayals of the relationship between use and the user, how use is operationalized empirically, and the ways in which empirical presentations of use differ from more theoretical discussions of the concept.

II. Sample and Setting: My data set is comprised of approximately 500 individual works of LIS literature, including journal articles, theses, dissertations, books, and book chapters from 1905-present. The initial body of literature retrieved (see section IV) consisted of over 4,000 individual works, which I then narrowed by arranging the item entries chronologically and selecting the first of each ten, reducing the items to just over 400. Using the grounded theory model of theoretical sampling, I added additional relevant works as I encountered them. Because discourse analysis is concerned with investigating the construction of concepts rather than testing hypotheses, it is not necessary for a corpus of literature to be sampled in a strictly representative fashion as in more quantitative methods such as content analysis. My concern in narrowing the initial data set was reducing it to a manageable size while ensuring the inclusion of relevant works.

III. Method (Qualitative, quantitative, historical, etc.): In order to apprehend the conceptual significance of use in the LIS literature I applied discourse analysis methodology, borrowing Phillips and Hardy’s definition of discourse: “an interrelated set of texts, and the practices of their production, dissemination, and reception, that bring an object into being.” Discourse analysis investigates the ways in which metaphor and other thematic elements are used to represent an idea or concept within a domain (such as the LIS literature,) considering both the individual works in question and how they connect to the larger discourse as a whole.

IV. Data collection technique(s) (Interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, etc.): In order to construct my corpus of literature I consulted of a number of print indexes, electronic databases, and bibliographies, varying my search approach depending on the source scope and coverage.

V. Results: Although my goal for this project was not to identify a singular definition of use in the LIS context, I feel that the themes, metaphors, and concepts related to use that I uncovered illuminate the difficulties presented by the concept’s lack of clarity in LIS literature and practice. I have also constructed a typology of use as it appears in the LIS literature that can serve as a springboard to future empirical and theoretical projects in this area.



 LIS as a Profession
3. Stephanie A. Jones
University of Georgia
The Occupational Choice of School Library Media Specialists

Purpose/Objective of study: The purpose of this study is to identify and explore the reasons that individuals have for selecting the occupation of school library media specialist.

Sample and Setting: The participants are 10 graduate students from a large research university who are seeking initial school library media certification.

Method (Qualitative, quantitative, historical, etc): This is a qualitative study using a narrative research methodology.

Data collection technique(s) (Interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, etc): Three individual interviews for each participant, using McAdams’ life story interview protocol

Results: I am still collecting data. These are the preliminary results: strong work ethic developed as children due to parents and/or education, strong technology orientation, and self-identification as “geeks”.



 Social/Community Informatics
4. Wei Li
Graduate School of Library & Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Online Knowledge Sharing in a Multinational Corporation: Chinese and American Practices

Purposes of study: The purposes of this study were to investigate Chinese and American employees’ knowledge sharing behaviors through online communities of practices within the Knowledge Network (KN), a global knowledge sharing system adopted by Alpha (pseudo name), a Fortune 100 multinational corporation, and to identify the factors impacting their behaviors in online cross-cultural contexts.

Sample and Setting: 205 Chinese and 205 American KN users’ knowledge sharing behaviors were analyzed based on system-recorded data. Out of these participants, 20 Chinese and 21 Americans were selected and interviewed. All the Chinese interviews were conducted face-to-face in Alpha’s offices in China, and all the American interviews were done in Alpha’s offices in the U.S., either face-to-face or over the phone.

Method: The strength of this study is closely related to its mixed methodology which includes two methods: (1) content and activity analysis, and (2) in-depth interview. Content and activity analysis has not only quantitatively showed how frequently participants used the KN but also qualitatively presented what was being shared through the system. Forty-one in-depth interviews have revealed the key factors that influenced how people used the KN in cross-cultural settings.

Data collection technique(s): Content and activity analysis, and interviews.

Results: Chinese users and American users were similar in terms of how frequently they visited the KN to consume knowledge, but there was a lightly more percent of American users who contributed knowledge back to the KN. There were two main types of contents shared through the KN: (1) Question asking and answering. Questions were classified into six categories according to the purposes of asking: gather general information or opinions on a topic, ask for similar efforts, look for solutions to problems, share best practices among different facilities, collect suggestions to deliver better services, and confirm information or opinions. By asking questions in KN communities, the inquirers were primarily trying to go beyond their personal networks and ask help from colleagues globally. (2) Materials shared not for the purpose of responding to questions, such as project-related documents and personal insights/experiences. The KN was designed for the purpose of connecting people, but people appropriated it as a storage for documentation.

Performance expectancy and perceived compatibility between using the KN and an individual’s job role turned out to be critical factors that influenced how heavily an individual used the KN. Language was primarily a one-way barrier for Chinese participants in using the KN. With fairly good English skills, they enjoyed consuming knowledge in the KN but were reluctant to share their ideas/questions in English there. Unfamiliarity with the KN was a fairly strong reason stopping many Chinese from heavily using the system as Alpha China was at an early stage during the process of KN diffusion. The most compelling cultural reasons that stopped some Chinese from posting questions or offering solutions were the lack of confidence in their knowledge, the perception that it was not as valuable to share with American peers due to different job practices/values and the possibility of introducing confusion.

 
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