Stephens, Michael, Modeling the role of blogging in librarianship. Doctor of Philosophy (Information Science), August 2007, 187 pp., 47 tables, 6 figures, 134 references.
This phenomenological study examines the motivations and experiences of librarians who author professionally-focused Weblogs. The researcher constructed a model of librarianship based on Wilson and Buckland. The results show a close fit between librarian bloggers and the ideals of the field as expressed by two primary library and information science philosophers. A Web survey generated 239 responses to demographic and open-ended questions. Using the results of the survey, the researcher analyzed demographic data and performed a phenomenological analysis of the open-ended questions. A list of category responses was generated from each set of answers via the coding of descriptive words and phrases.
Results indicated the motivations of librarian bloggers are based around themes of sharing, participation in community, and enhanced professional development. Respondents reported feeling more connected to the profession and to colleagues across the world because of blogging. Respondents perceived the librarian blogosphere as a community with both positive aspects – feedback, discussion, and support – and negative aspects – insular voices, divides between technologists and librarians, and generational rifts. Respondents also reported an increased ability to keep current, improved writing skills, and opportunities to speak and contribute to professional journals.
Ideally the study’s findings will contribute to the ongoing investigation of how people are using newer Web technologies. The researcher hopes the study will illustrate the beliefs, motivations, and professional benefits that blogging provides for other librarians and library administrators.