Thursday, March 20, 2014

Latest research update: The library consulting community as an Electronic Network of Practice

It has been almost two months since I've updated this blog. I've been working steadily on my proposal. Below is a draft layman's summary of my updated research direction. I've even included a biographical note on how this current direction relates to my past research and future direction. Missing though is a statement on my social media specialisation.

While the majority of librarians work in large institutions or government entities, there is a growing library-based community of members that are taking risks and starting their own self-employed consultancies. Until now, this community is not well studied by the academic literature. In my presentation, I introduce the library consulting community. Further, I map the existence of this global group as an electronic network of practice through Twitter and Blogs.

Electronic Network of practice (eNoP) is a term coined by Teigland and Wasko (2005) to study communities of practice that are organised through computer-mediated communication, rather than physically co-located. Communities of Practice (CoP) is a concept developed by Wenger (1999) to discuss a group that meets together to learn and reflect on their group identity and what it means to experience the world as members of their group. However, Teigland and Wasko (2005) suggest that CoP is meant for groups that are face-to-face, but needs to be adapted for groups that operate and organise themselves in electronic or computer-mediated space.

After reviewing the literature , I discovered that there are virtually no studies that use these frameworks for analysing librarians, especially seeing that librarians do use blogs and online spaces to discuss their practice. I therefore apply the eNoP framework to studying the little studied library consultant community that discuss their practice online via blogs and tweets.

Mark-Shane Scale is a 3rd year student in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. He is pursuing a PhD in Library and Information Science. He holds a Master's degree in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. Mark-Shane’s Masters research has primarily been focused on the information and knowledge universe of small business owners. His PhD research continues this focus, but this time focuses on how blogs as social information spaces connect small business owners to knowledge sharing stories created and shared on the Web by other small business owners.


Teigland, R., & Wasko, M. (2005). Knowledge exchange in electronic networks of practice. Encyclopedia of information science and technology (pp. 1757-1762) IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch309
Wenger, E. (1999). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity (1 pbk ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

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