Journal of Documentation

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Latest documents

  • Response to “The public sphere without democracy: some recent work in LIS”
  • “Write the story you want to read”: world-queering through slash fanfiction creation

    Purpose: This pilot study explores how queer slash fanfiction writers reorient cis/heteronormative entertainment media (EM) content to create queer information worlds. Design/methodology/approach: Constructivist grounded theory was employed to explore queer individuals' slash fanfiction reading and creation practices. Slash fanfiction refers to fan-written texts that recast cis/heteronormative content with queer characters, relationships, and themes. Theoretical sampling drove ten semi-structured interviews with queer slash writers and content analysis of both Captain America slash and material features found on two online fanfiction platforms, Archive of Our Own and “Queer” serves as a theoretical lens through which to explore non-cis/heteronormative perspectives on gender and sexuality. Findings: Participants' interactions with and creation of slash fanfiction constitute world-queering practices wherein individuals reorient cis/heteronormative content, design systems, and form community while developing their identities over time. Findings suggest ways that queer creators respond to, challenge, and reorient cis/heteronormative narratives perpetuated by EM and other information sources, as well as ways their practices are constrained by structural power dynamics. Research limitations/implications: This initial data collection only begins to explore the topic with ten interviews. The participant sample lacks racial diversity while the content sample focuses on one fandom. However, results suggest future directions for theoretical sampling that will continue to advance constructs developed from the data. Originality/value: This research contributes to evolving perspectives on information creation and queer individuals' information practices. In particular, findings expand theoretical frameworks related to small worlds and ways in which members of marginalized populations grapple with exclusionary normativity.

  • The information work of community archives: a systematic literature review

    Purpose: This paper scrutinizes the scholarship on community archives' information work. Community archives and archiving projects represent unprecedentedly democratic venues for information work centering on essential documentary concepts such as custody, collection development and appraisal, processing, arrangement and description, organization, representation and naming, collaboration, resource generation and allocation, activism and social justice, preservation, reuse, and sustainability. Design/methodology/approach: Unearthed through databases searches, citation chaining, and browsing, sources examined include peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and book chapters published in the English language between 1985 and 2018. Findings: The literature on community archives’ information work shows considerable geographical (six continents), topical, and (inter)disciplinary variety. This paper first explores scholars' efforts to define both community and community archives. Second, it unpacks the ways in which community archives include new stakeholders and new record types and formats even as they leverage alternative archival principles and practices. Third, it discusses community archives as political venues for empowerment, activism, and social justice work. Fourth, this paper delves into the benefits and challenges of partnerships and collaborations with mainstream institutions. Fifth, it documents the obstacles community archives face: not only tensions within and among communities, but also sustainability concerns. Finally, it sets forth six directions for future research. Originality/value: This paper is the first systematic review of the community archives literature.

  • The values of public libraries: a systematic review of empirical studies of stakeholder perceptions

    Purpose: Public libraries' relevance and raison d'être towards society is an often discussed subject within public, politics and research. The objective of this systematic literature review is to provide a synthesis of empirical studies of stakeholders' perceived values of public libraries. Design/methodology/approach: The review is based on a structured literature search that was conducted in seven databases. Two independent participants carried out a two-step screening of the identified studies. Firstly, the studies were screened on basis of title and abstract. Secondly, studies that were included in the title–abstract screening were full-text screened. Conflicting studies were discussed, and consensus between the reviewers was reached. Citation searches of each included study were conducted along with scrutinising cited literature. The included studies were subject to a risk of bias assessment on basis of a developed risk of the bias tool, and qualitative analysis was provided. Findings: Of all, 4,086 studies were screened and 19 were retained for the review. The studies consisted of both quantitative and qualitative investigations of different stakeholders in a variety of countries. The reported values varied across the studies and stakeholders. Originality/value: This is the first study that systematically reviews empirical literature that explores stakeholders' perceived values of public libraries. The paper suggests further recommendations for empirical research of values connected to public libraries.

  • Toward a new understanding of immigrant information behavior. A survey study on information access and information overload among US Black diasporic immigrants

    Purpose: Immigration dominates much of the current US sociopolitical discourse. The research on US-based immigrant information behavior, however, remains scant. To understand the role of information in immigration, this study explores information overload among Black immigrants in the US. Design/methodology/approach: The researcher developed a literature-derived information overload scale to investigate participants' information access along with experiences and response to information overload. Findings: Results suggest that participants experience information overload due to behavioral (e.g. the demands of needing, seeking, or using information), quantitative (i.e. volume or length), and qualitative (e.g. authority, diversity, or urgency) indicators. Most participants mitigate information overload by turning to intermediaries and filtering resources. Research limitations/implications: The information overload scale can advance knowledge of the role of information in immigrant acculturative stress. Social implications: LIS researchers and practitioners can utilize findings to foster social inclusion and well-being among immigrants. Originality/value: Scholarship on immigrant information behavior must reflect the centrality of information in migration and how it shapes integration and acculturation.

  • Review of the Delphi method in library and information science research

    Purpose: This article presents an introduction to the Delphi method and review of Delphi studies published in the literature of library and information science (LIS). Design/methodology/approach: A review of Delphi studies published between the years of 1971 and 2019 is performed, using studies retrieved from the Library and Information Science Source database. A total of 122 articles were retrieved and evaluated based on the population studied, means of identifying experts, number of participants for each study round, type of Delphi, and type of findings. Findings: General librarians (any type), academic librarians, and information science researchers are the most common populations in LIS Delphi studies. On average (middle 50 percent of studies), 14–36 experts are used in the first round of LIS Delphi studies (median n = 23). Employment in a specific role and publications in scholarly journals are the most common means of identifying experts. Variants of the e-Delphi (online survey/email) method are increasingly common, particularly in LIS Delphi studies that focus on general information science, rather than library, topics. Though LIS Delphi studies are relatively few in number, they have a consistent record of being published in some of the most prestigious LIS journals. Originality/value: This paper provides an introduction to the Delphi method for LIS research and presents an overview of existing literature in LIS that utilizes the research method. No overview of this extent exists in the LIS literature, and, thus, this paper may serve as an important information source about the method for LIS researchers.

  • Shared information practices on Facebook. The formation and development of a sustainable online community

    Purpose: This study aims to develop an in-depth understanding of the underlying dynamics of an emergent shared information practice within a Facebook group, and the resources the group develops to sustain this practice. Design/methodology/approach: In-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out with twenty members from the group. The findings are based on comparative analysis combined with narrative analysis and were interpreted using theories of situated learning and Community of Practice. Findings: The study shows that although members of this multicultural mothers group endorsed different, sometimes opposing parenting practices, the group had to find common ground when sharing information. Managing these challenges was key to maintaining the group as an open information resource for all members. The group produced a shared repertoire of resources to maintain its activities, including norms, rules, shared understandings, and various monitoring activities. The shared online practice developed by the community is conceptualised in this article as an information practice requiring shared, community-specific understandings of what, when, and how information can or should be sought or shared in ways that are valued in this specific community. The findings show that this shared information practice is not static but continually evolves as members negotiate what is, or not, important for the group. Originality/value: The research provides novel insights into the underlying dynamics of the emergence, management, and sustainability of a shared information practice within a contemporary mothers group on Facebook.

  • A structure–agency integrative framework for information access disparity. Rediscovery of practice in dividing society's information rich and poor

    Purpose: This study aims to build an integrative framework for explaining society's information access disparity, which takes both structure and agency as well as their interactions into consideration. Design/methodology/approach: It adopts a qualitative survey design. It collects data on the development of 65 individuals' information access through interviews, and analyzes the data following grounded theory principles. Findings: A theoretical framework is established based on seven constructs and their relationships, all emerging from the empirical data. It rediscovers practice as the primary structural force shaping individuals' information access, hence society's information access disparity; it shows, meanwhile, that the effect of practice is mediated and/or interrupted by four agentic factors: affective responses to a practice, strategic move between practices, experiential returns of information, and quadrant state of mind. Research limitations/implications: It urges LIS researchers to go beyond the embedded information activities to examine both the embedded and embedding, beyond actions to examine both actions and experiences. Practical implications: It calls for information professionals to take a critical stance toward the practices they serve and partake in their reforms from an LIS perspective. Originality/value: The framework provides an integrative and novel explanation for information access disparity; it adds a number of LIS-relevant concepts to the general practice theories, highlighting the significance of embedded information activities in any practice and their reverberations; it also appears able to connect a range of human-related LIS theories and pinpoint their gaps.

  • Information, data, and knowledge in the cognitive system of the observer

    Purpose: In line with the cognitive viewpoint on the phenomenon of information, the constructivist tradition based on Maturana and Varela's theory of knowing, and some aspects of Shannon's theory of communication, the purpose of this paper is to shed more light on the role of information, data, and knowledge in the cognitive system (domain) of the observer. Design/methodology/approach: In addition to the literature review, a proposed description of the communication and knowledge acquisition processes within the observer's cognitive system/domain is elaborated. Findings: The paper recognizes communication and knowledge acquisition as separate processes based on two roles of information within the observer's cognitive system, which are emphasized. The first role is connected with the appropriate communication aspects of Shannon's theory related to encoding cognitive entities in the cognitive domain as data representations for calculating their informativeness. The second role involves establishing relations between cognitive entities encoded as data representations through the knowledge acquisition process in the observer's cognitive domain. Originality/value: In this way, according to the cognitive viewpoint, communication and knowledge acquisition processes are recognized as important aspects of the cognitive process as a whole. In line with such a theoretical approach, the paper seeks to provide an extension of Shannon's original idea, intending to involve the observer's knowledge structure as an important framework for the deepening of information theory.

  • A collection and its many relations and contexts. Constructing an object biography of the police historical/archival investigative files

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report the results of an ethnographic study that used object biography with an archival collection of police surveillance files, the Police Historical/Archival Investigative Files, housed at the City of Portland Archives & Records Center in Portland, Oregon. Design/methodology/approach: Document analysis, participant observation, semistructured interviews, and object biography were conducted over four years, from 2013 to 2017. Findings: Using object biography with the Police Historical/Archival Investigative Files uncovered numerous personal and public relationships that developed between people and this collection over several decades as well as how these records acquired, constructed, and changed meanings over time and space. Originality/value: This paper argues that the biography of objects is a useful way for studying the relationships records form, the values people assign to them, and how people and records mutually inform and transform one another in shifting contexts of social lives. Recognizing records as having social histories and applying object biography to them contributes to and grows the greater biography and genealogy of the record and the archive—a genealogy important not only for discovering something about the lives of those who create, encounter, steward, and use records and archives but about our shared human experience.

Featured documents

  • A bibliometric study of taxonomic botany

    Purpose: The aims of this paper are to: investigate the citation‐patterns of monograph books in taxonomic botany (looking mainly at publications and publishers, and the age of current literature); and make recommendations for collections management and reference services in libraries that hold...


    Aslib is interested in developing modular simulation models of aspects of library systems in order to investigate the use of such models as aids to systems design and operation. The conceptual model of library procedures, developed during the OSTI‐supportcd project on the use of bibliographic...


    On 18 February 1945 the Conference of the Association of Scientific Workers passed a resolution stressing the urgent need for the closest collaboration between scientists of all countries ‘including the fullest interchange of scientific and technical knowledge’. It is hardly surprising that a paper ...


    The only comprehensive list of British medical libraries hitherto available has been that in The Aslib directory 1928, and there is an extended account of those in London in Reginald Rye, The students' guide to the libraries of London (3rd ed., 1927), pp. 362–77. The new list, here put forward, is...

  • A new classification system to describe the ageing of scientific journals and their impact factors

    During the past decades, journal impact data obtained from the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) have gained relevance in library management, research management and research evaluation. Hence, both information scientists and bibliometricians share the responsibility towards the users of the JCR to...


    This paper proposes an uncertainty principle for information seeking. The principle is based on the results of a series of studies conducted by the author into the user's perspective of the information search process. A basic principle of uncertainty is elaborated by six corollaries. The principle...

  • A sign of a good book: readers’ methods of accessing fiction in the public library

    Purpose: – Lending novels is the major service provided by public libraries. The efforts in developing search systems have been focused on retrieving non-fiction. There is a need for designing systems to support fiction searching in libraries. The aim of this study is to analyze readers’ methods of ...

  • A study of branch library catchments in two London boroughs

    A number of interesting associations are described between levels of service point use, population information and library inputs, based on data obtained from two London boroughs in respect of individual static service points. Methods of deriving catchment area data using membership information or...


    A number of Management Science applications in libraries have been concerned with increasing the ‘immediate availability’ of documents held by the library. It has been found that low availability is often a cause of user complaints about library service....

  • About and on Behalf of Scriptum Est by Vesa Suominen

    Purpose: This book review aims to draw attention to the often disregarded philosophical foundations of the library. Both the library as an institution and the science that studies its workings, are critically analyzed and put into an epistemological and even ideological perspective. Design/methodol...

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