Orality in the library: How mobile phones challenge our understandings of collaboration in hybridized information centers

Authors: McEwen, R. and Scheaffer, K.

The domestication of mobile phones and a changing articulation of academic libraries as collaborative spaces present an opportunity for digitally-mediated collaboration—or do they? The intersection between the academic library's dynamic space and governing policies and guidelines, and the omnipresent mobile phone user is examined. Data was collected through document analysis and 46 ethnographic observations and interviews. How historical precedents, communication incongruence, and a lack of user studies can result in inconsistencies between academic libraries' visions and users' information practices is illustrated. Recommendations for policy-makers and managers of hybridized information centers are made. Specifically, guidelines regarding mobile phones should be revised to reflect a more in-depth understanding of mediated collaboration through mobile phone use.


McEwen, R., & Scheaffer, K. (2012). Orality in the library: How mobile phones challenge our understandings of collaboration in hybridized information centers. Library and Information Science Research. (34)2, p. 92-98. [article]

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