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Expanding the circle of knowledge: The role of longevity and external opportunities in forming the social networks of academic librarians

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Presentation given at the 7th Applications of Social Network Analysis Conference in Zurich, Switzerland on September 16, 2010. This is an overview of a followup study to my earlier dissertation ...

Presentation given at the 7th Applications of Social Network Analysis Conference in Zurich, Switzerland on September 16, 2010. This is an overview of a followup study to my earlier dissertation research.

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Expanding the circle of knowledge: The role of longevity and external opportunities in forming the social networks of academic librarians Expanding the circle of knowledge: The role of longevity and external opportunities in forming the social networks of academic librarians Presentation Transcript

  • Expanding the circle of knowledge: The role of longevity and external opportunities in forming the social networks of academic librarians
    H. Frank Cervone, Ph.D.
    Vice Chancellor for Information Services
    Purdue University Calumet
    ASNA 2010 - Thursday, September 16, 2010
  • Brief context
    Study population:
    Group of academic librarians that have regular interaction with each other in a statewide library consortium
    Basis of questions:
    Follow up to prior study (Cervone, 2008) on receptivity of academic librarians to innovation
    Libraries as “sacred cow” cultures (Alvesson, 2000)
    Three significant factors found to contribute to a greater receptivity to innovation
    Number of outdegree relations
    Length of time in career
    Belonging to professional associations
  • To explore common assumptions
    Older employees are less receptive to innovation
    Compelling evidence from the author’s prior study that may not be the case in librarianship
    Belonging to professional associations inherently provides access to a larger pool of potential network members
    As people progress in their careers the likelihood of engaging with new people through professional affiliations increases
    Staff in larger libraries are more innovative than staff in smaller libraries because they have more ready access to a larger professional advice network
  • Questions
    Do the social networks of librarians increase in scope and breadth as a result of length of tenure?
    If so, how does that scope and breadth change?
    Does the scope of involvement in professional organizations change as a result of
    Length of tenure in a career?
    Function within an organization?
    If so, how does this affect the social network?
    Are staff members in larger libraries more receptive to innovation than staff in smaller libraries?
    A possibility due to access to a larger local professional advice network
  • Average network size
    Who do you regularly ask for advice related to your job?
  • Career span
    How long have you worked in a library?
  • Network scope
    Computed based on physical proximity, organizational proximity, and frequency of interaction (modeled on Cross, 2003)
  • Average number of professional memberships
    What professional organizations do you belong to?
  • Outdegreemeasures over career span
  • Network scope over career span
  • Professional memberships over career span
  • Innovation measures by functional area
  • Professional memberships by functional area
  • Innovation measures by type of institution
  • Conclusions
    The social networks of librarians do increase in scope and breadth as a result of length of tenure
    Scope becomes broader
    Breadth increases to a point
    Starts to contract approaching retirement
    The scope of involvement in professional organizations increases as a result of length of tenure in a career
    This involvement is not a predictor of receptivity to innovation
    Staff members in larger libraries are no more receptive to innovative than staff in smaller libraries
    Receptivity to innovation does appear to be related to type of library however