A Digital Library Initiative for Scholarly Monographs: An Activity Theory Analysis


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A Digital Library Initiative for Scholarly Monographs: An Activity Theory Analysis

  2. 2. OVERVIEW <ul><li>An examination of a research library and university press’ efforts in sustaining scholarly communications through a digital library initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Research Design </li></ul><ul><li>Data Collection </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Implications </li></ul>
  3. 3. RESEARCH LIBRARIES <ul><li>Association of Research Libraries Principles of Membership (2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Contributor to larger efforts of sustaining scholarly content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bibliographic record creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration with other libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preservation of collections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology utilization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Robust circulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic excellence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Support of scholarly pursuits </li></ul><ul><li>Evolving role in scholarly content and the academics </li></ul>
  4. 4. ACADEMIC PRESS <ul><li>Popular vs. specialized content </li></ul><ul><li>Housed yet not supported by the University </li></ul><ul><ul><li>72% of surveyed universities run deficit with press (Brown, Griffiths, & Rascoff, 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Long Tail (Anderson, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>25 % decline in monograph sales since 1986 (Thatcher, 1997) </li></ul>
  5. 5. THE PUBLISHING PROBLEM Library Budget
  6. 6. THE DIGITAL LIBRARY INITIATIVE <ul><li>Mid State University 1 Library and Press partnered in the dual format delivery (print and electronic) of the Romance Studies Series monographs. </li></ul><ul><li>Research Questions </li></ul><ul><li>R1: What are the key elements of the social and organizational context surrounding digital library initiatives? </li></ul><ul><li>R2: How does social and organizational context influence the selection and implementation of technology within digital library initiatives? </li></ul><ul><li>1 Mid State University represents a large public university in the Northeast. </li></ul>
  7. 7. METHODOLOGY: ACTIVITY THEORY & FRAMING <ul><li>Activity Theory (Engeström, 2001, pp. 136-137) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities and sub-activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-voiced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contradictions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expansive Transformations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Framing to identify and understand complex practices including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stressors </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. METHODOLOGY: ACTIVITY THEORY <ul><li>Kuutti’s Social and Health Care Study (1992) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of motivations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for holistic care </li></ul></ul>Hospital Physician Social Worker
  9. 9. RESEARCH DESIGN (MASON 2002) Research Question Data Sources and Methods Justification Practicalities R1: What are the key elements of social and organizational contexts surrounding digital library initiatives? -Interviews of project members, Directors and management -Observation of interactions in group events (e.g. meetings, planning sessions, vendor demos) -Artifact Analysis of project emails, documentation, etc. By approaching the research through multiple paths, a more holistic understanding is likely to occur Need access to key people, meetings, artifacts, and communications. R2: How does social and organizational context influence technology within digital library initiatives? Same as above Understand the motivations and goals of invested parties (team members, departments, management) and how they influence the outcome of the project. Same as above.
  10. 10. DATA COLLECTION <ul><li>8 months (May to December 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Technology Investigation thru Implementation </li></ul>Data Collection Method Quantity Length Record Type Observation of meetings 38 1-3 hr/meeting Notes/audio Qualitative Interviewing 18 1 hour Notes/audio Artifact Analysis 307 N/A Email, Notes, Agendas, & Reports
  11. 11. DATA COLLECTION: OBSERVED MEETINGS * Additional meetings occurred without observation due to scheduling conflict or lack of notification. Meeting Type Participating Units Number ID Project Team L-IT, ITS, Press, Preservation, Cataloging 12* M1 Publication Team L-IT, ITS, Press, Preservation 10 M2 Directors Asst Dean (Library) & Assoc Director (Press) 2* M3 Unit Managers Directors, L-IT, Press, Preservation 4* M4 Vendor Directors, Press, Preservation 1* M5 Technology Demos Directors, L-IT, Press, Preservation, Cataloging, ITS 3 M6 Forums/Presentations General Library Audience 4 M7 Editorial Board Directors, Faculty, University Press 2 M8 Total Meetings 38
  12. 12. DATA COLLECTION: INTERVIEWS Unit Position/Role Number of Interviews ID Scholarly Communications Asst Dean/ Director 5 P1 Scholarly Communication Services Head/Project member 1 P2 Preservation Chair/Manager of project member Staff/Project Member 1 1 P3 P4 Press Assoc Director/ Director, Production Manager/Project Member, Marketing Manager 1 2 1 P5 P6 P7 Cataloging Faculty/Project Member 1 P8 Library Information Technology (L-IT) Staff/Project Manager Staff/Project Member 1 1 P9 P10 Information Technology Services (ITS) Staff/Project Member 1 P11 Big University, University Library, Scholarly Publishing Office Director/ N/A 1 P12 Center for Innovative Publishing Executive Director / N/A 1 P13 Total Interviews 18
  13. 13. DATA COLLECTION: ARTIFACTS Artifact Role Number ID Emails within Project Team 126 A1 Emails between Directors, Managers, and Project Team 138 A2 Emails to General Library 9 A3 Meeting Agendas 3 A4 Project Directors Reports 2 A5 Project Documentation (Requirements) 7 A6 Project Planning (Charter, Plan, Timeline, etc) 3 A7 Project Content 4 A8 Proposals and Internal Reports 9 A9 Affiliated Websites 6 A10 Total Artifacts 307
  15. 15. SOCIAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT: INDIVIDUAL STAKEHOLDERS Stakeholder Stake in the Initiative Directors -Open access to monograph publication (Library) -Return on investment (Press) -Reputation within scholarly publishing -Reputation within research libraries Editorial Board -Reputation within subject area -Publication opportunities University Press -Distinguished publications -Reputation amongst academic press Cataloging and Metadata -Collection enhancement through metadata -Experience with various aspects of digital library initiatives Library Information Technology (L-IT) -Stewardship of technology within the Library -Accessibility of content to users -Reputation as technology experts -Liaison with DiMeMa for CONTENTdm -Innovation of CONTENTdm platform -End User Interface design of DPubS Scholarly Communication Services -Coordinate scholarly communication efforts within Mid State University Digitization and Preservation -Stewardship of Mid State University’s digitization and preservation efforts -Digitization and preservation of library collections -Content loader of CONTENTdm and DPubS Information Technology Services (ITS) unit members -Support and development of digital library technologies -Hardware and infrastructure of Library -Stewardship, adoption and promotion of DPubS into open source community
  16. 16. SOCIAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT: ORGANIZATIONAL STAKEHOLDERS Stakeholder Stake in the Initiative College of Liberal Arts -Promotion and tenure of subject area specialists -Advancement of subject through publication Library -Enhancement of scholarly communications -Reputation amongst accredited research libraries -Promotion of DPubS as a scholarly communication tool -Communication amongst the academic community -Economically viable publications -Aiding the University and general public in the quest for knowledge -Providing and improving accessibility to resources and Information Information Technology Services (ITS) -Support of University’s core technology initiatives -Stability of technology within the University environment -Promotion of DPubS as an open source tool
  17. 17. CONTEXTUAL TENSIONS <ul><li>Differing publishing backgrounds and experiences of the directors </li></ul><ul><li>Developing role of the Press within the Library </li></ul><ul><li>Tensions between organizations (Library and ITS) and units within organizations (L-IT, Preservation, Press, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Evolving projects of the Innovation Team and their governing units </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational views of the technologies and its impacts on the evaluation. </li></ul>
  19. 19. TECHNOLOGY INVESTIGATION ACTIVITY <ul><li>Compare and demonstrate CONTENTdm and DPubS </li></ul><ul><li>Stressors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of Resources (S5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Miscommunication (S6) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reputations (S7) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology Investments (S8) </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. CHOOSING TECHNOLOGY ACTIVITY <ul><li>DPubS is publishing (A2) </li></ul><ul><li>CONTENTdm is library projects (A2) </li></ul><ul><li>Stressors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community (S9) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. IMPLEMENT ELECTRONIC DELIVERY ACTIVITY <ul><li>DPubS monograph load, Google index, Romance Studies site redesign, PDF Print Controls, Accession tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Stressors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DPubS System Stability (S10) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scope Creep of Requirements (S11) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Design Limitations (S12) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access Position (S13) </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. DIGITAL LIBRARY INITIATIVE STRESSORS Stressors Outcome Subjects Nature Exploratory Defined Objective Subject –Object Balance
  23. 23. CONTEXTUAL INFLUENCES ON THE DIGITAL LIBRARY INITIATIVE <ul><li>Organizational Governance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology Investigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology Choice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Functionality of Electronic Monographs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Press adaption from print to digitization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shifted timeline from traditional approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open access debate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Breakdown and rebuilding of defined roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Working bond for future initiatives </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. IMPLICATIONS <ul><li>For Digital Library Initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Rationalization of process </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of factors for success </li></ul><ul><li>Mapping of activities </li></ul><ul><li>For Future Research </li></ul><ul><li>Exploration of ties between uncertainty and stressors within activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisit stressors and ties to Boundary Objects (syntactic, semantic, pragmatic) </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. BIBLIOGRAPHY <ul><li>Anderson, C. (2004, October 2004). The Long Tail. Wired, 12 . </li></ul><ul><li>Association of Research Libraries. (2001). Principles of Membership in the Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved December 23, 2007, from http://www.arl.org/arl/membership/qualprin.shtml </li></ul><ul><li>Brown, L., Griffiths, R., & Rascoff, M. (2007). University Publishing in a Digital Age : Ithaka. </li></ul><ul><li>Carlile, P. R. (2002). A pragmatic view of knowledge and boundaries: Boundary Objects in New Product Development. Organization Science, 13 (4), 442-455. </li></ul><ul><li>Engeström, Y. (1990). Learning, Working, and Imagining: Twelve Studies in Activity Theory . Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit Oy. </li></ul><ul><li>Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive Learning at Work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14 (1), 133-156. </li></ul><ul><li>Hollan, J., Hutchins, E., & Kirsh, D. (2000). Distributed Cognition: Toward a New Foundation for Human-Computer Interaction Research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 7 (2), 174-196. </li></ul><ul><li>Kuutti, K., & Arvonen, T. (1992, November 1-4). Identifying Potential CSCW Applications by Means of Activity Theory Concepts: A Case Example. . Paper presented at the 1998 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Work, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern . Harvester Wheatsheaf: Hemel Hempstead. </li></ul><ul><li>Mason, J. (2002). Qualitative Researching (2nd ed.). London: SAGE Publications. </li></ul><ul><li>Suchman, L. (1987). Plans and Situated Actions: The Problem of Human-Machine Communication . Cambridge: Cambridge Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Thatcher, S. G. (1997). Thinking Systematically about the Crisis in Scholarly Communication . Paper presented at the The Specialized Scholarly Monograph in Crisis: Or How Can I Get Tenure If You Won't Publish My Book? Retrieved 06/19/2007, from http://www.arl.org/resources/pubs/specscholmono/thatcher.shtml . </li></ul><ul><li>Trauth, E. M. (2001). Qualitative Research in IS: Issues and Trends . Hershey: Idea Group Publishing. </li></ul>
  26. 26. A DIGITAL LIBRARY INITIATIVE FOR SCHOLARLY MONOGRAPHS <ul><li>An Activity Theory Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>
  28. 28. OTHER APPROACHES EXPLORED AND COMPARED TO ACTIVITY THEORY <ul><li>Actor Network Theory (Latour, 1993) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nested analysis approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agency by all actors (no exceptional attention to humans) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Boundary Objects (Carlile, 2002) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying boundaries of work practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisit stressors and ties to Boundary Objects (syntactic, semantic, pragmatic) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Situated Action (Suchman, 1987) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Actor and situation at particular moment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Distributed Cognition (Hollan, Hutchins, & Kirsch, 2000) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals and artifacts within a system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal is stable objective </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. RATIONALE AND EPISTEMOLOGY <ul><li>Factors influencing a qualitative approach (Trauth, 2001) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of the problem: no a priori hypothesis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theoretical Lens: interpretive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Degree of Uncertainty: high </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Researcher’s skills: familiarity with qualitative methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic politics: accepting of approach </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. DIGITAL LIBRARY INITIATIVE STRESSORS Activity System Location Stressor Name Description TMP Object  Div of labor S1 Financial Restrictions Lack of Press capital affected the capacity to produce monographs TMP Subject  Community S2 Content Displacement Lack of publication opportunities for niche scholarly content that contributed and furthered academic goals TDLI Subject  Rules S3 Requirement Restrictions Disparity between accessibility and access restrictions TDLI Object  Div of labor S4 Resource Restrictions Lack of human resources to maintain and improve technology platforms TI Subject  Outcome S5 Lack of Resources Addition of the monograph technology investigation to the larger activity system increased the resource need beyond capacity TI Subject  Community S6 Miscommunication Communication breakdowns across units both within and outside of the project team TI Subject  Rules S7 Reputation Individual values and goals affected the path of the project TI Object  Community S8 Technology Investments Units technology affiliation conflicted with the technology investigation CT Outcome  Community S9 Influence of Community Management of Library and ITS pushed to sustain DPubS by increasing usage IMED Object  Technology S10 System Stability Platform and functionality issues undermined deployment IMED Object  Outcome S11 Scope Creep The side project of outsourcing xml encoding of monographs delayed deployment IMED Object  Div of Labor S12 Design Limitations The Press and Director redesigned site infringed on the traditional web developer role increasing rework and miscommunications IMED Object  Community S13 Access Position The need to balance access and restriction for sales of monographs led a political debate for position