American Libraries and the Internet: The Social Construction of Web Appropriation and Use

by Bin Li

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


Chapter 1: The World Wide Web: A General Introduction

Early Development of the World Wide Web

Environmental Factors Contributing to the Growth of the Web

Technological Features and Capabilities of the Web

The Use of the World Wide Web in the United States

The Use of the World Wide Web in American libraries

Perceptions of the World Wide Web

The Internet/Web as a digital library or publisher

The Internet/Web as an electronic mail or communication medium

The Internet/Web as an electronic marketplace

The Internet/Web as a digital world

Other metaphors for the Internet/Web


Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework

Theoretical Components of SCOT

Interpretive flexibility

Relevant social groups

Problems and solutions

Technological frame

Closure and stabilization

Applications of SCOT in ICT Studies

SCOT: Criticisms and Extensions

SCOT being limited to the design stage of a technology

SCOT’s notions of closure and stabilization being too rigid

SCOT being inclined towards social reductionism

Problems of the concept of relevant social groups

Research Questions of the Study

Chapter 3: Research Method

Addressing the Challenges of Using Content Analysis and Enhancing its Trustworthiness

The Content included in the Analysis

Professional journals and magazines

Email listserv

Sampling and Unit of Analysis

Journal articles

Listserv postings

Data Analysis

Coding and Splitting

Formation of Themes

Aligning Themes with Relevant Social Groups and Formation of Groups’ Technological Frames of Meaning

Chapter 4: Description of Sample

Journal Articles

Types of Journal Articles

Listserv Postings

Changes over Time

Chapter 5: Perceptions of the Web

The Web as a New Technology with Relative Advantages

Hyperlinks between Resources

Any Time Anywhere Access

Quick and Easy Access

Platform Independence

Client Server Technology


The Web as a Popular Tool in the Information Age

The Web as an Information Source

Web Used to Provide Access to Information

The Web as a Communication Tool

Negative Aspects of the Web

Web as being Chaotic

Web as an Unreliable Source

Web as being Undependable

Web as being Time-consuming and Distracting

Summary and Discussions

Changes of Librarians’ Perceptions of the Web


Chapter 6: Relevant Social Groups

The Early Stage of Web Implementation in Libraries

The Advocate Group

The Reluctant Group

Reaching Closure on the Issue of Implementing the Web in Libraries

The Later Stage of Web Use in Libraries

Chapter 7: Conclusions

Summary of Study Results

Implications for Theory Development

Applying the Concepts of Closure and Stabilization to the Study of the Web

Applying the Model beyond the Design Stage of Technology

Addressing the Criticism of Social Reductionism

The Concept of Interpretive Flexibility

Implications for Applying the SCOT Model in the Field of Library and Information Science (LIS)

Propositions for Future Research

Appendix A: Relevant Periodical Articles Examined in the Study

Appendix B: Relevant Listserv Threads Examined in the Study




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