Communication overload: a phenomenological inquiry into academic reference librarianship

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Communication overload: a phenomenological inquiry into academic reference librarianship

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10355/15760

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dc.contributor.author Burns, C. Sean
dc.contributor.author Bossaller, Jenny S., 1972-
dc.date.accessioned 2012-10-17T15:48:35Z
dc.date.available 2012-10-17T15:48:35Z
dc.date.issued 2012
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10355/15760
dc.description Postprint of an article published in Journal of Documentation. Published article may be found at doi:10.1108/00220411211255996 en_US
dc.description.abstract Purpose: This study provides insight on the meaning of communication overload as experienced by modern academic librarians. Communication is the essence of reference librarianship, and a practically endless array of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools (ICTs) are available to facilitate communication. Design/methodology/approach: This study relied on a phenomenological methodology, which included nine in-depth interviews with academic librarians. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using RQDA, a qualitative analysis software package that facilitates coding, category building, and project management. Findings: Seven themes about librarianship emerged from this research: Attending to Communication Abundance, Librarians of Two Types, Instruction Not Reference, Twenty-first Century Librarianship, User Needs, Trusted Methods: Filter Not Retrieve, and Self-Impact. The shared meaning of communication overload, among these librarians, is that it is a problem when it detracts from or hinders their ability to assist their users. Practical implications: Further research should contribute to an understanding of communication as a problem when it interferes with serving the librarians' users, or to an understanding of interpersonal communication within the librarians' organizational structures and in their broader professional networks. Social implications: Research in popular psychology has focused on the negative impacts on productivity and concentration of living in an always-plugged-in environment. This research confirms that librarians should have time to work away from digital distractions to maintain job satisfaction. Originality/value: Important work by Radford and Dervin has focused on communication with users. This study focuses on the impact of ICTs on librarians' work and personal lives. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject academic librarianship en_US
dc.subject reference services en_US
dc.subject communication overload en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Communication and technology
dc.subject.lcsh Electronic mail messages
dc.subject.lcsh Reference librarians
dc.subject.lcsh Academic librarians
dc.subject.lcsh Communication
dc.title Communication overload: a phenomenological inquiry into academic reference librarianship en_US


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