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The dynamic role of Internet and IT not only creates a new type of library— digital library—, but also creates new jobs as well as emergent demands for professionals with strong technical knowledge and library skills. Past research has confirmed that less help and guidance are given to newcomers to learn about the newly-created jobs because these positions tend not to be well defined. Due to the short history of digital librarianship, project-based work nature and a lack of mentors, digital librarians often feel isolated and uncertain in their recently formed digital collection units and in the larger academic library culture. In order to become fully functioning members, they must discover an effective route to make sense of a changing environment and acquire social and technical knowledge and skills for their new roles.
This exploratory study employs Dervin’s Sense-Making framework and focuses on the proactive, user-centered, and enduring nature of newcomer organizational socialization. It investigates four dimensions of organizational socialization, including (1) situation: situations that lead to the needs for socialization information seeking; (2) gap: questions in situations which information needs arise; (3) bridge: information seeking tactics used to acquire socialization information; and (4) outcome: positive and negative outcomes of information acquisition. In order to highlight the continuous and complex nature of organizational socialization, four levels of sense-making activities will be explored, including: (1) socialization into digital librarianship; (2) socialization into an academic library; (3) socialization into an immediate unit and task; and (4) socialization into role, expectation, and identity.
Semi-structured Sense-Making interviews with newcomer digital librarians will be conducted. Following the well-developed procedures of grounded theory approach the study aims to develop lower level concepts of Sense-Making framework, and to outline relationships between those concepts within the context of organizational socialization.
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