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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How IRs embody social goals

Oya Y. Rieger, Opening Up Institutional Repositories: Social Construction of Innovation in Scholarly Communication, Journal of Electronic Publishing, Fall 2008. 

Abstract:   This paper focuses on institutional repositories as a case study to examine the design of a new scholarly communication technology from a social constructivist perspective. Institutional repositories are online databases of scholarly materials such as articles, reports, datasets to enable and foster sharing, discovery, and archiving of scholarly resources produced at a given institution. As a scholarly communication mode, institutional repositories represent a particularly interesting case to examine as they incorporate both normative and ideological agendas and illustrate how technical products embody social goals and power relationships. Although the analysis is based on institutional repositories, the theoretical approach is relevant to various information and communication technology development efforts aiming to introduce new tools in support of scholarly communication. The paperís discussion draws from the social construction of technology theory, actor-network theory, and the socio-technical interactions networks model. Such a social constructivist framework provides an effective method for uncovering multiple perspectives that frame the design and appropriation of institutional repositories.