Factors contributing to the adoption of virtual worlds by librarians




Hill, Valerie

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The purpose of this study was to examine factors that may or may not contribute to the adoption of the innovation of virtual worlds by librarians. Using Everett Rogers' Diffusion Theory as a framework, the study sought to identify librarians with avatars (computer simulated representations of themselves) in the virtual world of Second Life, specifically those with a rez date (date of creation of the avatar) prior to two years of the study. Research questions guiding the study were as follows: 1. What are the most influential of Rogers' five attributes of Diffusion Theory for librarians making the decision to adopt virtual worlds as a professional medium? 2. How are Rogers' five attributes of Diffusion Theory relevant to the adoption of virtual worlds when applied to the self-identified stage of adoption of librarians?

The methodology of this study was a survey which was based on the Community of Inquiry, or COI Model, a survey designed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, which uses a collaborative-constructivist approach to understanding the process of learning through a community. The survey was adapted to align with Rogers' 5 attributes.

Results of the study revealed a high perception of relative advantage and compatibility with librarianship, a good deal of observation of the innovation, but a lower perception of trialability and complexity. Findings may be useful for understanding factors of adoption, for documentation of the efforts of early adopting librarians, and will lead to a better understanding of the future of virtual world librarianship in an age of rapidly changing technology trends.



Communication and the arts, Applied sciences, Avatars, Diffusion theory, Librarians, Second Life, Simulation, Virtual worlds