On the value of exploratory research

I don’t know whether neighborhood book exchanges live up to the claims of providing ‘icebreakers’ or ‘literary watercoolers’ for passersby. But I do know that inventorying a book exchange in the early morning rain tends to prompt conversation—at least the “what are you doing?” variety. After explaining that I was contributing to a study of […]
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TL;DR Neighborhood Book Exchanges: Localizing Information Practices

Here’s a Too Long; Didn’t Read account of our first research paper. If you are interested in our project but not interested enough to wade through 30 some pages, then check out this summary. There is something striking in stumbling upon a small hutch perched by the sidewalk and filled with books. It is unexpected, […]
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Update: Sharing our research paper on ‘localising information practices’

We are very excited to share the first detailed look at our research results. Yesterday, our paper, Neighbourhood Book Exchanges: Localising Information Practices, was published in Information Research, an open access information studies journal. This paper discusses and contrasts some of the major themes observed in our study. We hope you’ll take a look.   […]
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What is exchanged through a neighborhood book exchange? – Part I: Method in the madness

How do you determine how frequently a neighborhood book exchange is used? Or what items are exchanged? Our method: we took weekly inventories for six different book exchanges over a twelve week period. In this series, we’ll discuss our results. But, first, we take a look at the pros and cons of our approach.   […]
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If you can’t steal a free book, then what do you call it? – Part II: A tragedy of the commons

With a perch on the soft-edges of public spaces, neighborhood book exchanges invite the public to participate in an open and free exchange of books. But that invitation positions the book exchange for all the highs and lows of public participation. In this post, we continue our discussion of book exchanges and book theft.   […]
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