Folkbibliotekets nya roll i det digitala bibliotekets epok: : om e-böcker, Internetbaserade ljud- och talböcker och förbättrad tillgänglighet till folkbiblioteken i Stockholms län
The digital era has led to technical advances that have transformed the role of the public library from being a place that is used only through physical visits and material, into also being a virtual space that can be accessed by users from outside the library through Internet-based access to e-media such as e-books and streamed or downloadable audiobooks.
The aim of this study is to examine how the role of public libraries in Stockholm County has changed in the process of developing into digital libraries: how this has affected their organisation, work methods and strate- gies, as well as their accessibility. The theoretical framework of the study draws on Michael K. Bucklands theory of information accessibility, which is based on six factors of access that are determined by different types of barriers. The methodology is based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Primary data was gathered through an empirical survey, which consisted of a structured questionnaire distributed to most of the public libraries in Stockholm County and semi-structured interviews with selected librarians and experts for further in-depth understanding. Secondary data in the form of literature and documents were used to inform the study conceptually and theoretically.
The results indicate that the digital library has led to increased accessibility of public libraries in Stockholm County supported by the existence of a broad range of e-media types for different types of user such as e-books and streamed or downloadable audiobooks. The use of digital resources has increased significantly amongst users in recent years, which has also resulted in new work methods concerning information- and knowledge mediation in order to make these available. While the digital library has resulted in improved accessibility, the research also confirmed various types of barriers, such as technical difficulties and varying levels of resources to respond changing demands.
The research was undertaken for a two-year master’s thesis in Library and Information Science.
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