Monday, August 22, 2011

APPLIED ethnography of the libraries in Illinois

Here is an example of using anthropology to answer some basic questions of the Taken-for-granted contexts that we find ourselves immersed in unreflectively.
[excerpt] The ERIAL (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) project -- a series of studies conducted at Illinois Wesleyan, DePaul University, and Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois's Chicago and Springfield campuses -- was a meta-exercise for the librarians in practicing the sort of deep research they champion. Instead of relying on surveys, the libraries enlisted two anthropologists, along with their own staff members, to collect data using open-ended interviews and direct observation, among other methods.

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