Research on e-book usage in academic libraries: ‘tame’ solution or a ‘wicked problem’?
AbstractThe result of a systematic analysis of the literature on research about the usage of e-books in academic libraries published in the United States and the United Kingdom between 2004 and 2014 is examined. Commonalities were identified amongst the articles, together with factors such as questions asked, user response and the research methods that were used. Several areas of deficiency were identified in the conduct of the research and, in order to contextualise the issues, Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber’s (1973) characteristics of a ‘wicked problem’ and a ‘tame problem’ were used as a framework. It was concluded that e-book usage does exhibit several of the characteristics of a wicked problem, and uncertainty about the exact nature of the problem will remain until further research
Ackoff, R. L. 1974. Redesigning the future: a systems approach to societal problems. New York: Wiley.
Balint, P. J., Stewart, R. E., Desai, A., and Walters, L. C. 2011. Wicked environmental problems: managing uncertainty and conflict. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Batie, S. S. 2008. Wicked problems and applied economics. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 90(5): 1176-1191.
Burns, D., Hyde, P., and Killett, A. 2013. Wicked problems or wicked people? Reconceptualising institutional abuse. Sociology of Health and Illness, 35(4): 514-528.
Checkland, P. & Poulter, J. 2006. Learning for action: a short definitive account of Soft Systems Methodology and its use for practitioners, teachers and students. Chichester: Wiley.
Churchman, C. W. 1967. Guest editorial: wicked problems. Management science, 14(4): B141-B142.
Conklin, J. 2005. Wicked problems and social complexity. [Online]. http://cognexus.org/wpf/wickedproblems.pdf (14 August 2015).
Conklin, J., Basadur, M., and VanPatter, G. K. 2007. Rethinking wicked problems: unpacking paradigms, bridging universes (part 1 or 2). NextD Journal, 10(1): 1-29.
Folb, B. L., Wessel, C. B., and Czechowski, L. J. 2011. Clinical and academic use of electronic and print books: the Health Sciences Library system e-book study at the University of Pittsburgh. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 99(3): 218-228.
Grint, K. 2008. Wicked problems and clumsy solutions: the role of leadership. Clinical Leader, 1(2). [Online]. http://leadershipforchange.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Keith-Grint-Wicked-Problems-handout.pdf (14 August 2015).
Hancock, D. 2010. Tame, messy and wicked risk leadership. Surrey, England: Gower.
Huitt, W. G. 1992. Problem solving and decision-making: consideration of individual differences using the Myers-Briggs type indication. Journal of Psychological Type, 24: 33-44. [Online]. http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/prbsmbti.html (14 August 2015).
Kreuter, M. W., De Rosa, C., Howze, E. H., and Baldwin, G. T. 2004. Understanding wicked problems: a key to advancing environmental health promotion. Health Education & Behaviour, 31(4): 441-454.
Levine-Clark, M. 2006. Electronic book usage: a survey at the University of Denver. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 6(3): 285-299.
Levy, D. M. 1997. “I read the news today. Oh boy”: Reading and attention in digital libraries. Paper presented at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) 2nd International Conference on Digital Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 23-26 July, 202-211. [Online]. doi:10.1145/263690.263817 (14 August 2015).
Library Journal. 2010. Survey of ebook penetration and use in U.S. academic libraries. [Online]. http://c0003264.cdn2.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/Academic%20Library%20Ebook%20Report_2.pdf (15 August 2015).
Mangen, A., Walgermo, B. R. and Brønnick, K. 2013. Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: effects on reading comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research, 58 (2013): 61–68.
Mitroff, I. I. & Mason, R. O. 1980. Structuring ill-structured policy issues: further explorations in a methodology for messy problems. Strategic Management Journal, 1(4): 331-342.
Norton, B. G. 2005. Sustainability: a philosophy of adaptive ecosystem management. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
OCLC. 2004. 2004 Information format trends: content, not containers. [Online]. http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/reports/2004infotrends_content.pdf (14 August 2015).
Ritchey, T. 2011. Wicked problems – social messes: decision support modelling with morphological analysis. London: Springer.
Ritchey, T. 2013. Wicked problems: modelling social messes with morphological analysis. Acta Morphologica Generalis, 2(1): 1-8.
Rittel, H. W. J. & Webber, M. M. 1973. Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2): 155-169.
Shelburne, W. A. 2009. E-book usage in an academic library: user attitudes and behaviors. Library Collections, Acquisitions, & Technical Services, 33(2-3): 59-72.
Shepherd, J. and Arteaga, R. 2014. Social work students and e-books: a survey of use and perception. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 33(1): 15-28.
Slater, R. 2010. Why aren’t ebooks gaining more ground in academic libraries? Ebook use and perceptions: a review of published literature and research. Journal of Web Librarianship, 4: 305-331.
Sprague, N. and Hunter, B. 2008. Assessing e-books: taking a closer look at e-book statistics. Library Collections, Acquisitions & Technical Services, 32(3-4): 150-157.
Springer. 2013. Springer eBooks: eBook use and acceptance in an undergraduate institution. [Online]. http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/H6593_CB_WhitePaper_eBooks_Undergraduate+Inst.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-1370809-0 (2 April 2014).
Underwood, P. G. 1996. Soft systems analysis and the management of libraries, information services and resource centres. London: Library Association.
University of Liverpool eBook Study. 2010. A survey of ebook usage and perceptions at the University of Liverpool. [Online]. http://resource-cms.springer.com/springer-cms/rest/v1/content/20840/data (10 November 2015).
Walters, W.H. 2013. Ebooks in academic libraries: challenges for acquisition and collection management. Libraries and the Academy, 13(2) 187-211.
Zhang, Y. and Beckman, R. 2011. E-book usage among chemists, biochemists and biologists: Findings of a survey and interviews. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (65): Article 2. [Online]. http://www.istl.org/11-spring/article2.html (10 November 2015).
This journal is an open access journal, and the authors (copyright owners) should be properly acknowledged when works are cited. Authors retain publishing rights without any restrictions.
South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science is an Open Access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of Open Access.