The digital library professionals’ learning culture : a study on digital libraries’ community of practice in Europe


Publication date



Høgskolen i Oslo. Avdeling for journalistikk, bibliotek- og informasjonsvitenskap

Document type


Joint Master Degree in Digital Library Learning (DILL)


In the context of knowledge management (KM) in the field of digital libraries (DL), communities of practice (CoPs) is one of the unexplored areas of interests for research, as compared with those in the fields of business and management, education, engineering and medical sciences. Greater importance is being placed on those communities on their ability to share knowledge, facilitate knowledge transfer and most importantly in providing the proper context for learning to take place. Thus, this research sought to: (1) find out the defining characteristics of CoPs in the field of DL, (2) examine on how CoPs‘ contribute to the development of a learning culture and (3) determine the success and hindering factors in the development of such learning culture. This study was grounded on an interpretivist philosophical view. Hence, the methodological approach of this study was qualitative in nature in which experiential or context-based data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Research sampling was limited to professionals who are actively involved in DL communities. These include DL designers, system developers, system administrators, librarians, academicians in DL educational programmes, graduate students and scholars having common interests in DL and its enabling technologies. The gathered data were analyzed based on Peterson et al.‘s five steps thematic analysis. The findings of the study revealed that DL CoPs take a variety of forms, has no definite structure and their creation is always dependent on the purposes for which they are established. Furthermore, results indicated that there is a strong culture of learning among DL professionals which is characterized by the four distinct cultures of practices – knowledge sharing culture, culture of collaboration, knowledge transfer culture and the culture of innovation. However, there are also critical success factors in creating a culture of learning as follows: human behaviour, organizational and technological factors. In contrast, the hindering factors or barriers include: attitude towards knowledge sharing, culture-related barriers or challenges, language limitation, and time.


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