The following article appears in a recently published issue of the South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science.
MLIS Graduate, University of South Africa
Peter Graham Underwood
Emeritus Professor of the University of South Africa
South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science
Vol 81, No. 2 (2015)
The 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.
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