Adam Worrall

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E.1. Approval from LibraryThing

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2012 11:36:44 –0400
Subject: Re: Requesting your support for an academic research study of LibraryThing
From: Jeremy Dibbell <[LibraryThing e-mail address]>
To: “Worrall, Adam” <[My FSU e-mail address]>

Okay - so, Tim’s fine with this, so long as we can do it this way:

Once you’ve picked the five groups you’re going to draw from, let me know and I’m going to post a note in their group indicating that you’re going to be posting a message in the group and private-messaging several members, and that we’ve given you the okay to do this (otherwise it’s very likely that you’ll be flagged as a spammer, and we don’t want that).

In your initial message to the group, you’ll need to provide background on the study and/or some information about what you’re studying, &c., so the members know what they’re participating in (if you want to run that text by me first, that would be fine).

Let me know if this works, and if so you’re good to go.
Best,
Jeremy

On Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Worrall, Adam ‪<[My FSU e-mail address]> wrote:
Thanks for the quick response and update! Looking forward to hearing further in the near future.

- Adam

On Sep 12 2012, at 9:47 am, Jeremy Dibbell <[LibraryThing e-mail address]> wrote:

> Hi Adam - it’s on my list of things to discuss with Tim when he has a moment; will get back you as soon as I can.
> Best,
> Jeremy
>
> On Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 9:40 AM, Worrall, Adam <[My FSU e-mail address]> wrote:
> Jeremy, have you heard anything further on my request? I am happy to answer any further questions and concerns you, Tim, or other LibraryThing staff may have. I’m also happy to make small changes ( e.g. to the group selection process) if they are necessary to meet your approval. Thank you in advance for your time and response!
>
> Adam Worrall
> Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
> School of Library and Information Studies
> College of Communication and Information - Florida’s iSchool
> [My FSU e-mail address] | http://www.adamworrall.org
>
> On Sep 4 2012, at 1:53 pm, Adam Worrall <[My FSU e-mail address]> wrote:
>
> > Jeremy, my intention so far was to select them at random from your
list of the 50 most active in the last week (http://www.librarything.com/groups/active), as of the day I begin my data collection for the first phase of content analysis. They’ll remain constant throughout the study, but as of yet I haven’t selected them from this list. If you or Tim think it might be an issue, I might be able to select the groups earlier in the process, although I can’t begin collecting actual data without your consent and the approval of my dissertation committee and Florida State’s Human Subjects Committee. Hope that helps explain things a bit better!
> >
> > Adam Worrall
> > Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
> > School of Library and Information Studies
> > College of Communication and Information - Florida’s iSchool
> > [My FSU e-mail address] | http://www.adamworrall.org
> >
> > On Sep 4 2012, at 1:33 pm, Jeremy Dibbell wrote:
> >
> >> What are the groups you’re looking to include? I’m going to check in
> >> with Tim on this, and I’m sure he’ll ask the groups.
> >> Thanks,
> >> Jeremy
> >>
> >> On Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM, Worrall, Adam <[My FSU e-mail address]> wrote:
> >>> Jeremy, thank you for your response. I’ve done my best to answer your questions and concerns below.
> >>>
> >>> On Sep 4 2012, at 9:50 am, Jeremy Dibbell wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Hi Adam - can you give me a sense of what you’d be asking, and of whom?
> >>>
> >>> I’m hoping to invite users of five LibraryThing groups to take part in an online survey. I would like to invite users who have recently posted messages in those groups via LibraryThing’s private message feature, and invite other users and visitors to the groups by posting a general invitation letter and two follow-up reminders in the five groups.
> >>>
> >>> Those who decide they would like to take the survey will be asked about 20 questions, answering each using a five-point Likert agree-disagree scale. These questions will relate to their experience with and use of LibraryThing as an individual and as part of communities. These communities may be based in a common activity, occupation, interest, topic, location, or other common thread, and include the LibraryThing groups they frequent. The questions, drawing from theories of communities and digital libraries, will help gather data on the role LibraryThing plays within, between, and across the communities that users are part of. There’ll also be a few general demographic and usage questions at the end of the survey. The survey is online and should take invited users no more than 15–20 minutes to complete.
> >>>
> >>> I’ll then directly contact a smaller selection of these users via e-mail for follow-up interviews, exploring the same topic but in a different form. Only users who, when they take the survey, express a willingness to take part in these and provide their e-mail address in order for me to contact them will be invited for interviews.
> >>>
> >>>> And just to be clear, LibraryThing doesn’t actually offer digital books, but simply a cataloging environment …
> >>>
> >>> Right, I realize that! In this case the content of your site, seen as a digital library, is the book data and metadata you source from libraries and Amazon, as well as user-contributed tags, favorites, collections, reviews, posts in discussions, and profile information. A digital library doesn’t have to actually offer digitized books to qualify, under the definitions I’m using for my study.
> >>>
> >>> Hope that helps address your questions and concerns, Jeremy, and thank you again for considering my request!
> >>>
> >>> Adam Worrall
> >>> Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
> >>> School of Library and Information Studies
> >>> College of Communication and Information - Florida’s iSchool
> >>> [My FSU e-mail address] | http://www.adamworrall.org
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>> Best,
> >>>> Jeremy
> >>>>
> >>>> On Sun, Sep 2, 2012 at 9:23 PM, Worrall, Adam <[My FSU e-mail address]> wrote:
> >>>>> My name is Adam Worrall and I am a Doctoral Candidate at Florida State University’s School of Library and Information Studies, working under the advisement of Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Kazmer. I am contacting you because I am interested in conducting an academic research study of LibraryThing as part of my dissertation, and would like to request your support before beginning the study.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> My proposed study will examine what I am calling “social digital libraries”: sites like LibraryThing that offer digital content and services to users within social environments and contexts. It will focus on the role of social digital libraries within, between, and across the existing and emergent communities their users are part of. The study as proposed will consist of three phases:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> 1) Content analysis of messages posted in a selection of LibraryThing groups
> >>>>> 2) An online survey of users within these groups
> >>>>> 3) Interviews with a selection of users who completed the survey
> >>>>>
> >>>>> It is in the second phase, the survey, where I would appreciate your consent. I will be sending an invitation to the survey to the users who posted messages selected during the content analysis phase. These links will be sent via the private message feature of LibraryThing. I would also like to be able to post an invitation letter and two follow-up reminders to the message board of the selected groups, to attract a greater number of participants and provide a more representative view of your users, their interactions, and their communities. I will then contact prospective interviewees via e-mail later in the study. No further support should be required.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> This research will benefit you and LibraryThing in at least three ways:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> 1) It will help provide greater understanding of your users’ collaborations, interactions, communities, and related behaviors and activities.
> >>>>> 2) It will offer implications and potential recommendations for the design and development of LibraryThing, other digital libraries, and other social Web sites and services.
> >>>>> 3) It will help to ensure social opportunities for your users to seek, use, and share information and knowledge are not diminished or lost as libraries become increasingly digital and hybrid in nature.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Results, findings, and conclusions of the research can be shared with you when available and if you desire. Participants in the study, as users of LibraryThing, will also benefit from increased understanding of their behavior, interactions, and communities, which can be used to better serve them in the future.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> My study will be reviewed by the Florida State University Human Subjects Committee, an institutional review board (IRB), and will follow all ethical guidelines and procedures. Informed consent will be obtained from survey and interview participants, who will complete the study voluntarily and be able to withdraw at any time. No significant or permanent harm or risks, beyond those expected in everyday life, will come to users of LibraryThing as a result of their participation. The privacy and confidentiality of your users will be protected throughout the study. My identity and affiliation as the researcher, and that this is an independent study not connected with LibraryThing, will be made known to participants throughout the study.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> I would value and appreciate your support for completing this research study and towards the completion of my dissertation, should you be willing to grant it. If you have any questions or comments, you can respond to this e-mail, e-mail me directly at [My FSU e-mail address], or call me at [mobile phone number]. You may also e-mail my advisor, Dr. Michelle Kazmer, at [FSU e-mail address]. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my request, and please let me know if you consent to my completion of this research study!
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Adam Worrall
> >>>>> Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
> >>>>> School of Library and Information Studies
> >>>>> College of Communication and Information - Florida’s iSchool
> >>>>> [My FSU e-mail address] | http://www.adamworrall.org

E.2. Approval from Goodreads

Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 10:04:02 –0700
Subject: Re: Status of my request re: academic research study of Goodreads
From: Patrick Brown <[Goodreads e-mail address]>
To: “Worrall, Adam” <[My FSU e-mail address]>

Hi Adam,

Thank for your reply. Yes, provided you’re able to obtain consent from the group moderators and avoid direct messaging members, you have our consent to proceed. Good luck with your research.

Best,
Patrick

On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 9:30 AM, Worrall, Adam ‪<[My FSU e-mail address]> wrote:
Patrick, thank you for your response and I apologize, in turn, for the delay in my response. I had to discuss the situation with my advisor and dissertation committee before coming to a decision, but after discussing with them I am willing to avoid direct messaging and to get the consent of the moderators of each Goodreads group I select to complete my study.

My intention is to select five groups randomly from the list you provide of those most recently popular (http://www.goodreads.com/group/recently_popular). I’ll be able to select the groups and obtain consent from the moderators once my study is approved by the FSU Human Subjects Committee. I will, of course, randomly select new group(s) in the same fashion should any of the moderators not consent to letting me invite their group members to be part of the research.

Before I can submit to the Human Subjects Committee for approval, however, I need your consent to continue. If I do not direct message any users (other than moderators) and get the consent of moderators before posting an invite in their group inviting members of the group to participate, would you and Goodreads be willing to offer your consent for my completion of this research study? Thanks again for your time and response.

Adam Worrall
Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
School of Library and Information Studies
College of Communication and Information - Florida’s iSchool
[My FSU e-mail address] | http://www.adamworrall.org

On Sep 12 2012, at 2:49 pm, Patrick Brown <[Goodreads e-mail address]> wrote:

> Hi Adam,
>
> My apologies for the delay in responding. After looking over your proposal, I’m afraid we really can’t allow any direct messaging of Goodreads members for this. Likewise, I would advise against joining groups and just posting about this. As a workaround, you can try messaging the moderators of the groups you’re interested in and asking if they’d be interested in helping you. If the moderator of the group feels it’s appropriate, they can help you post about the study and possibly put you in touch with members willing to help.
>
> Do you have a sense of which groups you want to look at?
>
> Best,
> Patrick
>
> On Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 6:34 AM, Worrall, Adam <[My FSU e-mail address]> wrote:
> Hi, my name is Adam Worrall and I am a Doctoral Candidate at Florida State University’s School of Library and Information Studies, working under the advisement of Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Kazmer. I sent an e-mail to you on September 2nd under the subject line “Requesting your support for an academic research study of Goodreads,” but have not received a response from you or anyone else at Goodreads. I am interested in conducting an academic research study of Goodreads as part of my dissertation, and would like to request your support before beginning the study. Can you please tell me if you got my e-mail and, if so, what the status of my request is? I am also happy to answer any and all questions and concerns you may have. Thank you in advance for your time and response!
>
> Adam Worrall
> Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
> School of Library and Information Studies
> College of Communication and Information - Florida’s iSchool
> [My FSU e-mail address] | http://www.adamworrall.org

Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2012 21:25:06 –0400
Subject: Requesting your support for an academic research study of Goodreads
From: Adam Worrall <[My FSU e-mail address]>
To: Patrick Brown <[Goodreads e-mail address]>
CC: “Michelle M. Kazmer” <[FSU e-mail address]>

My name is Adam Worrall and I am a Doctoral Candidate at Florida State University’s School of Library and Information Studies, working under the advisement of Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Kazmer. I am contacting you because I am interested in conducting an academic research study of Goodreads as part of my dissertation, and would like to request your support before beginning the study.

My proposed study will examine what I am calling “social digital libraries”: sites like Goodreads that offer digital content and services to users within social environments and contexts. It will focus on the role of social digital libraries within, between, and across the existing and emergent communities their users are part of. The study as proposed will consist of three phases:

1) Content analysis of messages posted in a selection of Goodreads groups
2) An online survey of users within these groups
3) Interviews with a selection of users who completed the survey

It is in the second phase, the survey, where I would appreciate your consent. I will be sending an invitation to the survey to the users who posted messages selected during the content analysis phase. These links will be sent via the private message feature of Goodreads. I would also like to be able to post an invitation letter and two follow-up reminders to the message board of the selected groups, to attract a greater number of participants and provide a more representative view of your users, their interactions, and their communities. I will then contact prospective interviewees via e-mail later in the study. No further support should be required.

This research will benefit you and Goodreads in at least three ways:

1) It will help provide greater understanding of your users’ collaborations, interactions, communities, and related behaviors and activities.
2) It will offer implications and potential recommendations for the design and development of Goodreads, other digital libraries, and other social Web sites and services.
3) It will help to ensure social opportunities for your users to seek, use, and share information and knowledge are not diminished or lost as libraries become increasingly digital and hybrid in nature.

Results, findings, and conclusions of the research can be shared with you when available and if you desire. Participants in the study, as users of Goodreads, will also benefit from increased understanding of their behavior, interactions, and communities, which can be used to better serve them in the future.

My study will be reviewed by the Florida State University Human Subjects Committee, an institutional review board (IRB), and will follow all ethical guidelines and procedures. Informed consent will be obtained from survey and interview participants, who will complete the study voluntarily and be able to withdraw at any time. No significant or permanent harm or risks, beyond those expected in everyday life, will come to users of Goodreads as a result of their participation. The privacy and confidentiality of your users will be protected throughout the study. My identity and affiliation as the researcher, and that this is an independent study not connected with Goodreads, will be made known to participants throughout the study.

I would value and appreciate your support for completing this research study and towards the completion of my dissertation, should you be willing to grant it. If you have any questions or comments, you can respond to this e-mail, e-mail me directly at [My FSU e-mail address], or call me at [mobile phone number]. You may also e-mail my advisor, Dr. Michelle Kazmer, at [FSU e-mail address]. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my request, and please let me know if you consent to my completion of this research study!

Adam Worrall
Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
School of Library and Information Studies
College of Communication and Information - Florida’s iSchool
[My FSU e-mail address] | http://www.adamworrall.org

E.3. Approvals from Human Subjects Committee

Initial Approval

[Initial approval from FSU Human Subjects Committee]

Re-Approval

[Revised approval from FSU Human Subjects Committee]