The Roles of Digital Libraries as Boundary Objects Within and Across Social and Information Worlds

You are invited to be in a research study of LibraryThing and its role in groups and communities. You were selected as a possible participant because you visited or are a member of a group on the LibraryThing site. I ask you to read this form and ask any questions you may have before agreeing to be in the study.

This study is being conducted by Adam Worrall, a doctoral candidate at the Florida State University School of Library and Information Studies, under the supervision of Dr. Michelle M. Kazmer, an associate professor at the School. The study is being conducted independently of LibraryThing.

Background Information:

The purpose of this study is to look at the roles digital libraries play in the groups and communities their users are part of. LibraryThing is one example of a digital library, providing content and services to its users through an organization. I am interested in your use of LibraryThing as an individual and in your interactions with others in communities. These communities may be based in a common activity, occupation, interest, topic, location, or other common thread, and include the LibraryThing groups you frequent. Your responses will help me to see the roles the site serves for you, other users, and broader communities of users, and should improve our understanding of how these sites and other digital libraries can relate to groups and communities.


If you agree to be in this study, you would complete a short online survey questionnaire, which asks about your experience with and use of LibraryThing as an individual and as part of groups and communities. You will be presented with a list of statements about the site and your use of it, and asked if you agree or disagree with each one. You will be asked for basic demographic and usage information at the end of the survey. I estimate the survey should take you no more than 15-20 minutes to complete. You will have until October 7th to complete the survey questionnaire.

Risks and benefits of being in the Study:

The study has minimal risks to you as a participant, believed to be no more than the risks you experience in everyday life. By participating you may benefit indirectly, as a user of a digital library, from improved digital library design, usability, services, and an overall better understanding of the social elements of digital libraries.


For participating in this survey, you will be entered into a drawing for 10 $25 gift cards. You may choose between gift cards from three bookstores:, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million. This random drawing will take place after October 7th. You must complete the survey questionnaire and provide your e-mail address to be entered into the drawing.


The records of this study will be kept private and confidential to the extent permitted by law. In any sort of report I might publish, we will not include any information making it possible to identify you or other participants. Research records will be stored securely and only the researcher, Adam Worrall, will have access to the records. All research records will be wiped, deleted, or shredded five years after your completion of the survey or April 30th, 2019, whichever is sooner.

Your e-mail address, collected at the end of the survey, may be used to send a gift card if you are selected in the drawing. At the end of the survey, you will be asked if I may contact you via e-mail for a possible follow-up interview. Your e-mail address will remain confidential and will not be used for other purposes.

Voluntary Nature of the Study:

Participation in this study is voluntary. Your decision to participate or not will not affect your current or future relations with Florida State University, LibraryThing, or any other site, institution, or organization. If you decide to participate, you are free to not answer any question or withdraw at any time without affecting those relationships.

Contacts and Questions:

The researcher conducting this study is Adam Worrall, a doctoral candidate, under the supervision of Dr. Michelle M. Kazmer, an associate professor, of the Florida State University School of Library and Information Studies. If you have any questions, you are encouraged to contact me via e-mail at or via phone at (850) 274-5838, or Dr. Kazmer via e-mail at or via phone at (850) 559-2421.

If you have any questions or concerns about this study and would like to talk to someone other than the researcher, you are encouraged to contact the FSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) at 2010 Levy Street, Research Building B, Suite 276, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2742, or (850) 644-8633, or by email at

I encourage you to print a copy of this information to keep for your records, or you may always access it at

Statement of Consent:

I have read the above information. I have asked questions and have received answers. By clicking the “Next” button below, I confirm that I am at least 18 years old and consent to participate in the study.

To give consent, please use the survey-based link you were sent. This is a copy of the consent form stored at a permanent URL you can access later.